What is the alternative?
As the Corbyn leadership collapses from one farce to the next, and as erstwhile advocates abandon ship, his few remaining supporters fall back upon one final line of defence:
This is merely the logical conclusion of a politics which defines itself as good versus evil; that anyone who does not buy into it must therefore wish to capitulate to the right, or believe in nothing except power. Apart from anything else, it is a politics which lacks imagination.
But I thought it would be worth noting a few things I believe in, to show that it actually is possible to believe that Jeremy Corbyn is an immoral disaster and yet also have opinions that don’t align me with the fascist right. Amazing, I know.
I believe in an NHS that is free at the point of use, that is properly funded, and that is of the highest quality possible. I don’t believe that privatisation and outsourcing are the same things; if government could pay a private company to provide a better service for less money, and the principle of free at the point of use is not compromised, what is the problem?
I believe in an NHS which looks after mental health as effectively as physical health. I believe our social care model is broken and urgently needs both cash and reform.
I believe that grammar schools are wrong, socially divisive, and don’t work for the majority of the population.
I believe that welfare needs to provide a safety net strong enough to look after the worst-off in our society. I believe we should be ashamed that in our country we have people reliant on foodbanks and sleeping on the streets. The last Labour government made great strides in reducing poverty, and we should be proud of that.
I also believe that we need to do more for the low-paid in work, and we need to better understand the fact that most people want to build a better future for themselves and their families. We should want to encourage this. I believe the current leadership is only interested in patting poor people on the head rather than making material improvements to their lives.
I believe we should be spending more on R&D and structural investment, particularly in the poorest regions of our country. I believe we should encourage businesses to invest in regions around the country via tax breaks and grants. I believe our transport infrastructure is poor and needs developing. I believe that economically this is possible, however we need to recognise that “Labour overspending” is a Tory attack line that kills us politically.
I believe in supporting trade unions.
I believe in liberal interventionism. I believe that if we have the chance and the capacity to stop tyrants brutalising their population, we should do so. I don’t believe that looking after people should stop at our borders.
I believe in NATO, and I agree with Clive Lewis when he described it as a socialist organisation. Such alliances represent international solidarity, and we should support them.
I believe in multilateral nuclear disarmament. I believe that unilateralism is well-intentioned but naive.
I believe in strongly opposing all forms of racism and bigotry. I don’t believe in turning a blind eye to antisemitism, and I believe doing so makes any claim of being anti-racist ring extremely hollow. I believe that Britain should accept its fair share of refugees, and that we should be proud to do so.
I believe that Brexit will have terrible consequences for the country, but given that the referendum was lost, I believe we should push for the “Norway model” as the best possible outcome from this point. I believe we must protect immigrants and their rights throughout the Brexit process.
I believe that screaming about “evil Tories” is not only stupid but also ineffective. I believe the party leadership’s time would be better served working hard in parliament rather than going on marches and rallies. I believe that more can be achieved in one day of power than ten years of protest.
I believe that a strong, capable, telegenic leader is hugely important for the party. Like it or not, leadership matters. I believe there are very many MPs who could stand up for the principles outlined above far more effectively than the current rabble.
I believe the idea that anyone who doesn’t support Jeremy Corbyn has no principles is fucking bullshit.