My thoughts on the plight of Labour
Owen Jones
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Well, Owen, I see that this article was written at the end of June, when there was still the possibility that spilts in the Labour Party could still be resolved, with a little bit of adult behaviour on all sides. Now, at the end of August, there is little hope of that happening. The PLP and NEC prior to the new elections have shown all the very worst characteristics of the Labour Party, traits that in the past, while socialism appealed, prevented many people from membership. Stubborn refusal to face reality has always been a major problem, patriarchal attitudes that stood in the way of progress for women like Barbara Castle,Jenny Lee and Mo Molum who had to fight very hard for even some recognition, but whose real wisdom was frequently ignored. Hard-headed behaviour of unions who refused to take seats on management boards (coal for example) etc. etc. , but then refused to accept limits, just some examples of how Labour sometimes appeared to the public. In spite of the brilliant and well-intentioned ideals of socialism, Labour’s infighting helped open the way to Margaret Thatcher, and for this the Labour Party bears a great deal of responsibility. (Diaries of Mr. Benn, Harold Wilson’s biography) So no change there then. We now have a chance to emerge phoenix-like from the ashes of Thatcherism, and what does the Labour Party per se do? It’s level best to infuriate and disenchant most of the membership who joined in hope and interest. Entrenched views, this time of neoliberalism, flavour of the times, an utter refusal to accept that those neoliberal policies have delivered very sour benefits for the people that Labour was created to support. Labour itself decries as unviable the wonderful policies of Michael Foot, music to the ears of crowds of people, but whose message was obliterated by jingoism over the Falklands. The PLP publicly denigrates him. They also denigrate Jeremy Corbyn, espouser of similar policies that reflect the basic tenets of socialism. That the establishment immediately recognised the dangers to their carefully nourished close-to-fascist success story, with riches pouring into the coffers of the unrepentantly greedy supporters of the corporate world, is clear to see from the clanging of closing ranks and the unremitting level of abuse and misrepresentation to which Jeremy Corbyn and all supporters have been subjected. But what is worse even than that is the behaviour of the PLP and the NEC who have shamed us all. Their transparent refusal to accept that they by ignoring the membership and pursuing political concept within the Westminster Bubble, designed the downfall of Labour, not just for themselves, eventually, but for us too. Their scorn of Mr. Corbyn and the people who flocked to join, and their disgustingly obvious, shallow acts of sabotage have I am afraid tainted the Labour Party for ever. There is no room in socialism for neoliberalism however carefully packaged it may be. But it is their inefficiency, the poor interpretation of the public mind, and the revelation of the narrow-minded, arrogant and ruthless quality among the PLP and ‘Labour’ MPs who have disgusted as well as amazed the membership, and reduced the Labour Party to a laughing-stock. There is no going back on that. After a leadership election that they had no right to call, certainly no right to attempt to rig, if the membership manages to re-elect Mr. Corbyn, those vociferous and petulant MPs will need to reassert themselves, create a new party with a new name to present the policies that they so dearly adhere to, attempt to sell them to a public who actually have already voted for them with their feet, and take their chance. They cant sack me for this, I’ve already left. But I support Mr. Corbyn to the hilt in the only way I can, which is to complain at his treatment, try to get the press and media (including you Owen) off the trivialisation and personalisation of politics, which is exactly what the establishment wants and needs, and try to get POLICIES to the forefront, which the intelligent Momentum has already begun to do. Good luck to them. We have a chance in Mr. Corbyn to rebuild something honest and worthwhile, give us back our self-esteem. It was socialist policies tuned to national relevance that saved the working people and this country before, and through Mr. Corbynm they can do it again.