Questions 1 and 2 are closely linked. It seems obvious now that Corbyn did not have the support of his shadow cabinet at all. I’m no expert on how cabinets are run, but I do know that one man is not responsible for the lack of good, clear policies in all the departments: some blame had to lie with the shadow ministers, surely?
People are saying now that Smith has managed to put together some coherent policies. My belief is that these are the policies put together by those ministers during their time as shadow members and held back from the leadership. They all fit with Corbyn’s ideas, beliefs and approach, which is why those who have been following them see them as Corbyn’s policies. Indeed even some press commenters think so too.
You fail to acknowledge those policies: on housing, transport, elderly care, tuition fees, etc. as coming from Corbyn. Why do you say he hasn’t the vision? You know the man. He is obviously saying things in a way that people out on the street, and many non political people I know have listened and like what they hear, can understand and relate to.
He does need a media strategy to get the messages out to the media. You know Seamus Milne. Is he incompetent? You say press releases are issued late… or is that the excuse given out by the media? Even Angela Eagle failed to convince the media… Owen Smith is a spin doctor/lobbyist: are you saying that our next Labour PM should be a journalist who can spin enough to get us into the media, and then ditch all the promises the minute he takes control?
You mentioned Foot as an indicator for rallies and mass movements failing. You forget your history: most of us were fairly comfortable then. We had a good safety net, rents were reasonable, there were no food banks, inequalities were not as gross as they are now, people were not in as much debt as they are now, and poverty levels were in decline thanks to Harold Wilson’s major social reforms. Education was free at the higher level, adults could get free courses at college to improve their skills and the Open University was educating people who had missed out the first time around – and the courses were affordable for those in work and free for the unemployed. Not the case now. I got my first degree with the OU for less than it would cost for a year’s study today – and that was only ten years ago. My master’s degree cost me a lot less than it costs a first degree student. Social mobility is declining not increasing and immigration is a massive problem for some because of the lack of real investment in the infrastructure during Thatcher and Blair’s reign.
Corbyn is talking about returning to that ideal of adult access to education – he said so in your interview with him.
I will look again tomorrow at your other questions. But ask you to compare these Two Winning Labour Leaders: one on the right and one on the left of the party. This is the message we should be getting out to people: when the left is in power people are at their happiest!
On the right: Tony Blair,
who took the party further right than it had ever been during its history. Leader: July 21, 1994 to June 24, 2007, Prime Minister May 2, 1997 to June 24, 2007
In the three years before the general election he began the process of the transformation into New Labour, best symbolised by the rewriting of the party’s Clause 4. A charismatic foil to Major’s grey politics, Blair exploited the Tories’ demise, increased the membership to 405,000 from an all time low after research proved that Labour had to increase its membership to win in General Elections.
Three election victories followed, though the Iraq war eventually overshadowed everything, including major successes in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and major investment in public services. Membership declined with every year he was in power, votes also declined on a par with membership levels until it reached its lowest point in its history in 2010.
Branded a war criminal by some and the greatest leader Labour ever had by others, since leaving office – and Parliament – Blair has enjoyed a jet-set lifestyle well beyond Prime Ministers.
(Some words from the independent – source of membership info from a recent paper in British Politics)
On the left: Harold Wilson
Who took the party back to the left giving the ordinary people of Britain their happiest years in known history. Leader: February 14, 1963 to April 5, 1976, Prime Minister October 16, 1964 – June 19, 1970; March 4, 1974 – April 5, 1976
Wilson won a record four general elections for Labour. Elected leader as the candidate of the left, Wilson benefited from the collapse of the Tory government typified by the Profumo affair. Within 18 months he was in Number 10, but with a Commons majority of just four seats. His government struggled on until a second election in March 1966, winning by a healthier margin of 96.
In his time as leader and Prime Minister He achieved many social reforms in education, health, housing, gender equality, price controls, pensions, provisions for disabled people and child poverty. Other achievements still live on, including founding the Open University, liberalising laws governing homosexuality and ending capital punishment.
And the top rate of tax was 83%…