My thoughts on the plight of Labour
Owen Jones

I’m not going to attack you Owen, kinder, gentler politics after all!

I understand your concerns and don’t doubt mistakes have and will be made. The possibility of a loss, especially if a snap election is called, is no doubt real. I have been a political animal all my life, starting from the revolutionary left and, for many long years now, an advocate for democratic socialism.

Interestingly, I had a long discussion with my brother recently. He has always been left without being active but has been enthused by the Corbyn phenomenon. I spent considerable time outlining my fears, not hugely dissimilar from some you raise. Whilst those fears were not swept away by our discourse, my brother’s enthusiasm, something I’ve never seen in him before, was both cathartic and serendipitous.

For him, the key factor represented in Corbyn’s leadership lies in the unique combination of a complete fracture from the neoliberal consensus being represented by a politician who, whatever his faults, is entirely honest and trustworthy. Corbyn is attempting to redefine the window, the parameters of political debate, so that meaningful change is the alternative; not simply a ‘not quite as bad as the Tories’ message with the emphasis on ‘acceptability’ which enthuses no-one. We have to change what is ‘acceptable’ (a point I don’t doubt you more than appreciate). When you combine this uniqueness with the miraculous achievement of Corbyn’s victory last year and likely victory in this current contest you start to get a sense of the politics of the possible, of real hope.

Perhaps I was guilty of being somewhat swept along in the wake of such unexpected enthusiasm and hope but it certainly cheered me up and allowed me to at least question some of my darker thoughts. You are clearly pessimistic at present; happy to put you in touch with my brother!

The only other point I wanted to make was this. Whatever my fears, I think it vital not to provide ammunition for our many opponents (a principle I may be breaking with this post). Corbyn doesn’t need or, I suspect, want slavering worship but we do need to have his back. Your post, honest and, no doubt, raising some relevant concerns, will be used by those who would defeat us. My suggestion would be to focus on the positive; the article might have more helpfully focussed on providing suggested strategies to address the challenges you raise. By simply raising unanswered challenges your benign intentions are open to malevolent use.

Oh, and cheer up…

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