2017-06-10

What a Beautiful Result!

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by Neil Godfrey

Corbyn raised a media controversy with Branson’s transport company by opting to sit on floor of a train journeying from London to Newcastle. (Corbyn, by the way, does not own a car but does have a bicycle.)

After all the elites mocking Jeremy Corbyn us unelectable:

and after the intense attack on Corbyn by the mainstream media:

and

(both images from Norton and Blumenthal) . . . .

It turns out that an astonishing number of people really are acquiring a hope that a more equitable society is possible, that it really is a good idea for public utilities and national health services to be publicly owned, that free education is the right of everyone, that wars should be settled by political means. Neoliberal elites cannot understand such sentiments; and even many of the commentaries I have read on Corbyn’s dramatic success in changing the landscape of British politics seem still as bewildered as ever: Corbyn was “just a crazy populist” and those who voted for him don’t have any idea that without the neoliberal market driven provision of “goods and services” we all be doomed! People should listen more attentively to their “elitist betters”.

It’s been a long, long, wait to see such possibilities in the political landscape once again.

 

14 Comments

  • proudfootz
    2017-06-10 09:48:14 UTC - 09:48 | Permalink

    I’m glad that Corbyn and Labour did so well.

  • 2017-06-11 19:58:29 UTC - 19:58 | Permalink

    I’m glad that Corbyn and Labour did so well, too — noting how united the opposition was against him, including a lot of members of his own Party!

    Meanwhile, here in the US we are firmly locked in the grip of the neo-liberals/neo-conservatives, even with Donald Trump in the White House and granting favors to mad conservatives (like those who’ve taken over your Liberal Party).

  • Neil Godfrey
    2017-06-12 00:31:36 UTC - 00:31 | Permalink

    I am surprised at what seems to be silence on the Corbyn result among a number of bloggers who normally seem keen to post on such political developments. Jerry Coyne, for one. But especially James Crossley. Crossley did earlier post about Corbyn’s parallels with the unpalatable historical hero, the Puritan: https://historicalchaos.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/corbyn-the-new-puritan/ and another on “Jeremy Corbyn Colouring Bible”: https://historicalchaos.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/the-jeremy-corbyn-colouring-bible/

    I’ve seen nothing among my rss feeds to Freethought Blogs — with the notable exception of Mano Singham — or bibliobloggers commenting on the UK election results. Maybe I just don’t subscribe to the right ones. I am particularly surprised by Crossley’s silence given the political themes of several of his publications.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2017-06-12 12:52:20 UTC - 12:52 | Permalink

    Ah, Ally Fogg of Freethought Blogs has come in with the goods. See https://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2017/06/12/jeremy-corbyn-and-the-bonfire-of-the-cynics/

    Here is a grand truth which lies at the heart of Corbyn’s success, which the mainstream political media class entirely failed to understand and – based on the comment pieces and social media mutterings of the weekend – still entirely fails to understand. It comes down to a dictum which in my view could reasonably be called the central premise of Corbynism:

    We do not say what we say because it plays well in the polls and we do not cynically advocate policies for electoral advantage. We do what do because we believe it is the right thing to do.

    I remember that during the Labour leadership election and failed coup attempts, I made a lot of jokes about the Labour centrist / Blairite rump candidates staring in bewilderment at Corbyn’s success and demanding someone tell them what they needed to say to convey some of that authenticity and sincerity stuff.

    We are now seeing the same mistake being made as pundits try to crunch the numbers to work out just how Corbyn confounded them. Young voters seem to be taking most of the credit or the blame, with policies like scrapping tuition fees being described as ‘a bribe’ which won their enthusiasm and support. The purveyors of these takes are so immersed in cynicism they are utterly incapable of seeing it, like fish being oblivious to the water they swim in. Voters did not flock to Corbyn because they were cynical or selfish or responding to bribes. They flocked to Corbyn because they saw a politician who had sincere beliefs and stuck to them regardless of whether they looked popular, convenient and regardless of how much flak and abuse was thrown his way as a consequence – not over the weeks of an election campaign or the months of a leadership, but over the decades of a life and a career.

  • Leigh Sutherland
    2017-06-12 17:57:09 UTC - 17:57 | Permalink

    Hi Neil,
    I have been a Labour supporter all my life and I am very pleased an open ended mandate was not delivered to the Conservatives by the electorate.But the issue I have is that a more electable Labour leader would have won this election.As a political party you have to be elected to change the system, securing power first has to be the aim.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2017-06-12 18:35:08 UTC - 18:35 | Permalink

      Hi Leigh. Nice to see a new face commenting. Your comment reminds me of what an earlier Australian Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, said:

      Only the impotent are pure.

      “Certainly the impotent are pure”, I think were his actual words.

      I’d like to think that the election has presaged a change in British politics (and setting an example that can be picked up elsewhere). You think I am too optimistic?

  • Geoff
    2017-06-12 20:35:31 UTC - 20:35 | Permalink

    Good to see you post on this, Leigh. It is monumental stuff, actually, coming from a such a massive disadvantage in the polls with all the corporate media and the state broadcaster against him.

    Respectfully disagree with Leigh about a mythical ‘more electable’ leader. I don’t know what Leigh means by ‘electable; but it is clear that the media used the term to mean ‘friendly to big business, the corporate media and the establishment’. No, such a figure could not have made a greater advance.

    We are 10% up on New Labour’s last limp effort. I was on the ground with hundreds of mostly Momentum activists canvassing in marginal seats, and without this army there would have been much less progress (no pun intended). While a few of the people I canvassed expressed reservations about Jeremy – hardly surprising considering the wall-to-wall drubbing he got in the media – nearly all of the activists I worked with were there because of him, and the change of in direction of the party.

    I for one hope we have seen the last of the Blairite right running the party, and know I speak for hundreds of thousands of members of the party when I say we will never allow them to control it again.
    Socialism is now back on the agenda and no-one can any longer claim it will lead to electoral ruin. Calls to abandon principles to grub onto power are shabby and unworthy. The faustian pact Blair made with the then all-powerful Rupert Murdoch is no longer necessary, and was never desirable.

  • Geoff
    2017-06-12 20:36:28 UTC - 20:36 | Permalink

    Oops, my first sentence was supposed to be directed at Neil!

  • Neil Godfrey
    2017-06-13 02:01:46 UTC - 02:01 | Permalink

    I unfortunately don’t know enough about Australian political history but I assume from Whitlam’s complaint that impotence alone permits purity that he was complaining about an ideological stance of the Labor Party of his time that he believed was keeping them out of office. Presumably then when he came to power he did it through some form of compromise with traditional Labor values. (Correct me if I am wrong.)

    Well, if he made compromises he also introduced a revolution: free tertiary education, national health system, decent pension support, independence of foreign policy, etc. etc.

    But Jesus, it was the subsequent Labor governments, especially Keating’s, that opened us up to the neoliberal assault, yes? (Hawke had appeared to be innovative with his “consensus” style of getting government, labour unions and business together — but wasn’t that like a shadow of the essence of fascism without the histrionics? — the combo of Labour and Business with the State?)

    I’d like to think that Corbyn is a sign that a return to a more humane government in the interests of the whole, not primarily the business powers. It would surely be devastating if the recent results proved to be otherwise. Surely disillusionment and cynicism would be beyond recovery, then, and who knows what that might lead to.

  • Leigh Sutherland
    2017-06-13 12:45:06 UTC - 12:45 | Permalink

    Hi Geoff,
    I was also on the ground campaigning in the early 80’s with a good friend of mine, it was not very pleasant knowing that our leader at that time Michael Foot( who was a very intelligent, caring and progressive politician) was completely unelectable. Labour has never won an election with a hard left leader, and will not in the near future. The percentage share of votes in the 2017 election was also a high for the Conservatives since the days of Margaret Thatcher, the reason for both Labour and the Tories doing so well on the share of the vote was due to the collapse of the Liberal and UKIP vote and a return to two party politics. I also want to see a government which will give hope for our young people, our pensioners and will make big business and the very wealthy pay their fair share, it will not happen under Jeremy Corbyn whether we like him or not.

    • Geoff
      2017-06-13 14:56:34 UTC - 14:56 | Permalink

      Hi Leigh
      You seem to be repeating the received wisdom from before the election, without adjusting it to the new evidence.
      For example the post-election opinion poll showing Labour in front; the turnout from people who had not previously voted; and the trajectory of the Labour surge. Many who held your view have since publically abandoned it in the face of the new facts. The world has changed considerably since your unfortunate experience in the 80s – and we should not restrict our possibilities to those we had then. Did you predict Trump and Brexit? Perhaps these surprising events should temper confidence in the foreknowledge of future events.
      Your view seems to be predicated on an assertion (“Labour has never won an election with a hard left leader”) which depends on the definition of ‘hard left’ – a pejorative media-created term. I don’t think it should be applied to Corbyn, and it evidently does not apply to the 2017 Labour manifesto which was very much in line with mainstream social democratic policy across Europe.
      If you are talking about specific policies like nationalisation, you should know that these have broad support in the UK population. But it would help to define your terms.

  • Leigh Sutherland
    2017-06-13 17:50:13 UTC - 17:50 | Permalink

    Hi Geoff,
    I actually won some money on the election of Donald Trump (betting slip to prove it) and was in the UK the week before Brexit and listening to close friends and family changed my mind and was fully expecting a very close referendum. The nationalisation of the railways, power grid, power supply (gas & electric) and public transport is well supported across the centre and left of British politics as with the public. I was at union meetings in the mid 80’s where the term ‘hard left’ had been used for many years and was, and still is accepted within the Labour party itself. The Labour manifesto included issues which Jeremy Corbyn did not support (Trident) and would need to be fully costed to entice the part of the electorate that Labour also need on board to gain a parliamentary majority. Again, I would like to make it clear that I want to see a left of centre party in power but with the UK electorate a soft left leader could win a hard left will not.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2017-06-14 08:55:24 UTC - 08:55 | Permalink

    a soft left leader could win a hard left will not

    How times change. By yesterday’s standards Corbyn actually seems to me to be very “soft” left.

  • Leigh Sutherland
    2017-06-14 18:36:23 UTC - 18:36 | Permalink

    The perception of the public is the over riding factor, and yes, he would not be considered hard left compared to the early 80’s, but today, he is still considered hard left by the voting public.

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