The Labour Party: Still missing the point

The battle for the Labour leadership drags on. The attacks on Corbyn continue, and his opponent tries hard to erase his past as a pharmaceutical lobbyist, and to establish some Socialist credentials. For his part, Corbyn does his best to rebut the allegations of anti-Semitism, and takes part in debates with the person who once happily worked with him, instead of against him. Expensive lawyers have been engaged to overturn the voting regulations for new members, successfully excluding more than 100,000 potential Corbyn voters.

The Conservatives must be enjoying watching this collapse unfold before their eyes. They just carry on doing what they like, as the only viable opposition disintegrates in front of the public gaze, and the glare of the media spotlight. Accusations are flying thick and fast. Some Labour members of parliament are accusing the Corbyn camp of seeking to undermine the very foundations of the party, by infiltrating this arguably moderate party with a secret hard-Left agenda behind the scenes.

The outcome can only be a loss for the party, either way. If Smith succeeds, they will be left with a Welsh M.P. who has a history of working for big business. A man who thinks we should have a second EU Referendum, and will almost certainly fail to engage with the working-class traditional supporters of that party. If Corbyn survives the vote, as many believe he will, he will be left in charge of a Labour Party where only the rank and file members really support him, struggling to find enough elected members of parliament to form a credible opposition, and under constant threat of yet more leadership struggles.

If they are ever to return to government, which currently seems highly unlikely, they have to respect the will of the people, and offer radical policies that hark back to the real Socialist ideals of the original Labour Party. It is obviously what the members want to happen, and would have the benefit of attracting undecided voters, and those transferring their vote from parties like the Liberal Democrats in the next election.

At the core of it all, is the need for Nationalisation. There should be a radical programme on offer, starting with the re-nationalisation of the railways. Rail commuters have never suffered as they do now. Higher fares, constant rises in ticket prices, and a mind-boggling fare structure that makes it cheaper to fly to most cities in the UK, than to take a train. Private rail companies have their hands tied by a different private company that manages the rails and tracks, as well as being restricted by short-term franchises that negate the desire to invest in improvements for the future. The answer is simple. Stop awarding franchises, and nationalise the lot. Offer reasonably-priced travel on reliable trains, and let the workers get to where they need to be on time. If nothing else, it would reduce road congestion in certain areas. Cancel the high-cost and unnecessary building of express links to cities that already have plenty of rail services running to them, and do a long-term deal with the unions to ensure safety and decent working conditions for all.

Once they have tackled the railways, they can get on with the utility companies, and the telephone providers too. Then they could stop contracting out expensive medical procedures and clinics to the private sector, and spend the money on improving the NHS instead. Once the much-disputed ‘Brexit’ deal is done, there will be money available for many projects, despite the gainsayers. Labour needs to formulate a real Socialist agenda, with Nationalisation and the NHS at the heart of it. A real alternative to more privatisation and cronyism under the Conservatives.

They have to learn that being The Opposition has to mean more than just having the same policies, whilst wearing cheaper suits. And they have to swallow the bitter pill of telling people the truth for once.

Will they do it? I doubt it, but they should.

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20 comments

  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    This is a solid and very eloquent argument which I agree with. Though I must be critical of Jeremy Corbyn for not exercising a firm grip on MPs and supporters, but to be fair to him he’s learning on the job having been used to be an outsider. I am also critical of the MPs for not trying to help him through Thick & Thin; it must be the old dire sort of grim socialist in me that keeps muttering ‘Party Discipline’ and ‘Preach the Message to the Electorate’. A grouping of followers need to learn that there is more to politics than posturing and shouting (they have a duty to the country to rescue it from the corporate encroachments)

    There is one aspect which remains something of an unknown. That being the state of flux all the parties find themselves in.
    The Tories are all chuckling at Labour, but they have to navigate through the ‘Europe Question’ and that has caused them grief before.
    The Lib-Dems have not actually gone away, and small concentrations can generate their own gravity of attraction (they’re in a sort of cosmological white dwarf state?)
    UKIP having seen its ‘mission accomplished’ and its leader gone now has to deal with an unfocused mix of Extreme Right ‘Send Them All Back’ to a curious left-wing like ‘Wot About The Workers?’.
    Plaid Cymru is obliged to retreat into its heart land as Wales does the unthinkable and goes Tory(ish) & UKIP (ish)
    The SNP has yet to show particular fault-lines.
    And there are always the Greens; never quite making it, but always there.
    In short it can be argued that the Party-system may well be set for a change. Whereas The UK overall voted for Brexit; this does not necessarily translate into ‘We Love & Trust The Conservatives’. There are many variables and a great deal of discontent, over the coming years there may well be alignments in which a new stronger, more focused, disciplined (it is needed, be honest) left wing socialist grouping arises.

    In short the future even over the medium term is not set in stone, for those who wished for it will not find the exit from Europe easy or sunny-uplands either; there is much that will be unpredictable; politics will be in flux
    (And I haven’t even got around to discussing the impact of Scotland or Northern Ireland upon the process)

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    • beetleypete

      Thanks for your considered and well-argued comment WBH. I did vote to leave the EU, but for very different reasons to the Rightists and Racists. I have posted a few articles on here explaining my reasons, and others about the Labour Party, of which I was once a member. Living in East Anglia, I am aware of the impact of UKIP at a local level, but they do not seem to be able to engage with the electorate nationally.
      In the immediate future I see a Scotland trying once again for independence, and a Conservative government continuing with little cohesive opposition.
      Thanks for visiting the blog and commenting. You are always welcome.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Woebegone but Hopeful

        Thank you.
        I take a lot of comfort from the attitude of my grandson, although he missed the eligibility for referendum vote by 6 days He and his friends seem very alert to the future and its various possibilities.
        I did enjoy reading your blog post and will be following in the future.
        Best wishes back.
        Roger

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  2. Heyjude

    I agree. I can’t see Corbyn attracting the middle of the road Labour voters, we no longer seem to have a Liberal Democrat party (anyone heard from them lately?) and so we are doomed to have to put up with the posh boys until they run the country in to the ground whilst their cronies fill their pockets with lucrative shares. Bitter? Me?

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    • beetleypete

      I wish I was young enough and fired up enough to get my red flag out and put some fire in their loins, Jude. They have just handed the country over to the Conservatives for generations to come.

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      • Heyjude

        We can but hope that the youngsters get fired up themselves before it is too late. But by then we will probably all belong to China anyway…

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  3. Eddy Winko

    I like the sound of that, but I can see the disintegration of the Labour party ahead and a good few terms of Tory before there is any serious opposition again. It wouldn’t be so bad if some form of proportional representation had been adopted instead of talked about for the last 30 years, at least that way a minor left labour may have had a chance.

    Like

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