It seems to be the general view that the Tories (read Coalition) will lose the next election. The people of the UK are tired of recession, belt-tightening measures, and cuts in social security payments. Apparently. The Liberals are discredited, and consigned to some electoral wasteland, never to reappear as a force in British politics. The job market has been handed over to the employers, and no-hours contracts, no union agreements, and poor hourly rates are driving the popularity of the Tories into the ground. The leaders of that party are Public School has-beens with no integrity, and are simply lining their own pockets, and those of their friends. They are espousing the policies of the far Right, for fear of UKIP, and because of the general popularity of restrictions on immigration.
All of this may be true. Much of it is often quoted by Leftist thinkers and commentators, although the news media seems to have given up attacking the government, and even the BBC are now accused of a distinct, and uncomfortable to watch, Right-Wing bias. UKIP are shooting themselves in the foot, with their members exposed as former National Front and BNP supporters, and their elected officials are being revealed, in some cases, as little more than sexist or homophobic buffoons. The Greens have little significance, outside of some local protests about nuclear power, and as the Scots are unlikely to vote for independence, the SNP may make some noise, but will ultimately lose face.
So, where is the opposition? There is the actual Opposition, in the form of the Labour Party. It may just as well not be there. It has no forward-thinking policies, has completely abandoned Socialism, and even unashamedly admits that it will continue some present Tory policies, if it is lucky enough to be elected. There are no strong people in its shadow cabinet, and the real Left-Wing thinkers left in that party have no influence, and even less power. It is slowly dismantling its lifelong affiliation with the Trade Unions, and distancing itself from the old guard Labour politicians, and the few outspoken characters in its ranks.
Worst of all, it has a completely ineffectual leader. A man who has the presence of an awkward schoolboy, no talent at public speaking, and the charisma of a traffic warden. Miliband is the most ineffectual leader that Labour has ever had, and considering Kinnock, that takes some doing. He never comes across as genuine, whether he feels he is, or not. He has no qualities of a statesman, and even manages to make Cameron look like a man with gravitas and sincerity. His public appearances at photo opportunities look awkward and contrived, and anything he utters on camera sounds insincere, and lacks substance. In the Commons, he comes over like a sixth former in a debating society, smug at what he considers to be his triumphs, embarrassed and awkward when he loses the point of the argument. His ‘team’ sit around behind him and alongside him, looking as if they wished they weren’t there, and as if they must be ruing the day that they elected him as their leader.
If Labour do not shake themselves up before the next election, get back to communicating with the people, and choose a leader capable and worthy of leading the party to victory, then we will all lose. We won’t have a coalition as we do now, but instead we will have a re-energised, far-Right Tory government, elected on a platform of being anti-Europe, anti-immigration, and anti-people on benefits, and the unemployed. They will be pro-business, pro-financiers, and pro-the rich. Working peoples’ rights will be further reduced, and the country will descend into a new Victorian Age, of us and them, rich and poor. Labour owe it to their voters to be a real opposition, and not just one in name only. And they must get rid of Miliband, or face disaster in the polls.
There was a time, long ago, when Socialist ideals were very similar to my own beliefs. Then the Labour Party started to call themselves Socialists, and before too long, there was the Socialist Workers’ Party to contend with too. Others have jumped onto the socialist bandwagon, notably the Nazis in the1930’s. Adding ‘National’ and ‘Socialist’ together, they tried to combine the ideals of one, with the cachet of the other, keeping a foot in both camps, and to avoid being called Fascists, which of course, is what they actually were.
In Europe, since the 1950’s, we have seen ‘Democratic Socialists’, as well as ‘Social Democrats’. It seems that adding something else to the name, avoids comparison with the extreme left associations from the past. Even the Soviet Union called itself a ‘Socialist Republic’, when it was obviously a hard-line Communist state. In more modern times, we have seen Socialism become watered down, to something it never was, or had intended to become. It now represents a generalised Liberal attitude, and the original ideas of complete state ownership of capital and industry, have been surrendered. There also seems to be an ongoing trend, where a good Socialist is expected to support worthy causes in any country in the world, whatever the reason, and to back any workers’ action anywhere, against anything. They become involved in matters as diverse as Abortion and the Fur Trade, and are for and against regimes and countries in turn, dependent on swings in the political climate.
At home, our few remaining Socialists are good at turning up for any demonstration, whether it be about unemployment, fox-hunting, or student fees. They will sell their newspapers, distribute their banners and placards, and be proudly seen as agitators. The Labour Party has a (claimed) membership in excess of 60,000, but how many of them are Socialists, or even want to be considered to be? They are very different to the SWP, yet both groups claim Socialism as their creed. This is a Socialism that doesn’t understand itself. It has run off with the idea that anything it supports deserves that support. This can be Travellers, the Unemployed, benefit recipients, asylum seekers, and anyone with any grievance against the Police, however unjustified. The things that they support are good, and everything that they oppose is bad. They work from the laughable premise that everyone is equal politically, and that everyone has a right to be heard, however inane their thoughts and ideas.
This unfortunately presumes equal intelligence, something that just does not exist, however desirable it might be to fantasise about it. It is considered to be political sacrilege to state the obvious, that there are many, probably the majority, who have little interest in, or understanding of the political process. They just cannot be trusted to participate in important issues, like running a country, deciding foreign policy, or dealing with International Capitalism. Unpopular as it may be to say so, there are leaders and thinkers, and others who do not think, and must be led. The mainstream Socialist policies seem to centre around a kind of maternal state, where millions do not work, and are spoon fed by those that do. They would be left trying to run a modern country, along the lines of a gigantic nursery, actively supporting those who do not contribute anything to the society that they expect to keep them in comfort. They would tolerate those living here, who actually despised the country that they lived in, and actively worked to kill and injure its citizens.
The so-called Socialists of New Labour even thought it correct to indulge in foreign wars, supporting right-wing countries in their quest for worldwide influence and power. Those who remain firmly on the Left, would seek to help regimes whose avowed intention is to introduce fundamentalist religious doctrines, and remove the rights of women, and other religious beliefs that are not the same as their own. Once established, they vow to wage a religious war on those same countries that helped them achieve power. Friends one day, enemies the next, and that is all OK with the ‘New left’. They revile the Police, yet I am sure would ring them if they had their mobile phone stolen, their house burgled, or their wife was raped. How do they expect society to function, without a Police Force, Border Controls, and a reasonable influence over the activities of its citizens? That would be Anarchy. So, are the Socialists really Anarchists? I doubt that. Do they actually want to live a life like we saw in the street riots in 2011, on a daily basis? This would be the consequence of the multitude of freedoms that they fervently advocate.
No doubt they would disagree. They would trust in the inherent goodness of people, sure in the knowledge that this sort of thing would not happen. The trouble is, most people are not good. They are selfish, aggressive, and avaricious. We may not like to admit it, but this must all be controlled. Things cannot be left to chance, in the Libertarian dream that all will be well, and a barter system will operate; and of course, nobody will steal, assault, or kill.
So, I am not a Socialist, because it just doesn’t work. Life is hard, and you have to be hard to live it.