Thursday, 25 June 2015

Guardian letter on "longest suicide note"

I am disappointed that Polly Toynbee appears to swallow fully the Blairite agenda with her description of Jeremy Corbyn as a "relic of the 1983 election", when Labour was destroyed by its "re-nationalise everything suicide note" (Labour`s debate is leaden, but the next leader is emerging,23/06/15). This description of Labour`s manifesto by the New Labourite, Gerald Kaufman, is totally misleading, as it ignores the "hatchet job" done on Labour`s then leader, Michael Foot, by the right-wing media, and also the facts that the anti-Tory vote was almost evenly split between the SDP/Liberal alliance and Labour, and that the Tory vote fell by 700,000.  Toynbee is wrong to dismiss Corbyn as the "outsider, not playing by the usual political rules"; look where following such rules has got Labour!
       If such rules, as Toynbee says, forbid Labour to "argue against Trident", they presumably also prevent support for any form of re-nationalisation, despite its popularity in the polls, or of wealth tax, or of strict regulation of the banks; anything, in fact, which copies or resembles proposals from the 1983 manifesto. That same "suicide note" included pledges to raise living standards by a minimum wage, to introduce a National Investment Bank, and a Keynesian £11bn "programme of action". Many of the 1983 pledges were enacted, such as the Freedom of Information Act, a ban on foxhunting,and devolution to Scotland and Wales, but, of course, most were not, and the opportunity to prevent the disastrous neoliberalism taking hold, and with it the inevitable rise in inequality, was lost. Were the months prior to the 1983 election really, as the likes of Toby Young suggest, the "days of delusion" for Labour?
     Why should "monstrous £12bn benefit cuts" be forgotten by 2020, especially by the 63% which did not vote Tory last May? A Labour party misled into mimicking the Tories by its own right-wing, because it fails to understand its own history, could well be writing its own "suicide note", but this time, for real.

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