Saturday, 1 August 2015

Letter on right`s abuse of history

Michael Meacher is absolutely right to criticise the Blairites for their "breathtaking arrogance and intolerance" (Morning Star,27/07/15). How often have they and their allies in the press repeated their mantra that Labour with a left-wing leader cannot win elections? They see the 1983 election, with a manifesto ridiculously described now as a  "suicide note", as being sufficient evidence to prove their point. Such superficial analysis of the past is bound to be misleading: would not a study of post-Stresemann Weimar Germany suggest the country could never be successfully governed by coalition governments? Similarly, the political events of the 1960s in the States would never intimate the slightest possibility of a black or female President ever being elected. Using some rather dubious "facts" about the 1983 election to predict 2020 voting behaviour is simply propaganda.
Perhaps the time has come for all Blairtes and political commentators to ask what a Corbyn-led Labour manifesto would actually look like. It would almost certainly include some proposals to re-nationalise the railways and energy companies, to introduce more regulation of the financial industry and of the private rented sector, increase taxation for the rich, align corporation tax with current EU levels, reduce the £50bn of annual tax avoidance, and to reverse the decrease in social mobilty, opening up the top professions to more young people educated in the state sector. Repeal of the odious anti-union legislation would be proposed, and there would be an element, no doubt, of copying the practice, long-established in Germany, of co-determination, with union representation on the boards of big companies, a policy apparently supported by Liz Kendall, as well as other measures to ensure inequality was reduced, and the weak and vulnerable protected. 
      Is such a manifesto likely to cause disunity in the party, or lose elections, when its clear aim would be to share more equitably the benefits of living in the 6th richest economy in the world? 

      As the Smith Institute`s report on the 2015 election defeat recommended, Labour`s strategy has to be "based on the values it believes in", not on the result of a misguided analysis of history!

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