Saturday, 5 September 2015

3 more letters about anti-Corbyn bias

According to Rafael Behr, anti-Corbyn Labour MPs who are "appalled by the turn events have taken", must "lay their flowers quietly on New Labour`s grave", and "develop a new set of arguments for a 21st century party" (Corbyn may prevail, but he has no monopoly on virtue,03/09/15). The latter must include, presumably, none of Corbyn`s ideas for the economy, such as raising taxes for rich individuals and profitable companies, re-employing tax inspectors to tackle tax avoidance, more quantitative easing, and joining many in the EU who start their Financial Transaction tax next January, as they must care "about the deficit". This is simply a cheap shot against Corbyn, whose emphasis on "stable finances" has been a major feature of his campaign. He has, however, stressed that the Tories` rush to reduce the deficit is simply an excuse to shrink the state, as is proved by Osborne`s willingness to sacrifice over £1bn in the recent sale of RBS shares, and to spend an extra £500m on the Trident base.
 Similarly, Behr cannot resist criticising Corbyn`s foreign policy proposals, with his comment that "sometimes action beats inaction" when dealing with "dictators and terrorists", but noticeably without backing this up with any evidence. It`s bad enough when Osborne`s Faslane visit is seen as the "first step in a Tory operation to define Corbyn as a peacenik security risk" (Faslane move is first in Tory plot to frame "peacenik" Corbyn,31/08/15), but when the Guardian`s political commentators join in, it beggars belief!
      Behr goes so far as to state that Labour will abandon "rational politics" with Corbyn at the helm, but what is "rational" about the Labour party lurching to the right, and becoming more pro-business, when business itself does its utmost to avoid as much tax as possible, pay wages as low as possible and many of its bosses 183 times the average earnings of their employees? Irrational, too, it seems, to hold talks with your enemies in the hope of avoiding war, rather than after the war has taken place, and to develop policies which actually will reduce inequality, rather than just complain about its existence.

Steve Richards is right to stress the huge difference Jeremy Corbyn`s candidacy has made to the Labour leadership contest (Whatever happens, Corbyn`s candidacy is not a calamity,01/09/15). In fact, he probably did not go far enough when stating that without the Corbyn "volcano", one of the other candidates "would have won to waves of indifference", as a far more likely outcome would have been outright despondency! Imagine how the candidates would still be arguing over who was the most "pro-business", despite its tax avoidance, preference for zero-hours contracts and insistence on paying FTSE100 CEOs 183 times as much as is paid to their average employees. Indeed, they might even be critical of Tory plans to take government spending back to levels last seen in the 1930s, but willing to accept early 1950s` levels as a compromise! As Richards says, Corbyn has ensured Labour ditches "complacent banalities".
        But Richards still refuses to refrain from his implication that a Corbyn victory would be "disastrous" and short-lived. Instead of comparing the 2020 election with the one in 1983, is it not time to consider how similar it could be to the victory in 1997? With a new leader taking the party in a different direction, offering hope to the majority, in the knowledge the electorate were desperate for new policies after far too long being governed by an austerity-obsessed Tory party, devoid of compassion, Labour has the opportunity to repeat Blair`s triumph. 
     Corbyn has indeed "widened the political debate"; nationalisation and privatisation are viewed differently from the way they were in the 1990s, and there is an increasing realisation that uncollected taxes "can deliver better services". He doesn`t simply deserve praise for increasing the amount of "discussion about the purpose of government", but also the chance to show how a Corbyn-led government can transform our grossly unfair society.

 Matthew d`Ancona is still failing to understand the Corbyn phenomenon, as is revealed by his concern that the likes of Kendall, Cooper and Umunna "have already signalled that they would not serve on his front-bench" (A Tory warning for Corbyn - winning is the easy part,24/08/15). Why would Corbyn even consider a shadow cabinet made up of New Labour politicians, especially when Umunna and Tristram Hunt have formed a new group, Labour for the Common Good, or the "resistance" as it has become known. At least the editorial acknowledged that "Corbynism is fuelled" by the perception of New Labour as "lacking inspiring alternatives" (The answer to Corbynmania is politics, not the law,24/08/15).
Corbyn`s supporters are clearly not impressed by politicians who are "intensely relaxed" about obscene wealth, and the regular news about CEOs collecting, as in the case of Persimmon, "nearly £20m in shares", and partners receiving "average payouts of £822,000", as with Deloitte, increases his popularity (Persimmon lines up £20m shares payout to former chief, Deloitte partners share £590m payout as consultancy surges but auditing struggles,24/08/15). d`Ancona`s fears that MPs like Mike Gapes will show Corbyn no loyalty, but this is simply scaremongering about Labour under Corbyn`s leadership. His proposals do offer "inspiring alternatives", and if some MPs cannot support them, there is always the option to "cross the floor". Hunt`s insistence that "character and resilience" are attributes only of the privately educated was deeply insulting, whilst Umunna`s preference for a party that is pro-business, despite its tax avoidance, failure to pay the living wage, and zero-hours contracts, should ensure, at least, that their "resistance" will be short-lived.

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