According to Andrew Rawnsley, Corbyn`s popularity can be explained by the simple fact that he was the only one of the candidates to place “on his campaign website a link to the £3 sign-up” (Labour`s moderates start their long dark night of the soul,06/09/15). Nothing to do, apparently, with the realisation by millions in this country, including respected economists, that the urgent need for austerity measures does not foster economic growth, but works wonders for shrinking the state on ideological grounds?
Why can`t Rawnsley, and indeed many other political commentators, accept that Corbyn`s policies are popular because they are so different from those of the conservative government, and, of course, from the Tory-lite ones proposed by the other three candidates, especially at the start of the leadership contest? Apparently, we are expected to believe that they were all so “distracted by the shock of the general election defeat”, they did not realise that their blaming the defeat on Labour being insufficiently “pro-business” might ruin their appeal with the selectorate. Wanting the party to be more supportive of companies which avoid both paying their fair share of taxation, and paying a living wage to employees, whilst their CEOs are renumerated 183 times more than their employees` average pay, was never going to be popular. Similarly, complaints about inequality sound insincere, when Corbyn`s proposals to raise income tax for the rich are described as the “politics of envy”, when his re-nationalisation pledges are regarded as retrograde, even though the current “corporate welfare” bill stands at £93bn, and when there is no support for his promise to impose a Financial Transaction tax, like most of the EU members will be doing next January.
And still the cheap shots keep coming; not “Lenin hats” this time, but a comment like “the hard left seizing the commanding heights of Labour” is both inexcusable and unjustifiable. What next from Mr Rawnsley? Articles about “compassionate” Conservatism, or support for the “resistance” movement led by Umunna and Hunt? Such disregard and ridicule for a democratic decision does not become the newspaper of our choice!