(Edit 12th September 2015: Jeremy Corbyn elected Labour leader in landslide)
In the 2015 general election in May the Tories won with an overall majority of seats. The total votes cast for Tory, Liberal Democrat and UKIP was almost twice the number cast for Labour. In England, where there were no SNP votes to reduce the Labour total, total votes cast for Tory, Liberal Democrat and UKIP was more than twice the number cast for Labour. Labour received fewer than a third of the votes in England, and only slightly more than twice as many as UKIP. The arithmetic mocks any desperate claim of how close Labour were to at least having the option of trying to form a coalition government.
The election was a colossal failure for the Labour Party. Its inability to offer an alternative to the Tories (and the latter’s sidekicks in UKIP) is not difficult to summarise.
Why vote Tory?
All Tory voters must have made a positive decision to choose that party. A very small percentage of said voters will benefit financially from a Tory government: The unearned minutely-taxed wealth of this elite will be protected and allowed to grow, often via the redirection of taxes into their ever-grasping hands. Most Tory voters are not part of this elite. Some voted Tory because they chose to believe the tired old oft-refuted cliché that Tories “manage the economy” better than Labour; of course, Cameron, Osborne and friends have neither the inclination to manage the economy, preferring to focus on finding new tricks to direct tax revenue into the grasping hands of the elite, nor the intelligence to do so. Others voted Tory because they cannot envisage any workable alternative to stifling capitalist exploitation and chose the devil they know so that, with some luck and much hard work, they may have some chance of a comfortable life.
The last reason given above has been described, erroneously, as an avoidance of risk. As the denouement of the drama of the overnight election counts approached BBC news interviewed former Labour leader Neil Kinnock live from the count of the constituency where his son, the Labour candidate there, was awaiting the result. In response to a query why Labour were likely to lose the general election Kinnock (sr.) answered with a psychological analysis wherein he suggested some potential Labour voters may have lost the will to take a risk voting Labour when they were in the voting booth about to describe an ‘X’. Kinnock may have just been scratching around despairingly for an excuse, or repeating an excuse he used as assurance to himself when defeated first by Margaret Thatcher and then by John Major, but his spurious reasoning isn’t unique to him. The Labour Party is not unwilling to blame the electorate for not voting for them and is always content to perpetuate the con that Labour is significantly unlike the Tories.
Of course, to vote for the Tories is a huge risk for most people. The risk that the voter won’t become unemployed, disabled or seriously ill and, thus, would not need assistance from the state. Many voters were willing to take such a risk. They are fully aware of the risk and are happy to gamble, and they know that Labour does not offer anything different.
Why did Labour fail?
Labour’s abject failure at the 2015 general election was unsurprising. The party presented no alternative to Tory gangsterism other than a few patronising crumbs, and, equally, was unable to persuade enough voters that Miliband and friends’ brand of destructive capitalism would operate better than the others’.
That is all.
Labour was neither an opposition to gangster capitalism nor a credible administrator of such a system. The Tories were handed the election success.
The Tory government began its vicious campaign against the people of Britain immediately after the election: Further deliberate denial of access to justice; further restrictions on activities of trades’ unions; removal of rights for tenants; new laws specifically designed to allow bypass of local decision-making in the provision of fracking licences; dangerous relaxations on use of chemicals in farming and industry; charges introduced for access to a NHS GPs; removal of what remains of education grants for children from non-wealthy backgrounds; yet more appalling restrictions on access to welfare; drastic cuts to income for disabled people, and much more. There is no pretence of sensible government here. This is simply a mob, working on behalf of international gangsters, doing anything and everything they can to divert as much tax-payers money into the hands of their real employers and operating with utter disdain for the suffering their actions cause.
Have most Labour Party MPs focussed on challenging the Tory assault on freedom and livelihoods? Have most Labour Party MPs sought rigorous debate on and analysis of each nasty inhumane decision? Have most Labour Party MPs even bothered to vote against the filth in parliament? No, no and no. The Tory victory has given most Labour Party MPs the excuse to think that any policy, statement, or even a vote in parliament, that doesn’t coincide with Tory rhetoric, must, necessarily, be a general election vote loser. The hopeless desire to win back a few miserable Tory votes in order to have even a sniff of a chance at the next election is all that matters to the Labour elite. They slither around, scared of their own shadows, like one large arse without an anus – eternally constipated. Led by Harriet Harman, Labour’s malignancy has thrived unfettered.
Labour leadership election
It could have been the most soul-crushingly banal and catatonic event of the summer, an exchange of dire platitudes, a pretence at disagreeing over minutiae, the ultimate antidote to somnabulism, but the Labour leadership election has been a revelation. A revelation because of how it has exposed the Labour elite and what it doesn’t stand for.
Veteran Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has throughout his political and parliamentary career promoted and actively supported left-of-centre ideals much more aligned to Bevan than to Blair, received sufficient support from the parliamentary Labour Party to be a candidate in the leadership election alongside careerists Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper and the detached Blairite Liz Kendall. Corbyn’s candidacy was encouraged in order to present the election as a debate of different political perspectives. Certainly, many of the MPs who voted to include him on the ballot paper do not agree with his political outlook. The possibility of Corbyn being popular with both the Labour activists, that is, the voters in the leadership election, and with the public, was never within the thoughts of the majority of Labour MPs, including some who voted to support his candidacy, because they are so entrenched in the view that the public want only a variant on exploitative capitalism as a government.
Since his candidacy was confirmed Corbyn’s appeal and popularity have increased steadily. Unions and regional branches of the Labour Party have indicated their intention to vote for him, his campaign rallies have spilled out onto the street because the venues were just not big enough, and various analytical predictions have suggested a comfortable victory for him in the leadership election, the unreliability of opinion polls notwithstanding.
A further consequence has been a huge increase in membership of the Labour Party as hundreds of thousands of people have joined or re-joined the party in order to support, and vote for, Jeremy Corbyn. This mass appeal has alarmed the Labour elite.
The horror of popular support
The possibility of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party was, initially, ridiculed by the Tories and their media supporters. The complete lack of awareness of the existence of a significantly large proportional of the people of Britain who want a radical change to both fiscal economic management and the process of government meant that the Tory world assumed, and still do assume, that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be unelectable at a general election. Such an attitude could not even be described as arrogance; it is imbued stupidity and ignorance created by years of existing in the rancid fog of capitalist exploitation and selfishness. As Corbyn’s appeal has become more visible the Tory ridicule has lessened and it has been pushed to the side by the extraordinary behaviour of the Labour elite and their mouthpieces in the media.
Labour’s grandees, self-publicists, careerists and wealthy backers claim that they agree with the Tory view that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be unelectable, but as the mass support for Corbyn has grown the Labour elite have reacted with horror. The possibility of left-of-centre politics appealing to the voters of the UK and of a challenge to gangster management of the economy has infused the said elite with wide-eyed anger and a rare determination to achieve an aim. That aim is to stop Corbyn, by any means. No attempt has been made to debate the issues that he has discussed at his oversubscribed rallies and no attempt has been made to analyse why many people are opposed to capitalist gangsterism – Labour’s elite just want to stop him. The tactics used are examples of the normal tricks of the trade for political frauds:
Peremptory dismissal of Corbyn’s appeal
The Progress mob in Labour (see Progress Infiltration) and like-minded goons have scribbled many garbled articles and spouted much incoherent tripe on the assumed ineluctable defeat for Labour in a general election if Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the party. Their sole item of proof for this is their belief that the voters cannot conceive of an alternative to an administration chained to capitalism and its ills. This attitude of denial is both an insult to the people of Britain and an intentional pretence at ignorance of alternatives.
Classification of Corbyn support as hard-left
The Labour elite have invented a wholly imaginary positing of the bulk of the support for Corbyn into a strictly defined box that is severely restricted in outlook, uncomprimising and undeniably small: ‘Hard-left’, ‘Troskyite’, ‘Militant,’ etc. Clearly false, this description of Corbyn support is driven by contempt for the public and reveals how separated from the public the Labour controllers like to be.
Smear, smear, smear
An oft-repeated and continuously unproven smear is a go to option for any political propagandists who have no time for truth or reason. Assisted by the professional propagandists for the government of Israel, such as Stephen Pollard, a cabal of intellectual imagineers have screamed ‘anti-Semite’ at Corbyn. No evidence exists for such an insult. Jeremy Corbyn has expressed condemnation of Israel’s military actions, of the continuing theft of land and property of Palestinians, of the systemic kidnapping and denial of justice perpetrated by Israel, of the use of banned weaponry against civilians as a means of testing the weapons’ effectiveness and of successive British governments’ support for Israel’s crimes, none of which has even the most tenuous connection with an anti-Jewish view. The Israel governments’ use of aggressive, personal and shameless propaganda attacks is routine and the opponents of Corbyn within the Labour Party are happy to ride along on the waves of such nonsense.
Reds under the bed
Hundreds of thousands of British people have joined or rejoined Labour to support Jeremy Corbyn. Some have returned to Labour, at least temporarily, from other parties such as SNP, Green, TUSC and NHA. They have returned because a Corbyn-led Labour appeals to them politically and morally whereas a Miliband-, Burnham-, Cooper- or Kendall-led Labour does not. That is, they are people who are choosing a party that fits their own politics, and preferring what they perceive as the largest such party. It is normal behaviour for anyone who takes an interest in politics and wants to be politically active. The new and renewed members are not infiltrators and agents of another party trying to break Labour. But, Labour’s gatekeepers are seeking to ban anyone who has ever criticised Labour or offered a smidgen of support for another party from voting in the leadership election. The intent behind the voting restrictions is to reduce the numbers voting for Corbyn and to ensure that Labour membership remains clean of anti-capitalist sentiment.
As stated earlier, the antics during the leadership election campaign have revealed what the Labour Party does not stand for. It does not stand for a challenge to gangster capitalism, it does not stand for intelligent debate and it does not stand for allowing a range of views to exist within it.
One the most flaccid assertions in modern British political history is Labour’s proclamation of its ‘values,’ normally included in reasons for denying a leadership vote to someone because she or he doesn’t share Labour’s ‘values.’ Labour’s ‘values’ haven’t been defined. Perhaps there will be a meeting soon about them, where the attendees are served tea from a chocolate teapot while trying to hammer in a nail with a jelly hammer.
The response of Labour to criticism of its vote denial and its smears on Jeremy Corbyn has been consistently childish, patronising, rude, abusive, dishonest, obfuscating and pathetic. Such criticism has been met with well-rehearsed pseudo-smarmy circle smug-jerks from the Progress legomen, and snide nastiness from an increasingly more visible horde of UKIP sympathisers in Labour led by the odious Simon Danczuk.
Whether Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership election or not, the debates his candidacy encouraged should be welcomed by anyone who supports socialism. He is not the ultimate answer to the problem of the system and structure of government in Britain, but a shift in the loci of political debate is useful.
The Labour Party, however, is a husk.