Kate Hudson observes that the outcome of the general election marks a significant shake-up in British politics and a surge in support for qualitatively different policies:
“It is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.
She views the election as a significant shift towards the politics of hope, peace, inclusivity, justice and equality.
“Jeremy Corbyn’s long – standing opposition to nuclear weapons, and his personal opposition to Trident replacement, did not deter millions of people from voting for him. Indeed the likelihood is that many – particularly young people – have voted for him precisely because he opposes war, intervention and weapons of mass destruction.
“Support for Trident replacement is negligible amongst the younger generation and it is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.
The right wing of the Labour Party, and a small but powerful section of the trade union movement, have ‘peddled the myth’ that Labour needs to look ‘strong on defence’ to win – and that this means supporting Trident replacement.
But, Kate believes, support for the party has surged because it has a radical vision of a different society, and because everyone knows that Jeremy Corbyn does not support Trident replacement. When he first became leader, he commissioned an extensive Defence Review throughout the Labour Party. That review has been shelved – because it showed the extent of anti-Trident opinion within the party?
She calls for that review to be published and debated at the next Labour Party conference: “This issue must not be kept off the agenda any longer”. There is no popular mandate for a Tory security policy, or a Tory-lite security policy pushed on the Labour party by a minority of pro-nuclear forces that are living in the past. Those trade unions that have put unreasonable pressure on Jeremy to keep Trident are urged to change:
“The way for them to secure and extend high quality, well-paid jobs is to support Jeremy’s policy on defence diversification. Rather than shunning this initiative they need to work with politicians and industry to develop a diversification plan, as part of a national industrial strategy that will secure their jobs without holding the rest of the country over a nuclear barrel”.
As she points out, there is now strong public backing for industrial planning and investment and this needs to go into sustainable industrial production to meet public needs, for energy, housing and public resources, not weapons of mass destruction.
Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.
Read her article here: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/Summer_2017.pdf
Kate Hudson, British political activist and academic, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Oborne “wholeheartedly cheering on Corbyn” who has ”brought a wonderful freshness to British politics”
Peter Oborne: “No one who is loathed by the bankers, the BBC and Tony Blair all at once can be that bad.
Corbyn is the first genuinely original party leader to emerge in Britain since a certain Margaret Hilda Thatcher made her first speech to Conservative conference in 1975. Remember: the establishment hated her, too”.
A Moseley reader sent this link to an article by Oborne, who – like Simon Jenkins and Peter Hitchens – writes with clarity and power.
- The bankers wanted him to fail,
- as did the businessmen who finance the modern Labour Party.
- The mass media are enemies.
- The BBC has abandoned its traditional neutrality over what it calls ‘Left-wing Jeremy Corbyn’ (why doesn’t it refer to ‘Right-wing David Cameron’?)
- Having failed to prevent his meteoric rise, Tony Blair, his supporters and their apologists in the London media establishment are now plotting his downfall.
- Britain’s morally bankrupt security establishment — the very same that duped the Blair government into an insane war against Iraq — despises Corbyn.
Oborne says he will be wholeheartedly cheering on Corbyn, despite disagreeing with several policies, because he (Oborne) is “a passionate, lifelong believer in our superlative parliamentary democracy”. He continues:
“In dictatorships such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, the penalty for challenging the political consensus is torture and death. In the United States, politics has become the plaything of billionaires. In Britain we have a very different tradition: red-blooded confrontation. Yet in recent decades we have turned our back on that superb inheritance”.
In the 1990s the political process was captured by the ‘modernisers’
“This happened first with Blairites in Labour, and later in David Cameron’s Conservatives — with both men competing for the centre ground, and both loudly proclaiming their modernising credentials at the expense of their traditional supporters. The result was that the main parties looked and sounded identical. Between them they abolished real political debate. Anyone who disagreed with conventional opinion, for example over Europe or mass immigration, was labelled an ‘extremist’.
“All three mainstream parties despised the views of ordinary voters. They produced identical leaders, in their mid-40s with no experience of the world. They viewed politics as being about technique rather than ideas. They viewed political argument as akin to advertising margarine or soap powder. . .
“Blairite contempt for Labour’s working-class supporters led directly to the rise of the Scottish National Party
“The triumph of the spin and focus group-obsessed modernisers led to the collapse in trust in politics, especially among the young.
That is why we should celebrate Jeremy Corbyn, the first authentic leader of a mainstream political party since Margaret Thatcher. It stands to reason that he should be hated and plotted against by the political establishment. Just like Maggie Thatcher 40 years ago, he despises everything they stand for. They despise him back.
“There is, furthermore, one substantive policy issue where I believe Jeremy Corbyn has many interesting things to say. This is foreign policy . . .
“Since the rise of the modernisers, there has been a very troubling consensus on foreign affairs. Tory and Labour have agreed that, come what may, Britain would never defy the will of the United States . . .
“Let’s imagine, by contrast, that Jeremy Corbyn had been directing British foreign policy over the past 15 years. British troops would never have got involved in the Iraq debacle, and never have been dispatched on their doomed mission to Helmand province. British intelligence agents would not be facing allegations that they were complicit in torture.
“Hundreds of British troops who died in these Blairite adventures (which were endorsed by Cameron) would still be alive. Furthermore, the world would now be a safer place. Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq and David Cameron’s attack on Libya have created huge ungoverned zones of anarchy across the Middle East and North Africa, in which terrorist groups fester and from which migrants flee.
“That is why Conservative claims that Jeremy Corbyn would jeopardise our national security are so wrong-headed. His foreign policy advice has often been wiser by far than the foreign policy establishment”.
In fact many think it probable that British and global security would be greatly enhanced should Corbyn become prime minister.
A Moseley reader sent this link to an article by Peter Oborne. Passages relating to foreign policy are extracted
Since the rise of the modernisers, there has been a very troubling consensus on foreign affairs. Tory and Labour have agreed that, come what may, Britain would never defy the will of the United States. This consensus led Britain into the double follies of Afghanistan and Iraq, which was the biggest and most terrible foreign policy calamity of modern British history. When the Chilcot report is finally published, it is certain to provide deeply embarrassing details of how the British establishment fawned to Washington.
Elsewhere, there is abundant evidence that Tony Blair’s determination to appease the U.S. caused Britain to forget our values, and facilitate the torture of terror suspects.
While the worst of these excesses took place when Blair was PM, David Cameron has culpably failed to force an investigation into the British role in torture.
Let’s imagine, by contrast, that Jeremy Corbyn had been directing British foreign policy over the past 15 years. British troops would never have got involved in the Iraq debacle, and never have been dispatched on their doomed mission to Helmand province.
British intelligence agents would not be facing allegations that they were complicit in torture.
Hundreds of British troops who died in these Blairite adventures (which were endorsed by Cameron) would still be alive.
Furthermore, the world would now be a safer place. Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq and David Cameron’s attack on Libya have created huge ungoverned zones of anarchy across the Middle East and North Africa, in which terrorist groups fester and from which migrants flee.
Critical comments follow about John McDonnell, Corbyn’s attitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, his ‘uncritical’ sharing of platforms with ‘unsavoury people from terrorist groups’ and his failure to recognise that there are times when foreign military intervention can work.
But these serious shortcomings apart, he has brought a wonderful freshness to British politics. And while he has many unpalatable things to say, many need saying. No one who is loathed by the bankers, the BBC and Tony Blair all at once can be that bad.
Corbyn is the first genuinely original party leader to emerge in Britain since a certain Margaret Hilda Thatcher made her first speech to Conservative conference in 1975. Remember: the establishment hated her, too.
Lesley Docksey, the creator of this site’s title, writes “Having sat at the computer and cheered with everyone in that hall as Corbyn’s results were read out, I have rewritten the ending of my Watershed piece. Adjusted article attached, I’ll go lift my glass of wine to the future! After opening with lyrical paragraphs about the watershed image/metaphor, her article, which may be read in full here, has been adapted, with permission, to blog format, with emphasis added.
Corbyn has, quite definitively, won the leadership contest, and the cheer when the figures were announced must have made it clear that he has the majority of the party with him. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a campaign of dirty tricks as the old guard try to overturn the result, but the Labour Party Conference will be, to say the least, interesting – a battle between some grandee MPs and a greatly enlarged and reinvigorated membership.
I have been waiting for this moment for some time, the moment when the English in particular woke up and started talking politics.
I say ‘English’ because the political problem of the Westminster bubble that we face is ‘English’ oriented. Or so the Tories think – keep control of the Shires and we control the country. But as Jeremy Corbyn reminded his audience at the Tolpuddle Festival in July, the English countryside is where trade unionism began. “Don’t write off the countryside as a Tory rural backwater!” he said. No, we shouldn’t forget our radical roots, they run deep and the peasants can still rebel. This island’s domestic history has had several moments of revolt, times when the lowly stood up against the high and mighty.
But they didn’t have what we have – instant news, the ability to travel rapidly across the country, modern communications and social media. Corbyn’s message couldn’t have spread so far and fast without all that.
Watching the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign take fire, following websites like Bella Caledonia and seeing how, despite the No vote, the political conversation went on, becoming deeper, wider and more forward looking, oh, how I envied the Scots! And I wondered what it would take for those of us south of the border to start such a conversation.
If he’s done nothing else, he has helped people to realise what a huge political divide we are living with.
It wasn’t just the bleak inequality we are experiencing that made us sit up. It was the sight of the other three contenders trying desperately to drag us all back into the no-think land of leaving it all to the politicians.
It was, at last, for some people the gut realisation that New Labour was pretty much as rightwing as the Tories.
There is also, I think, the need to reframe the way we think and speak about politics. Corbyn’s last rally focussed on the banner “I voted for a different kind of politics.” And it does seem that the many thousands who flocked to hear him speak were genuinely looking for that kind of change. But we need not just different politics, but a different language in which to express those politics.
Surely, those who voted for Corbyn are sick and tired of being labelled ‘the hard left’, Marxists, Trotskyists and the rest. Is it beyond the wit of mainstream politicians, gazing bemusedly at the tide of people turning towards Corbyn, that what people seek is quite simply something they are not offering?
A very tired ‘politics’ of money, greed, individualism and power is all they have to offer. A politics of humanity is what is sought.
Almost all the words that have been used by party politics have been overused, misused and abused. They are tired and worn ragged, hence the silliness of the phrase ‘the hard left’. Such words no longer hold any credit or any real meaning. We the people, the river, the searchers for the common good, need new words to describe who we are and where we are going.
Broken Britain: Despite what Westminster says, people are not looking back to the old days of Labour. The Tories are doing that in their desire to return all us ‘working people’ back to serfdom. Lords, manors and villains have had their day, but they are being replaced by corporate power. The money, and the land, is still in the hands of the few.
As voting closed on Thursday, Liz Kendal, conceding that her campaign had failed, admitted that Corbyn had started a conversation about Labour Party values that hadn’t been held for many years; but she said, “whoever is elected must recognise no leader has a mandate for untrammelled power.”
But wasn’t that what the Blairites wanted? Even the slightly less Blairite contenders, Burnham and Cooper, wanted to win, win, win.
I find it strange (or is it?) that none of the mainstream Labour MPs seemed to take on board the fact that Corbyn has never sought power; he seeks power for the people, the poor and helpless, the disenfranchised.
For many, when they come to think about it, it will not be important if he is ‘THE LEADER’. What is important are the values and vision that he has connected people to. If it is not too over-the-top, he has become the hillside down which we are all tumbling towards some kind of unity and people-power.
The other puzzling feature for me has been the inability of so many Labour MPs to understand that the Party which they think they run is actually made up of members who all have the right to speak, many of whom are following the vision that Corbyn has offered. And more people, who gave up their membership in disgust over Iraq, will come back if this vision can be maintained.
Maybe the Party will destroy itself, or split; or reform itself beyond Tony Blair’s recognition. But whatever happens to Labour, too many of us have now found which side of the divide we belong; and maybe there are too many of us to be stuffed back into the box. Outside Westminster’s control, we will need the ongoing conversation and a new language.