Thursday, April 06, 2017

Horse Before Cart

Sometimes, you can't help but feel that people are putting the cart before the horse.  Take these protests that 'Momentum' (the would be party within a party set up to support Jeremy Corbyn in his Labour Party leadership campaign) have been holding outside the offices of New Statesman magazine.  Their problem is that the venerable left of centre political publication is apparently being too critical of their idol.  To be frank, it has been undermining his leadership, they claim.  In fact, they fear that its negative attitude is going to cost Labour seats in next month's council elections.  The trouble is that you can't help but feel that they've got it all arse about face.  Maybe, just maybe, the Statesman is critical of Corbyn because he is such a poor leader.  The worst Labour leader, in fact, since Ramsay McDonald, and possibly even more damaging to the party than the old turncoat.

Indeed, it is Corbyn rather than the Statesman that is going to cost Labour dearly at the polls next month.   Quite apart from the fact that so few people read the Statesman that it is inconceivable that it could influence sufficient voters to affect the outcome of any council seats being contested, Corbyn has left the Labour Party with no clear electoral strategy, no coherent policies and a vacuum where leadership should be.  He is simply the latest in a long line of middle class lefties who simply do not understand what traditional Labour voters actually want.  He keeps telling them what he thinks they want, but that isn't the same thing at all.  What he and his ilk (the Socialist 'Workers' Party in particular) won't accept is that, on many issues, the British working classes are actually very conservative.  Middle class radicalism cuts no ice with them.  What they want is the guarantee of jobs, fair wages the chance of progression, both professionally and socially.  Corbyn isn't offering them any vision of how this can be achieved.

The most successful Labour leaders, such as Attlee and Wilson, recognised this innate conservatism and understood that you had to sell your most radical reforms (the NHS, the expansion of Higher education, the Open University etc) in terms of how it is going to benefit their core supporters in terms of creating jobs, prosperity and self improvement.  Most spectacularly, Tony Blair (He whose name must not be mentioned) not obnly succeeded in tapping into the real aspirations of the working classes, but also carried a large part of the middle classes with him.  Love it or hate it, but New Labour had a far better grasp of the party's core constituency than the likes of Corbyn will ever have.



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