Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Small c Defence of Corbyn, by Adam Young

British politics is built on being a two-party system, with little room for a third party except in specific seats.

Out of necessity, then, to be active in politics and hope to get some change done, one has to pick one party or the other.

At this time, it is Conservative or Labour. Those are the options. Of course, that does not mean that I believe that people should stick to those parties dogmatically.

What I am suggesting is simply that a voter should be realistic about prospects of winning elections and should actually study the policies of both parties before making a choice, although this is not a criticism of non-voting.

As such, in my view when it comes to British politics at the moment, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is the much saner choice from a small “c” conservative perspective.

Not once have I felt that Theresa May believed in what she said. The Conservative Party Conference of last year was filled to the brim with speeches that led many commentators to identify a leftward move by the party. “Reclaiming the centre,” or something to that effect.

Dan Hodges, when he was still at the Telegraph, dubbed Cameron at that time, “the New Leader of the British Left.”

May’s speech, on the other hand, was considered the token right-wing speech. It discussed the negatives of mass immigration. She averred that even if Britain could handle mass immigration, it “shouldn’t”. 

This is all well and good, if you ask me. However, anyone who has basic knowledge of immigration will understand that to prevent mass immigration, one must leave the European Union.

So when the time came for MP’s to come out in support for leaving the EU, one would expect May to jump all on board onto the Leave campaign. Yet she supported Remain. 

Now if May truly cared about reducing immigration, as she so fervently made out in her speech, then would she not back leaving the EU? 

May is a political chameleon, much like Tony Blair or David Cameron. She couldn’t name the philosophy she subscribes to, much like other members of the “Third Way” movement. 

I find this more dangerous than someone who has their own dangerous ideology. You know where you where stand with them.

But those of the supposed “Third Way”, which is not an original idea as Blair made out, are impossible to define and almost always appeal to the hedonistic and knee-jerk aspects of society.

Her purported support for grammar schools, seems to me to be nothing more than bold talk to appease the actual conservatives in her party. Much like Cameron’s laughable promise about “a bonfire of the quangos” in 2010.

I am doubtful that grammar schools are anything more than talk from May, who is trying to incorporate some conservative aspects into her perfectly coordinated look.

Her talk of “compassionate conservatism” and of “an economy that works for all” is the same as the “moderniser” terms used by Cameron and Osborne, and the New Labour spin of Blair. 

May is the continuation of this political farce that has ruined our humbled institutions and much of our civil society and liberty.

She is much the heir to Blair as Cameron said that he was.

This leads me to Corbyn. 

Corbyn is not that continuation. Corbyn is a break from what is considered the political narrative. That can only lead to good.

Corbyn’s greatest achievement so far has been the systematic destruction of the Blairites in his party, preventing them from ever again gaining a foothold in Labour.

One Blairite party was dangerous enough, but having two, with those as the two major parties, would have made it practically impossible to prevent national decline.

Furthermore, Corbyn is the only mainstream leader of any political party who openly disagrees with what is our current mainstream foreign policy consensus.

That is, of blindly following Washington neoconservatives who happily bomb Middle Eastern countries in a perpetual war for American exceptionalism and the mighty crusade for universal democracy.

Additionally, though we disagree on the solutions to such problems, we agree that neoliberalism is a broken ideology that will eventually lead to an economic hardship in the near future.

Certain elements of Corbyn I find rather disagreeable, of course. I am a Colonel Blimp, after all. But I can find comprises with most of them.

He is an egalitarian, I am not. But that is purely an argument of ideas rather than policies themselves.

He has happily talked to Gerry Adams, a man I personally dislike, in the past. But in the end, so have Prince Charles and David Cameron, and, when given the chance, so will Theresa May.

He did not sing the National Anthem, but I can think of few people whom I know for sure would know all the lyrics to God Save the Queen

The EU referendum was possibly the only real issue I could take with Corbyn. Critiquing May for backing Remain whilst not critiquing Corbyn for also backing Remain would be hypocritical of me.

But they were in two different situations. May could easily have supported leaving the EU, as did Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and other Cabinet Ministers.

But she did not. Not out of care for the issue, but out of a desire to protect her position in power.

Corbyn, on the other hand, was leading a party in which the vast majority of his MPs were hoping to see him make a mistake, in order to justify a Leadership contest.

If Corbyn had supported Leave, then Labour MPs against him would have argued he was going against the party’s “values” (New Labour values), and would have claimed that he had weakened the case for staying in the EU.

So Corbyn, out of necessity, was required to support the EU, whether he wanted to or not.

Nevertheless, although both are of course flawed, when I weigh what I think about May and Corbyn, I think that in the current climate I could only safely put myself on the side of Corbyn.

Corbyn is option closer to my views, and the only one that I could expect to deliver what he had promised. May is a purveyor of political chitchat, with bold talk, but without much action or delivery.

Corbyn is what he says that he is. That is a rarity in politics, and he is all the better for it.

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