So, Corbyn or Smith?

So, Corbyn or Owen Smith. Nope, not an easy one. And can I just say I would have liked the opportunity not to vote for Angela Eagle – but I’ll come back to that later.

So cards on the table…you’re reading the words of a good socialist lad. I think social justice should be at the heart of our thinking and practice.

The neo-liberalist experiment has nearly run its course. (Take a look at Paul Mason’s excellent treatise Postcapitalism – a Guide to our Future.) So it’s time for us to revisit Keynes (See Skidelsky’s Keynes: The Return of the Master), public ownership and a final rejection of that greed is good, austerity is moral and globalisation is as inevitable as the grim reaper (see also Joseph Stiglitz Globalisation and its Discontents). The times are changing.

Does Owen Smith get this? No, I don’t think he does. He is quite simply the anti-Corbyn candidate. Well done mate. I get that somebody had to wield the knife, but is this the best assassin we’ve got? (1) More Johnny English than James Bond. What a shame, he seems like such a nice chap…but then so did Ed Milliband.  I’ve just viewed his latest missive, sent to all Labour Voters (those of us still allowed to vote that is), and he first tries to identify with the miners (OK, you were there, good on you), but then gives us nothing else – his policy seems to be, ‘let’s get rid of Jeremy Corbyn so we can win’.

So, Jeremy Corbyn. When he stood in 2015, he never expected to be Labour leader. He was a stalking-horse who scraped enough votes from the Parliamentary Labour Party to stand and then was carried forward on a tsunami of popular discontent with the status quo. Establishment candidates were swept aside in favour of a mandate that surprised and bemused everybody. From then-on-in the knives were out for him…but then that’s Politics isn’t it? Nevertheless, finding himself in office, he has conducted himself with considerable integrity, refusing to abandon his popular mandate or his principles. Running the gauntlet of media, commentators and politicos in a head-down-charge that made the Light Brigade’s last moments look like a sensible tactical manoeuvre. Guns to the right, guns to the left – it might have been magnificent, but it was not sensible politics. But then, bugger sensible politics – its existential crisis has just given us Brexit.

And let’s not forget that one of these guys has to face Theresa May. She reminds me of a Sith Lord, and is, frankly, a bit scary. Do I think either Owen or Corbyn can take her in Parliamentary Questions or bar-room glassing. Nope.

Now, I’m on dangerous ground here. But I think this is a job for a woman; come in Angela Eagle your number is up. I remember watching Neil Kinnock trying to take on Margaret Thatcher – and having the slow realisation that patriarchy was working against him – he simply could not go for her as he should have done. The feminists amongst you may have a good chuckle at this (and I do like a feminist chuckle every now and then); but just remember, this meant Margaret Thatcher stayed in power, and, I predict, so will Theresa May. The way Angela Eagle bowed out, or was booted off, was shoddy piece of political gerrymandering worthy of tinpot dictatorship. I might not have voted for her, but I would have liked the choice. Ya know: like a real election; in a real democracy.

So, how am I gonna vote? Jeremy Corbyn. We, don’t have a hope of victory in the next election with either him or Owen Smith. But life has taught me two things: 1) cowering before bullies encourages them, and 2) there is one thing worse than losing a fight for a cause, and its losing a fight for cause that you never believed in the first place. If I’m going down, I prefer to go down spitting blood and curses. So winter is coming, and I’m off to buy me a new Balaclava.

 

(1)(My own, admittedly un-nuanced, take on the parties has always been this; the Tories are nasty shits, the Liberals are cowards and the Labour Party is inhabited by bullies and schemers. I’d abandon this sweeping, pub-bloke analysis were it not so readily supported by the empirical data.)

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