Looking, not too attentively it must be said, at the squabbling scrum scrambling to take charge of the British Labour Party, the hope is that Jeremy Corbyn will win even though I think he won’t. By the time of the poll the party membership will have returned to its non-senses and will, à la the turkeys, cast their ballot paper for one of the Santa leaders: the make believe type who will acquire all the power to make absolutely nothing happen.
It is important that Corbyn wins. Not because it will change anything by one iota if his brand of Labour forms a future government, apart from a curbing in the field of freedom of expression designed to silence the type of cynic long since identified by Ignatieff as having a healthy awareness of the gulf between what is practiced and what is preached.
It is important because it presents the opportunity to hear a truly discordant note disrupting the toneless tune of the British political class as it sings from the same Tory blue hymn sheet, basically exhorting people that they should "work hard to live badly."
Corbyn’s Labour will not write a new political language, that much we can be sure of. Just that it will speak one radically different from what we are accustomed to hearing. What Professor Kathleen Lynch about 15 years ago termed the stultifying “language of sameness” is suffocating societal intellect, trapping citizens in the same old same old, where the solution invariably means more of the problem.
Like Irish Labour, the British variant is a hopeless lot. It believes in nothing other than getting the opportunity to do nothing if returned to office. Nothing can be done without office they insist. Popinjay Pat, he of the “promise them anything and let them eat cake,” school, and until recently Minister Rabbitte in the Dublin government, complained “what’s the point of politics if not to make a difference?” What appreciable difference did he make to the lives of anybody other than increase hardship? It is because of charlatans like him with very short memories, that many citizens view voting for politicians as no different from lighting candles for the blind, as some with recently phrased it on Twitter: there being no point to it. There actually is a point if those they elect could somehow inoculate themselves against the office virus which invariably leads to them delivering the Rabbitte punch to voters once they get their jaxy on the ministerial seat.
British Labour is probably more honest than Rabbitte and his lot. Rather than pretend they are going to do anything different they are simply trumpeting the fact that they will do the same.
On virtually every policy issue, Labour has been reduced to saying “me too”. They may try to tack on a qualification – “not so much” or “not so fast” or “we’ll do it with a kindly smile”. But, in essence, Labour’s leaders evidently believe that they have nothing new to offer. They may carp and cavil at the outcomes of Tory policy but they seem to have neither the competence not the capacity for hard work that are needed to come forward with real alternatives
Look no further than the hacking and slashing by the greedy rich on social welfare. That attack on the concept of citizenship and inclusiveness is certain to “drive many thousands of the most vulnerable into deeper poverty and despair.”
What is Labour going to do about it? Other than howl their disdain for the type of measures agued by Corbyn, Sweet FA.
The capitulation by Labour’s leaders is not only a misreading of the electoral runes but is a damaging revelation that the party has literally nothing to say that is positive either ... Opposition parties, even those that have recently lost elections, will usually have enough self-respect to stand up for what they believe in, even if the parliamentary arithmetic is against them. What Labour is doing shows that it no longer has a bottom line of any sort but will readily bend with whatever wind happens to blow.
Why such accomplished windbags feel the need to blow with a wind other than their own is something that might tax the minds of political scientists, but not on the mean streets over which storm clouds gather. What little shelter exists is being stripped away from the most vulnerable because they are considered scum to the approval of those who claim to be the foil to stormy weather.