Sunday, 20 September 2015

Do Not Treat My Politics as Any Less than Yours

As anyone who has read this blog down the years will not be surprised, I am pleased that Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the Labour Party.  After the May 2015 election I did not have any expectation that the Labour Party will be re-elected.  The demographics are against them and as has been quoted before, the British public is Conservative and only occasionally votes Labour.  Indeed the New Labour it voted for was simply a pale blue version of the Conservative Party with a better publicity machine.  Corbyn is refreshing because he puts forward an attitude that many, if only a large minority, have felt have been missing from British politics (though clearly not the politics of Greece or other European countries) for so long.

It is not surprising that the right-wing media have attacked Corbyn on every basis from what songs he might sing to who he slept with forty years ago to his fashion sense to made-up policies they think sound poor.  In some ways I welcome that fact as it does suggest that they see him as a genuine threat to their distortions and scares peddled to the population.  If Andy Burnham had won, I doubt he would have attracted a fraction of the attention that Corbyn has done.

'The Guardian' feels that Corbyn and his camp could have rebuffed false accusations if they had had their 'media machine' set up quicker.  In some ways, however, I am heartened by the fact that it was not.  To feel an obligation to rebuff every last accusation as soon as possible is simply to play the game of the right-wing; it shows that you feel that you can be harmed by them, rather than ignoring the rubbish thrown at you because it is in fact nothing more than rubbish, often fabricated and always plastered with indignation.

Corbyn is facing a man who left a child unattended in a pub and has no grasp of how 95% of the UK population live.  Even when he is pictured on public transport, it is clearly faked.  Corbyn looks like he belongs on the underground train, travelling home from work, looking tired, like literally millions of other Londoners.  Part of the problem are the Blair years.  The Blairite government made themselves masters of media manipulation.  However, they also made themselves vulnerable by seeming to care whether one MP stepped off a very narrow line about a policy.  They created a context in which it is felt that unless an entire political party is full of drones mouthing exactly the same words on everything it has somehow failed.  This makes it very difficult for genuine debate to occur not just over the big issues but also the nuances within them.  That does not aid British democracy.  Why is it acceptable for the Conservatives to have a spectrum of opinion from people wanting immediate exit from the EU to those who want to stay in forever and yet even moderate differences on the issue are seen as a 'failure' by Corbyn.  I suppose because we lack a left-wing media.

The anti-Corbyn campaign has been so relentless that it is unsurprising that it is picked up unquestioned and every crumb used as gospel truth by a lot of the population.  I work where people generally have to have a decent level of education to be employed.  However, I have been harangued by the fact that Corbyn wants to wreck the UK economy by scrapping the Queen and he will abolish the Army the moment he comes into office.  Even then, to me such policies seem pretty rational alongside ones such as compelling schools to become academies and allowing the private sector to take over handling prisoners and hospitals.  Given how shoddy and expensive the British railway system is, why is it not shouted down whenever anyone suggests it is not re-nationalised?

I do not expect people to agree with me.  This is a democracy, there are different parties and there is a range of views within every political party no matter how the Conservatives and the media portray it.  Yet, Corbyn politics in a matter of a week have been made to appear illegitimate even to discuss and at best something very naive.  No other political leader has reinvigorated a movement in this way for decades.  Perhaps Sir Keith Joseph and following in his footsteps, Margaret Thatcher did for the Conservatives and that was forty years ago now.  Yet if I ever say anything positive about a Corbyn policy people titter as if I am foolish.  I would be happier to accept them being angry about my approach.  However, the right seems to be winning as it did in the 1980s by simply making Labour policies not seem a threat but simply not worthy of even considering and viewing anyone who proposes them as 'loony'.  It worked before, so I should not be surprised that it is working now.  It is exasperating for a number of reasons.

I could stand in a French or a Greek workplace and outline political views at odds with the people around me and they might disagree perhaps vocally, but they would not look on me as a child; they would not strip me of my right to hold that opinion.  To do so in Britain is a form of censorship which is in fact akin to the approach of dictatorships, not that of other mature democracies.  A further point is that I could state that the world was created in 7 days in 4004 BC; that dinosaur bones were laid in the strata by God to show man the passing of all things and that one day the righteous will be lifted into the skies during the Rapture and no-one would be allowed to laugh or ridicule my views without risking a disciplinary action for discrimination.  I subscribe to a political stance which is rational and in my view would be better for the bulk of people living in my country than the current policies.  Yet, because those very few who control our society and economy feel threatened by such views, they have schooled their minions in the population to ridicule and simply dismiss even the expression of that view.  Is it any surprise that people say Britain has only a partial democracy?

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