Monday, 18 January 2016
The New Fact-Free Politics
I’ve never unequivocally supported unregulated ‘free market capitalism’. That can only end one way, probably with corporate militias as envisioned in the worst of the 1970s and 80s apocalyptic vision movies such as Rollerball. But full socialism offers no better; a life of dreary mediocrity for all but party officials. Len McClusky was on Radio 4 yesterday, talking about how Corbyn offers hope to end ‘the austerity which is crippling this country’. Really? Not giving away any more free stuff than we can afford is crippling? When, under socialism, your productivity declines and there is simply not enough to go around, who do you decide to save?
The left in Britain has never had a coherent alternative to the actually very successful soft socialism the Conservative Party reside over. The continuing sitcom that is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour continued over the weekend with both Emily Thornberry and Jezzer himself appearing all over the media to ‘explain’ Labour’s defence review. The message seemed to be, “It’s a review – we don’t know what the outcome will be” but one thing (almost) decided, by Emily & Jezz, if not by the party was no to nukes. What about the submarines, asked the meeja? We could have the bombers without Trident... or Trident without being equipped with nuclear warheads. Well, I suppose we already have aircraft carriers without aircraft, so why not?
What next? Guns without bullets? Troops without guns? A flag without a nationality? Continuing the anti-austerity, save the planet, do no harm agenda we could re-open the mines but not burn coal, build more nuclear power stations but never run them. Saving yet more money, how about having a comprehensive national transport policy but build no roads, or railways? Why not hospitals without doctors, schools without teachers? (Actually, that’s quite a good idea – keep that in.) When you are in opposition you can be creative; it’s easy to have policy without purpose if you’re never going to be in a position to enable it. Labour; a political party but with no intention of ever again being elected – the unilateral disarmament of the workers’ party.
The Labour Party prefers wife-beating to nukes.
So, capitalism gives us stuff but only lets you have it if you earn it. There is no such thing as ‘equality’ in capitalism; it’s winner takes all. On the other hand, Corbynism produces nothing but shares it out equitably. There has to be another way, a third way if you will. Whoops, wasn’t that Tony Blair’s big thing? But seriously the supposed third way is what we’ve practiced in Britain for a very long time. ‘From each’ and ‘to each’... up to a point. And austerity is simply the latest name given to the necessary balancing of the books. Corbyn is against that balance, but it’s okay – if we can have Trident without the nukes, I’m sure he can rustle up an economic policy without the money.