Sunday, 15 January 2017
You have to feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn, really. This man of principles appears to have abandoned every one of them since he took the reins of what is left of the Labour Party. A career-long opponent of the EU, he now painfully claims to want to retain membership of the single market. A once proud defender of ‘British jobs for British people’ he now has to declare that freedom of movement for low-skilled workers, lowering wages and displacing Labour’s traditional voter base is a price he is willing to accept for said membership. A former red ‘firebrand’ he now meekly acquiesces to the EU’s impositions on its workers.
After a week which he began with his ‘yeah, but no, but, yeah, but...’ clarification of his multiple and varying stances on these policies he has taken the stage at the Fabians conference and left with yet more egg on his face. His latest policy response to the laughter and despair he aroused last week is to re-establish his commitment to the very worst, simplistic principles of Marxism and populist socialism. The answer, he really wants to say, is nationalise everything. Starting with the trains and moving on to care homes, if his heart isn’t in the right place then there goes the last possible excuse for indulging his fantasies.
The formula ‘make everybody better off’ as a starting point is nothing but a soundbite for the masses. The idea that you can achieve this by making some people worse off is pure cant. And the proposal that you can keep happy those on the lower rungs of the earnings ladder by propping them up with state charity is demeaning and preposterous. Anybody can stand on a stage and say they will ‘save’ the NHS, or improve the railways, or tackle Britain’s productivity shortfall, or make our schools the envy of the world. But without a credible means by which any of these things might be achieved you may as well say you will levitate or reveal god, or resurrect the dead.
Actually, Corbyn has already brought many policies back from the electoral graveyard and is somehow keeping them on artificial life support to no discernible purpose. Even failed communist plans deserve a decent burial and to be left to rest in peace. But listening to Comrade Jeremy, I can’t help but feel like Winston Smith; I’ve heard all this before, I remember it didn’t work the first time, or the next, or the next, but I am being asked to believe that, as under Common Core, three times four can equal eleven.
Children grow up dreaming and hoping and imagining bright futures where anything is possible. For a very fortunate few, success comes about by accidents; of birth, of opportunity, of flashes of inspiration, of being in the right place at exactly the right time, of sheer luck. But the majority will only succeed by applying themselves to acquire the skills and responsibilities that participation in our system of mostly benign capitalism requires. The high dreams fade and are tempered into realistic objectives as the reality hits home. Somebody should shake Jeremy gently by the shoulder and wake the poor old fucker up.