Whenever ruling class interests are even slightly endangered the cries ring out. We saw it last year over Scottish independence. The moment the Yes campaign started to do well the business leaders were wheeled out to warn of catastrophe for everyone if the break-away occurred. Now we have have it with Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to become the leader of the Labour Party.
A few weeks ago he was on the fringes and just in the race to give the widest debate possible. Now he’s ahead in the polls and setting the agenda. Panic! Newspapers howling that he may lose many people from the shadow cabinet. Today the Guardian claims that he could lose talent like Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. Talent? I think they meant political talent rather than some tawdry nonsense about their looks but you never know.
This misunderstands the nature of becoming successful in politics. We shouldn’t mistake success for talent. You become successful at politics predominantly on the basis of your views and how you come across with the media. Over two decades of New Labour the current crop of shadow cabinet members are mainly to the right of the party. If a leader emerges from the left you’d expect over time for their team to reflect that. I don’t think the country would mourn for long if Liz Kendall suddenly woke up and realised that she was in the wrong party and crossed the floor of the house. The only reason she hasn’t already is that she can’t get too close to David Cameron as she is him in a long wig and the space time continuum risks being ripped apart if they touch. Or something.
Whats next? The business leaders will be out soon. After Blair vomited down his shirt for 20 whole minutes yesterday urging the Labour Party to be Tory-lite we now expect the high finance Peers that Labour created to get stuck in. Corbyn will be bad for business, bad for Britain and lead to higher debt, blah blah blah.
For most people Corbyn will simply be doing what we imagine a Labour Party in opposition should do: oppose the Tories! It’s astonoshing to think that Labour have been acting these last two months as though they lost to a rampant Tory Party with a landslide majority. They won with just 24% of the possible vote and Labour lost with 20% of it.It was an incredibly close election. It was much closer than 1992 when Major got five more years of infighting and bickering from his ‘bastards’. A bit of context helps.
The ruling class response to Corbyn doing well is a sign of how desperate they will get if he becomes leader. It will turn from panic to organised brutality. He will not be allowed to talk anti-austerity, anti-war policies without suffering an onslaught.
Meanwhile the real fight against austerity is in our communities and on our streets. We can’t wait for a messiah to turn up and the Corbyn love-in on the left at the moment shows the distraction of representative politics. In pooling our attention to get one man elected into a position of influence we can forget that we have much more power when we actually band together and represent ourselves and each other in a coordinated way.