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Sincere but misguided: Jeremy Corbyn (photo: Chris Beckett/Flickr)

Can they really be about to do it? As this issue goes to press, the Labour party looks likely to elect as its leader a man who is friends with Hamas and Hezbollah, refuses to condemn the atrocities carried out by the IRA and believes the Guardian to be a right-wing journal. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy Corbyn recently when we did BBC Question Time together, and it really was a pleasure. He is a polite, decent and evidently sincere man encumbered by lunatic beliefs. At one point on air he attributed the recent Tunisia beach massacre to Tunisian government “austerity”. I asked him afterwards about “Tories for Corbyn” (Conservative voters signing up as Labour party supporters in order to vote for him) and he dismissed it very lightly. But I suspect that along with various diehard Communists and anti-Semites, Tories for Corbyn now constitute his base.

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Willing Corbyn to win the Labour leadership election is slightly misguided. First, because governments need their economic and social policies to be challenged by an opposition which is not simply trying out Karl Marx once more with feeling. But also because it could so easily misfire in some unforeseeable way, and David Cameron hardly presides over a healthy parliamentary majority.

The problem for the other Labour leadership contenders was that they could just as easily fit into the political hierarchy of any other main party. They all talk the same non-oppositional language and aspire to similar policies, so what opposition there is has to be manufactured. This is encapsulated in the one-time front-runner Andy Burnham. In power he experimented with privatisation in parts of the NHS. In opposition the only drum he was able to bang was the false notion that the Conservatives are trying to “sell off” the health service. I suspect that a lot of people can see through, and loathe, this hypocrisy. But the failure of the political class to be honest and admit to what it cannot do as much as what it can always leaves the road open for utopians.

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Meeting unlikely people is one of the few joys of going on television. It has been nice to see Derek Hatton crop up again recently. Although the one-time Militant Tendency representative in Liverpool has lately become a property developer, his politics remain slightly to the left of Lenin’s. A few years back we were doing one of those Sunday morning programmes which the BBC puts on to fill its “moral discussions” slot and those of us in the green room comprised a distinctly motley crew.  Among others present was a large lesbian vicar wearing a dog-collar and an especially severe crew-cut. I mention the vicar’s sexuality because she was on to discuss this (and, if I remember rightly, to posit her belief that gay parents were not just equal to but better than straight parents). I mention her appearance because it is relevant.

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Charlie 7
September 1st, 2015
3:09 PM
The problem is that the left wing of th Labour Party is virtually a Trotskyist Pary. When Wilson said said " The Labour Party owes more to Methodism than Marxism" ,it may have been true pre mid 1960s but not post mid 1960s. If a Trotskyist Party had actually one a few seats , then the leaders of the Labour Party could have told them to leave and join it. Basically , Dianne Abbott and those to the left are Trotskyists. Post early 1990s, the Trots went into hibernation within the admin grades of the pubic sector and teaching professions, only coming out to enable Livingtone to to win the election for Mayor of London in 2000. The large group of underemployed arts graduates , mainly from the lesser universities, will provide useful foot soldiers for the older Trots. I think we underestimate how much trouble a few 10,000 of hateful, organised and motivated people can do to the politics of Britain. The vast majority of polite Britons will not confront the verbally aggressive and hateful Trots which will allow them to dominate much political discourse.

Mike Buckler
August 28th, 2015
7:08 AM
"faked language games"....another term is "virtue signalling" I think it needs no explanation.

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