Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ultra-left sect?

Corbyn supporters are “an ultra-left sect”, according to a PLP member on BBC Radio 4 tonight.

Well, I have to say I’ve never considered myself ultra-left. I have far to many doubts, irregularities and qualms for that. I’ve never hidden my neo-Marxism, but all that does is confirm my inability to toe party lines or to constantly look gift horses in the mouth (and count their teeth).

I guess I’m more part of the Awkward Squad, who spend most of their time being at odds with managerialism. Managerialism is what New Labour was about: managing the system that the Tories had invented, softening it’s edges but never doing away with it. I had always hoped we could roll back some of the awful aspects of Thatcher’s Revolution, but it never happened. Thatcher’s greatest achievement was New Labour, created as a response to her agenda and welcomed as a means of managing the status quo. It was, and remains, no threat to Toryism, because it was created out of Tory cultural hegemony.

Is it any surprise that people were frustratedly unable to distinguish Blair, Brown and Milliband from their opposite numbers on the Tory benches? A Fordian Choice is no choice at all. And the chickens have come home to roost with the Referendum and the Corbyn election. In effect, Corbyn isn’t the issue (any more that the EU was). What he represents is a resentment of double-dealing, manufactured, insincere, and overly pragmatic politics that left people in general with a total loss of faith in democracy.

If you then ask people what they want, don’t be too surprised if they tell you.

More than just Politics

I think many folk don’t realise that there was more than simply politics in the referendum experience. It wasn’t just about ‘I’ve thought about this and am voting such-and-such-a-way’. It may have started out like that (maybe), but that’s not how it became.

Both sides in the argument scare-mongered. They also preyed on the fears and irritations of the politically alienated and disaffected. In the end, the whole process brought the worst out of folk. A kind of blind jingoism that I find abhorrent, which was most ‘eloquently’ voiced by British football fans over in France recently. It was a ‘fuck you because your foreign’ mentality, expressed via a vengeful anger and hate I’ve never experienced before.

Yes it has divided the country. It has made me fearful of the inherent fascism, long submerged in the British psyche,which was brought to the surface, and stoked by Farrage, Johnson and their ilk. We became a mob, not an electorate. We voted with our thumbs, not our heads. We wanted revenge on Europe for years of unrelenting austerity, impotent to effect any real change via our own electoral system. The fact that austerity wasn’t caused by the EU, was irrelevant. My impression is that no one wanted to hear anything contrary to their gut feelings, because it’s always dreadfully disappointing to discover that the way you feel isn’t necessarily sensible in action.

Want to hear irony? I’m not even a big fan of the EU. Its economic policies simply re-write neoliberalism on a grandiose scale. Ask the Greeks. But, I’ve also benefited from EU law, and for the sake of its more utopian visions I was always willing to continue to fight for a more democratic system within the Union.

Now, of course, that is all gone. People say to me, “time to just make do with what you’ve got, after all, that’s democracy, ain’t it?”. But I still have to live with the toxic legacy spilled out during the campaign: the murder of Jo Cox, Farrage’s racism, Johson’s manipulation of the popular mood, and the vile comments and lunacy that have consequently been bandied my way by FB contacts I thought I knew better. It has revealed aspects of folk I would rather not have seen. To be frank, the revelation has been terrifying.

If I’m angry, I’ve got good cause.