Monday 24 October 2016

Labour should be a lot easier than this

Corbyn has spent too much time with groups purporting to represent the 'ordinary people'

Published 20/09/2015 | 02:30

Corbyn has spent too much time with groups purporting to represent the ‘ordinary people’
Corbyn has spent too much time with groups purporting to represent the ‘ordinary people’

In an after-dinner speech that was described as "emotional" and "impromptu", Ruairi Quinn told his colleagues at the Labour Party think-in that because socialists don't believe in capitalism, "we know how to fucking manage it".

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It doesn't make much sense, but it has a certain emotional impact.

It went down well in the hall, but there was sadness in it too, when you figured that the last time Ruairi Quinn spoke in such an "impromptu" fashion was probably during his student days.

In the meantime, he has spent the best part of 40 years trying to "fucking manage" a system he doesn't believe in, calling on all his skills as an unreconstructed socialist - or a "reunconstructed socialist" as he put it.

And yet that note of defiance also reminded us that, in theory at least, this should be a golden time for the Left.

Wherever you look in our world, there is a clearly identifiable ruling class running this game of casino capitalism in which they alone are permitted to cash in their chips.

While that strange old sentimental thing they used to call "working-class solidarity" has been made virtually illegal, at the opposite end there is a powerful sense of togetherness - you could even see the Rugby World Cup as a symbol of this triumph, a great roar of ruling-class solidarity.

So insatiable are the corporate aggressors, you'd think that the Labour parties in these islands or in any other islands should be absolutely flying, given the enormity of the targets at which they can take aim.

Except they're not, really. In Ireland, the Labour Party is busy doing what it apparently does best, still "fucking managing" that system it doesn't believe in, while in England it has been pointed out by funnyman Frankie Boyle that Labour not only lost the general election, it then proceeded to lose its own leadership contest.

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn, for all its hilarity, was also rightly seen by Paul Krugman as a consequence of "the strange, sad, moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates".

In David Cameron they had an opponent clearly aligned with the operators of the casino economy, yet they could barely mention it without first apologising to the decent majority of hedge fund managers who may be offended.

For their abysmal mealy-mouthedness they have been sent back to their dinner parties, not to prepare for government, but for the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. And while there is justice in this, and of course many laughs, for the unfortunate "ordinary people" that we hear so much about, this may not end well.

The more intelligent commentators are writing that it is a terrible shame that the Left has produced a leader who is very sound on the money-men, but very unsound about having cordial relations with so many irredeemable dingbats, thus taking all the good out of it. For Irish readers there is added poignancy in the fact that in these articles about all the terrible people that Corbyn has endorsed, there are many dubious types in there, but mostly they don't even get to IRA/Sinn Fein. Which is not so much the elephant in the room as the elephant in the room with a load of Semtex strapped to his trunk.

Although the Left is justifiably proud of its traditions of intellectual rigour, at this moment of enormous opportunity it seems incapable of producing even one major figure who is able to attack the exploitation of the workers of the world, and who doesn't also have a picture of himself somewhere with Gerry Adams or Jihadi John.

I mean, how hard would it be to find a convincing advocate for the new poor, and indeed the old poor, who is not also a personal friend of some radical preacher? Things being as they are, why would a man of the Left associate himself with any kind of a preacher, radical or otherwise? Where would he find the time for such gibberish?

Ah, but Corbyn has had the time - too much time - out there with that strange race of people who are always purporting to represent the "ordinary people" but who really know little of them.

Corbyn would have attached himself to the Irish Water protests, a mass movement that was becoming terrifying to the Government until the lads with the loudhailers arrived to present them with the Miracle of Jobstown.

It was never the same after that. The "ordinary people" could never identify with the various parties who were rallying to the cause, not necessarily because of their analysis but because ordinary people usually have better things to be doing on a Saturday afternoon.

Jeremy Corbyn has never had anything better to be doing, and his new duties will cause him much aggravation. Her Majesty's Media have gone stark raving bonkers, hounding him like some drugs baron on the Costa del Crime who won't answer their shouted questions, when he is just a politics junkie who is very set in his ways.

Some say he will be gone in about 40 days, like Brian Clough at Leeds United. But, at the time of going to press, he was still clinging on.

Now it is left to him to "fucking manage it".

Sunday Independent

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