Saturday, 25 May 2019

Rejoice at the end of a Despicable Woman but Brexit Still Remains

The Real Question is Why has Corbyn not Benefited from the Tory Crisis?

Let no one shed a tear over the exit of this spiteful, bigoted woman. Theresa May was not, contrary to the impression she tried to give, some liberal one nation Tory or a modern day Francis of Assisi.
It was Theresa May's 'hostile environment' policy (which Miliband and New Labour supported) which resulted in the deportation of hundreds of Black British citizens to the West Indies, many of whom died as a result. It was May who presided over the introduction of Universal Credit which did more to increase child poverty than any other single government measure. May was relaxed about homelessness and food banks and she supported arms shipments to Saudi Arabia in order that they could bomb more hospitals and wedding parties. May was a dedicated Zionist. I cannot remember even a cursory mention of the devastation caused to the Palestinians. May supported fox hunting and grammar schools. 
We should enjoy May's self-pity and fake tears.
Cast your mind back to April 2017 when a ‘strong and stable’ Theresa May called a General Election, confident of victory.  The Tories were over 20% ahead and the pundits were unanimous that it was 1983 all over again and Corbyn was Michael Foot armed with the longest suicide note in history.  Labour’s Right looked forward eagerly to the inevitable defeat. 
Stephen Kinnock in 2017 - shocked and disappointed at how well Corbyn had done
Who can forget the shock and horror on Stephen Kinnock’s face in the fly-on-the-wall documentary Labour: The Summer That Changed Everything when the exit polls predicted a hung parliament? His wife, ex-Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt arrived and asked a clearly shell-shocked Kinnock “Why are you doing this?” in respect of an interview he had agreed to.  “I don’t know.” he replied. “You don’t know anything.” she responded and his only comment was “I know.”
Labour’s Right were stunned at the fact that Corbyn had gained the biggest swing to Labour since 1945 and increased the number of seats.
When the election was called I wrote a post on 20th April entitled Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth which at the time seemed madness.  Indeed I wondered whether I was going to have egg on my face since it went against just about every received opinion. I wrote:
Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.
There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.
No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.
I even went out and placed a bet on Labour getting between 250 and 300 seats.  The first bet I’ve ever made and I made a tidy sum!
I hesitate to make any predictions at this time because there are so many variables but of one thing I’m sure.  History does not repeat itself except as a farce. Those Corbynistas who believe that the next election is a shoe-may be in for a shock. The Establishment in this country will not be taken by surprise a second time.
What is worrying is not only the poor local election results but the predicted poor results in the European elections.  The fact that the Tories may have done even worse is irrelevant.
The victors are, it is predicted the Brexit Party.  The second party is forecast to be the Liberal Democrats. Labour is forecast to be in third place. These are, of course predictions but if they are correct then a number of things need to be spelt out.
Brexit, the desire to withdraw from Europe is not an anti-capitalist project.  People didn’t vote leave because they desired an independent socialist Britain. The primary force behind leave was the Right and far-Right. Euroscepticism of one variety or another is a Europe wide phenomenon. Benn had many wonderful qualities but he also left a poisonous legacy in his nationalist opposition to the EU. Benn argued that what was the Common Market took away British sovereignty, as if workers and the poor had ever had control over their lives.
Corbyn has prevaricated and dodged for far too long. Most Labour members, between 80% and 90% are supporters of Remain.  That is because European unity is seen as a progressive cause, which it is. There is no possible way that Labour can be seen as the party of Brexit.
The present ambivalence and incoherence of Corbyn, because who can honestly say what Labour’s position is, has meant that the discredited Lib Dems have come back from the dead. If Labour had come out unequivocally for both a second referendum and Remain it would have consigned the Lib Dems to the graveyard, both in the local and European elections. Instead Corbyn hides behind a sullen silence and expects people to second guess what he is thinking.
The opportunity was and still is there to say we oppose Brexit as a nationalist solution to the problem of a free market Europe.  Yes we oppose a bankers’ Europe and a competition policy that prevents for example renationalising the steel industry.  Yes we are opposed to a fiscal policy that opposes austerity but the way to deal with that is to confront it directly, to throw down a challenge to European bankers and to defy them when necessary. If it is necessary to pass legislation that has a clause specifically exempting it from the 1972 European Communities Act and thus the dictates of the European Court of Justice then so be it.
Another Europe is certainly possible.  It doesn’t have to be the Europe of Juncker and Merckl but nor does it have to be the Brexit of Farage and Boris Johnson.
Assuming that Johnson is elected and that is by no means certain given the depth of opposition to him amongst business then the divisions in the Conservative Party will remain. So will the parliamentary arithmetic. If Corbyn comes out clearly for a second referendum and against Brexit then he will be in a position both to marginalize the Lib Dems and take on the Brexit Party in the North. Farage is vulnerable on a whole gamut of policies such as privatization, poverty and the NHS. To continue the present muddle over Europe is to allow Farage to become the kingmaker.
Tony Greenstein

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