Posts tagged with: Thatcherism

The Lie of the Broad Church

It seems like every major political party in Britain has its own identity.

The Conservatives take care of the elites. The Greens are modern-day hippies and idealists. The Liberal Democrats are whatever they feel like being at the time. And UKIP are bigots. Simple! Easy to remember off the top of your head.

But you’d be forgiven for assuming the Labour party are all about democratic socialism, I’m afraid. Because apparently, in recent history, they’re actually All Of The Above.

How is this possible, you ask? Welcome to The Broad Church™!

Yes, the term “broad church” has been utilised ever since the “New Labour” project came about, when the electoral machine that grabbed onto power three general elections in a row – hemorrhaging three million votes in the process, mind you – believed it could be all things to all people, be they small-C conservative types, aspirational folk, “looney lefties,” starry-eyed Blairites in awe of war criminals, or red dyed-in-the-wool Labour voters.

This meant Peter Mandelson was accepted with open arms. So was Alastair Campbell. And John McTernan. Even someone called Jamie Reed. All were welcome, whether they were right-wing ruthless capitalists, warmongers, pro-privatisation campaigners selling off schools and hospitals, big brother surveillance state advocates, or those who, in fact, wanted to change the party membership itself, like Luke Akehurst!

Like some of these ideas? Come on in, sunshine! Labour has suddenly become a “broad church,” don’t you know? Did you not get the memo about “unity”? You can be of any opinion and any political background you like, even if you aren’t a socialist after all!

Ah, as long as you aren’t actually a socialist. They forgot to mention that.

Groups like Progress and the Fabians are treasured and respected, while Frank Field fawned at JK Rowling and called the Momentum movement an ‘execution squad.’ While left wingers are purged, the right-wingers are invited to pull up a pew in the house where Blairism is the dying religion spreading superstition about the Labour party leader.

So, no, the “broad church” was a creation to allow money to pollute Labour like it did every other party before its formation.

That’s why they now suddenly want to even elect their own cabinet, to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, to stop him from effectively leading – even if this meant Labour kept losing to the Tories. They want anti-socialism, or nothing at all. And they’re seemingly untouchable.

The pomp and ceremony of the Commons, the Lords, once gifted land as far as the eye can see, and all of these elite systems, are all to be protected – to keep us as peasants. A cabinet elected by MPs – today instead gifted not land but safe seats in Labour “heartlands” used and abused for years – means they would wrest power away from party members; away from the working class mass majority. It’s always been done. It’s always been an oppression.

We marched against Blair’s war crimes paid for by our taxes. The government is the only product where if you don’t cough up your hard earned dough to buy it, they can come and put you in jail. They say voting is your defence, but only one of the three “houses” are elected, and even that’s done by first-past-the-post. This is all forced on us by elites.

Jeremy Corbyn is terrifying to these privileged Westminster elites. His policies are progressive, yes, but they’re hardly radical socialism in the grand scheme. The fact one of our guys became leader – and not one of theirs – is the real reason they’re rattled. It’s why they want to choose the leader’s cabinet, while having a nasty little man as Deputy Leader who is protected from another members’ vote.

We even get lectured by Ed Balls on the importance of reaching out beyond the membership to Tories – and he lost his seat to the Tories anyway and ended up making a fart of himself on TV to stay relevant so, clearly, not caring about the backing of his own members should have been more of a concern!

No, don’t ever let anyone talk to you about Labour’s “broad church” again. Don’t accept the term. Instead, see it as a major warning when someone throws that around in conversation. It’s code for “corporate-friendly” used by the hypocrites of the party, wanting to embrace elements of Tory capitalism but stopping just short of it, using the popular Labour brand to keep gaining some power. It’s why they talked a good talk during Corbyn’s leadership hassles but shat themselves at the thought of having to create another party – while others actually believed they could buy the Labour name as well!

But many, in a way, have bought it, haven’t they? They bought themselves a ticket to the promised land by wearing a red rosette in a nice safe seat somewhere, using the working class mass majority for personal gain, not for the collective interests of those people being forgotten. This is why Jeremy Corbyn is important. It’s why we can never let them demonise Momentum while there are anti-socialism types like Progress in the party, who might as well tear up their membership cards that, on them, declare a dedication to socialism.

The “broad church” is the war cry of the hijackers. Never accept it. Never fall for it. Always stand up for socialism. After all, it’s what Labour is supposed to be for.


Owen Smith: You Had One Job

Interviewed on the day of Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election from Jay Baker on Vimeo.

Well that was a tiring and pointless campaign, wasn’t it? As if 2016 wasn’t rough enough with the assassination of a Labour MP and the spectre of right-wing politics looming at home and abroad, Jeremy Corbyn had to direct many of his energies throughout the year instead inward, against those in his own party, despite the membership backing him in historic, overwhelming fashion.

Just as Labour looked like a genuine threat to the Tories, the Westminster elites decided they knew better than the thousands of members in the Labour party when it came to leadership; they wanted it to be one of their favoured folks, not someone who actually reflected the views of the party’s base, one that enjoys the status of being the largest socialist party in Europe.

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Angela Eagle launched her own perfume leadership challenge in opposition to the sentiments from within her own constituency, only to in turn be challenged by misogynist Owen Smith.

Yes, Owen Smith may have looked like D-Fens from the movie Falling Down, but he knew what he was doing. A former corporate lobbyist, he was the perfect representation of New Labour’s vacuous, soulless ideology. Given that Jeremy Corbyn’s incredible success was in part due to the fact he wasn’t a public relations-savvy businessman, this seemed an odd choice.

Whether the abusive, bullying onslaught the Labour leader had endured was intended to scare him and make him quit before a formal leadership challenge ever commenced, or they simply massively underestimated him in thinking this nonperson, Owen Smith, actually had a chance of beating him, is a fascinating question that remains unclear to this day. Either way, it certainly was, as people on Twitter called it, a “chicken coup.” It was calamitous, and disastrous. More importantly, it was disastrous for Labour, at a time when they needed to be challenging the brand-new unelected Tory leadership of Theresa May.

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So, given this awful, corporate, bland presentation, you can be forgiven for simply assuming Owen Smith is a career politician.

Aside from bullying Corbyn and his supporters in order to provoke a response that they could use to tar all Corbynistas with the same brush – Andrew Marr reading out selective vile tweets from purported Corbyn supporters – it was also important for the Smith campaigners to deflect attention from his Big Pharma background by co-opting this “careerist” tag and attempting, rather cleverly, to apply it to Corbyn, who’s spent decades getting re-elected by his constituents of Islington North, where he actually lives, while Smith was busy putting the “PFI” in Pfizer.

By this rationale, I imagine they thought – since he did not much besides spend years in a cell and then serve office as President of South Africa – Nelson Mandela was a bit of a “careerist” as well, dedicating as he did his entire life to change.

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith takes to the stage as he launches his campaign at the Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw in Wales.

No, Orwellian perspectives aside, Owen Smith was the careerist. Not least because he was representing those colleagues of his in Westminster who felt the Labour party still needed to be utilised in order to open doors to corporate boardrooms – that is why they wanted to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn; he was representing not their interests but the interests of the party members who elected him, with policies that therefore would be favourable to people rather than profits. That’s why nearly a million pounds was pumped into his leadership challenge (about four times as much as Jeremy Corbyn managed to raise in campaign funds).

A friend of mine in the Labour party – not a Corbynista by any stretch of the imagination – recently made a comparison that became popular amongst Smith’s supporters: a boss can’t run a company to just keep the paying customers happy; he has to keep his workers happy too (this analogy was used by May to cast Corbyn as the unpopular boss in her infamous Thatcherite ‘Remind him of anybody?’ Commons remarks). However, my friend also admitted, ‘If someone is a career politician, their career is to be a politician…so what does that say about them when they can’t even get that job done? They had one job!

Of course, the truth is, politicians aren’t in a career. An MP answers not to a corporate boss, but to us. They are not mere workers like you or I, but representatives honoured enough to be sent by their locality to parliament to fight for those interests. Given the time it takes, they are compensated rather well for the tasks they carry out, but despite this responsibility still earn less than most bankers or professional footballers. It ought to be the highest honour one can receive, with no greater responsibility than being the one citizen from their area to represent those collective interests. But instead, it’s treated by too many like a birthright, or a nice little addition to a CV on the way to greater power and wealth.

Owen Smith was chewed up and spat out by the very system he stepped forward to represent and protect. But, until that system is democratised for the many and not the few, I suspect he’ll do just fine. After all, his job goes on, and since he did stand up for the cause, it’s one that will lead to a long illustrious career in the boardrooms of those interests.


Why Labour Aren’t Rallying the Troops

In 1992, it was The End of History and we were “rockin’ in the free world.” But how did it happen?

As Oliver Stone repeatedly demonstrates in his brilliant series The Untold History of the United States, key figures are important to diplomatic relations.

By the late 1970s, the days of a trade union talisman like Jack Jones were few and far between, and a breakdown in negotiations between unions and the party of Labour they often relied on led to such disastrous events as the Winter of Discontent, and – as a result – Labour in-fighting. With the Winter of Discontent came darker days, blackouts, and the fading of the Post-War Consensus.

The socialism of Michael Foot, who had slowly worked his way up to the leadership of Labour, was routed by the flag-waving nationalism led by the Falklands-fighting Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. With the Winter of Discontent still fresh in the collective psyche of the British population, Labour’s Neil Kinnock turned his back on striking coal miners who were having their pits closed by Thatcher simply because theirs was the strongest union around.

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Thatcher went on to dominate the 1980s Social Darwinist culture of “survival of the fittest.” It was indeed, a different time. Council houses were being bought up and sold off, and almost everyone believed they too could make it big. State services were subjected to a big sell-out. Entire sectors were being deregulated, giving financiers free rein. The money was flowing into London via the stock exchange, bankers were wheeling and dealing, and casino capitalism thrived, and as a result, a devastating £1.5 trillion bank bail-out looming in the not-too-distant future.

As Labour figures like Tony Benn had warned, neoliberalism turned out to be disastrous for our society. Thatcherism and, to a lesser extent, Blairism, exacerbated inequalities and overseas adventures damaged our standing in the world, with Iraq making the Falklands look like a playground fight by comparison. The ramifications would be felt to this very day, given the instability caused to the Middle East as a result of the illegal intervention.

While Tony Benn was with his ‘favourite politician’ Jeremy Corbyn and hundreds of thousands more of us protesting the horrific attack on Iraq, his son Hilary Benn was voting for it. And just this year, he called for air strikes on Syria in what the media claimed was an oratory masterpiece worthy of any historic figure able to rouse his population towards war. And this has been key: form over content; style over substance.

While Hilary Benn was being cheered on by Conservatives in the House of Commons, the same Tories were still intoxicated by the celebration of the harm they’d caused through blaming the debt left by a £1.5 trillion bank bail-out on Labour “overspending” on public services, using the lie as a way to stop said services, or even sell them off to their rich mates. Thatcherism was alive and well: it was “survival of the fittest” again.

Working class people had had enough of being left mere scraps. Some were so angry they’d even fight over the scraps with anyone else disadvantaged, be it neighbour or immigrant. Communities were being devastated. The Eighties were over. Greed was no longer seen as good. “Occupy” protests unfathomable in the Eighties were suddenly commonplace. If Labour’s Eighties brand of weak ineffectual socialism was resented, Eighties Thatcherism was downright hated. When she died, people were burning effigies of her in the street.

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In high contrast to Hilary Benn, when Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader in September of 2015 he was criticised for reading out statements from citizens he was representing, and I recall someone on Twitter pointing out, ‘Surely what matters more are the words on the paper?’

Corbyn’s entire approach has realigned our perception of politicians and made us believe that it can be policy, not pizazz, that matters – that going to court because you refuse to pay the poll tax means more than throwing your jacket over your shoulder, flashing a grin, snapping a selfie, and then going and killing thousands of people. What we do matters more than what we say. Corbyn had a long history of doing the right thing, even when his own party weren’t.

No surprise, then, that Blair’s old buddies were immediately setting out to stop Corbyn as soon as he became leader. They’d plotted to take him down since before the EU referendum. At this point doing better in the polls than other party leaders, Corbyn – who has never been slow to point out the flaws of the EU – still campaigned harder than anyone else in Labour to resist knee-jerk xenophobia and call for us to “remain,” as meanwhile Hilary gathered signatures to call for his resignation.

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Hilary and his plotters against Corbyn had already been given a gift by David Cameron: if Britain chose to “remain,” then Corbyn was a hypocrite and only succeeded because of the party’s position on the matter; if the UK decided to “leave,” he was a failed campaigner. Of course, as I had predicted for months, it was the latter: people who wish for the status quo will never mobilise the way those who want change do. It was always going to be “leave.” The only thing that surprised me was that it was as close as it was.

So the plotters upped the ante. They coordinated resignations with the BBC for maximum media effect. They briefed Laura Kuenssberg and, thus, David Cameron, on Corbyn’s planned remarks in parliament.

We can only assume – given the absolutely awful “candidates” they ultimately ended up proposing as alternatives to Corbyn – that their plan was to pile on so much pressure on him that he’d buckle, resign, and they’d have a replacement.

Hilary’s buddies who backed Blair bombing Iraq were no doubt anxious to see a Labour leadership act as an apologist for Blair upon the release of the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry. The nearer it approached, the more heat they put on Corbyn. But still, he didn’t go. Instead, he saw the Chilcot findings as a vindication of his – and our – opposition to the attack on Iraq, and issued a long-needed apology on behalf of the Labour party.

Corbyn standing his ground was more important than that, though. Any resignation from Corbyn would have turned away an entire generation from politics; far from being time-travelers from the 1970s, this is a generation interested again – a generation which values multiculturalism, European diplomacy, and social democracy and who will deliver us the future of our country, and this means we must keep them engaged as citizens or finally reduce them to bitter and twisted consumers as Thatcherism sought. Tens of thousands joined Labour to make it the largest socialist party in all of Europe. Thousands marched in British cities in support of the Labour leader. I’ve been on them myself.

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Even those few who had returned to the party were being targeted; Labour head honchos were spending more time, effort and energy chasing out socialists than chasing Tories in the race to power, and when asked who they thought would make a better Prime Minister out of Prime Minister Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn being undermined by his own MPs, the British public were thinking the former, in an <sarcasm>absolute shocker</sarcasm>.

When Angela Eagle stepped aside for the sad figure of Owen Smith in the last resort of a formal leadership challenge, the plotters tried to ensure the incumbent couldn’t again stand for election, such was their fear of Jeremy Corbyn remaining leader. The National Executive Committee then declared he could indeed stand, but set about deducting over a hundred thousand votes from him by declaring newer members ineligible to vote, and blocking members of the Unite union, who in turn suggested regional constituents de-select the plotting MP’s…which of course resulted in the suspension of regional constituency meetings. Which was just a coincidence.

But this isn’t a leadership challenge. It’s a membership challenge. It’s a challenge to all of us, as evidenced by the plotters’ asinine suggestion that they’ll have these challenges over and over and over again until they get the one they – not us – want…one of the most insulting sentiments ever directed at Labour party members who knock on doors and post fliers.

This is a struggle for democracy itself. It’s a struggle between the people and the elites in Westminster, and on Fleet Street – whatever’s left of it, as old media slowly and painfully goes into decline while Corbynistas utilise social media to seek out alternative, more reliable and authentic sources of information rather than the opinions of one rich Australian, or one of his fellow media barons, or the BBC establishment.

This is also an opportunity to start the dismantling of a system of power and control and influence that, if continued, would accelerate, rather than stave off, the destruction of the environment, of workers’ rights, and of democracy itself.

London’s outdated relics house a Westminster bubble of leather and gold representing oppressive established entitlement, where echoes bounce around corridors of power to present us with pantomime as an illusion of democracy. The media outlets highlight the delivery and posture of “Maggie” May as she avoids Corbyn’s question on workers’ wages and instead fires at him a personal attack implying he’s at loggerheads with his own “workers” – leaving the social media-savvy citizens to search for the full clip where Corbyn replies with one of the most poignant and pertinent points of our time: that neither she nor any of her colleagues, nor indeed anyone in Westminster, can relate to those of us relying on food banks to eat.

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But this particular attack by May – chosen as Prime Minister of Britain by a hundred or so toffs – is telling: it exposes the real delusion of party politics – that a party leader is akin to a chief executive, with key staffers, and shareholders on the outside. Despite the fact shareholders are generally treated with far more reverence than political party members, this comparison is grotesque, and shows how low our expectations of the political system have sunk since the formation of the Labour party itself just over a hundred years ago. We are not shareholders, but stakeholders. We are driven by values, rather than the value of things.

The accidental representative rather than ambitious leader, Corbyn has embraced the simple idea that being in Westminster isn’t a career, but merely a role designated by communities who select their MP. Angela Eagle nodded in agreement with her own constituents, then walked off, drove away in her car, and days later defied their wishes, challenging Corbyn – such is the arrogance and sense of entitlement of these politicos.

Ed Miliband represents my birthplace of Doncaster with no connection to the town whatsoever, merely gifted a “safe” Labour seat to suit what was an up-and-coming politician rewarded for being part of the political establishment with this role to keep him in Westminster; they don’t want some Trot, rabble or Doncastrian dog such as, say, myself who understands Donny villages like Bentley or Askern. I’m not cut from the right cloth, after all. I’m not a careerist who wants power to push apart the doors to boardrooms and corporate-sponsored trust funds for my kids.

You only have to look at the most successful politician in recent history – Tory blue-blood David Cameron – to see the best example of modern politics: if you’re from the right background, you get gifted a safe seat, you rise up the party, do the bidding of elites, and then quit politics to enjoy your yachts while being a token director of a board of some corporation that gets to spread word on the prawn cocktail circuit that they have a former Prime Minister don’t-you-know, and all the contacts that go with that, right there in their company. They all win. The only losers are us. By this point, it’s all so far removed from democracy that we’re utterly irrelevant.

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to all of this. ‘This is the way it’s always been,’ they cry over their canapés.

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So it’s not even just about Jeremy Corbyn though, is it? It’s about what he represents. It’s about his desire for politics to embrace the grassroots, rather than coming from these corporate penthouses. And it’s also about his brand of socialism, for which there is an appetite not seen since 1945.

Corbyn has battered the Tories into several reversals in policy, on tax credits, on housing benefits cuts, on disability cuts, on police cuts, on the trade union bill, on academies, and on, and on. All this despite those Westminster elites undermining him, attacking him daily in the press.

Can you imagine what genuine social good could be achieved if the whole party was behind him? If they actually gave a shit about people like you and me, rather than what Board of Directors they get to sit on after parliament, or how big the trust fund for their kids might be.

But though the money never seems to truly trickle down, the sense of entitlement sure does. You can feel it in Labour party events and meetings. The old guard, who stood by war criminal Tony Blair, and scoffed at the hundreds of thousands of us who marched against him. I attended my Constituency Labour Party meeting recently and sat there in utter shock as one woman supporting Owen Smith angrily shouted, ‘We don’t want rallies!’ This sounds like a joke but I’m not making this up. It actually happened! I have witnesses! The punchline would have to be when dozens more “delegates” erupted into applause as us mere members sat stunned at the back of the room (the naughty area, I assume).

Consider this for a moment. Imagine possessing so much passion in opposition of mass mobilisation around your leader and, as a result, your party. What could be the rationale? What could be seen as threatening about this? What is it about this idea that Labour needs to be Blairite? That Tony Blair had got it right? Because that is an idea removed from reality. New Labour was supposed to be an “election-winning machine” yet it bloody hemorrhaged three million votes! So I ask Blairites: do you want to win elections? Do you really actually want that? And if so, is it on the condition that younger people come into your party, go to the back of the room, sit down, shut up, and just deliver fliers for you when you tell them to?

But, I tell them, if you truly wanted to win a general election, you’d get behind the leader the party members, overwhelmingly, chose. You’d join the momentum. You’d get behind the campaign. You’d fight for the true socialist Labour values that he represents, and that have been written on your membership card, if you’d taken the time to actually read it rather than take absolutely everything for granted for years.

So now, if Jeremy Corbyn again becomes Labour leader, and they again undermine him…they clearly want the Tories to win in 2020. It’s as simple as that.

I thought Gordon Brown was an improvement on Tony Blair, but who is he going to brag to about that? I still got chased by police for peacefully protesting the G20 when he was Prime Minister. But you know what? When the smoke had cleared and the dust had settled, I remained a Labour supporter. Just like I did when Ed Miliband was leader.

Abby Tomlinson, the leader of #Milifandom, like Ed, backed Owen Smith, suggesting rallies don’t win elections because, hey, newsflash: the Tories get into power without them!

Despite wisdom beyond her years, this view is an astonishingly naive one, shared by too many in Labour.

While it’s true the Tories don’t win with rallies, it is a fact they win on apathy. They rely on working class citizens staying at home. Corbyn’s rallies have mobilised people, made them excited again, and inspired people to once more believe in democracy and engage in the issues with family and friends – what Michael Moore, when referring to Bernie Sanders over in the States, refers to as the “dragging people to the polls” effect. It’s all so exciting that even Smith himself wants to attend the rallies to talk to Corbyn’s supporters, while Smith’s followers claim rallies are worthless. Confused? Understandably!

If the Labour party now chooses to disconnect itself even further from the communities it was set up to represent, if it feels justified in rigging a democratic process, again and again and again, until it can effectively serve a select few vested interests, and if it decides that it should not fight for democratic socialist values but instead be a “broad church” that is all things to all people – a ship never anchored in principles, left adrift in right-wing waters of murky vested interests – then it won’t have a soul left to be fought for; it will have already lost it. It will have accepted the media and its narrative as it is, when – as Francesca Martinez said – there’s no time left for that; it’s do or die. It’s the end of “The End of History.” It’s an opportunity to truly change things and, hey, as Gordon Brown might say, change the world.

There is one certainty: after this latest ill-intended and anti-democratic process, whatever the result, it will have repercussions on the political landscape felt for many years to come. Either the party elites will save Labour from themselves by ceding more power to democracy, or the politics of cynicism will win the day, casting adrift hundreds of thousands of social democrats who want change – and will seek other means to get it, leaving Labour without the biggest socialist membership in Europe it currently enjoys, but instead a base, and a position, almost every bit as pessimistic, miserable and introspective as the Tories.

Hundreds of thousands of us are involved in this struggle because it matters. I for one will remain active, be it in party politics or simply in politics generally.

Because, after all, politics is too important to be left to politicians.


Jeremy Corbyn Vs the British Army

This past spring’s British general election was pretty depressing stuff. After the Liberal Democrats sold out their principles to go into coalition with the Conservatives, aiding and abetting the Tories in their quest to exploit the bank bailout’s depletion of the Treasury in order to sell off the state, few of us believed there was anything left for Britain to vote for but a Labour Party that, under Ed Miliband, moved away from Blairism and offered the promise of a better, fairer society for the working class mass majority.

But the fact is, opinion polls were wrong – ‘shy’ Tories, so ashamed of their own failures to resist the smash-and-grab, everyone-for-themselves, rampant individualism of the Tories realising Thatcherite fantasies, had gone and done their dirty deed in the voting booth on election day. The aftermath was conveyed across social media as a revelation of ‘selfish Britain’ – a population so suckered in by the lie that there was no money left, that they grabbed what they could for themselves, even at the expense of the sick, the poor, the disabled, or anyone else.

Of course, as the infamous Question Time episode showed, some of those same people also realised that they themselves were not even safe – the Tories continued their assault on the population at large on behalf of the elite 1%, determined to kill off the concept of collectivism so wounded by Margaret Thatcher, dismantling the state in as many of its forms as possible to sell off to their rich friends, and that meant looking at tax credits, housing benefit, you name it, whether you were self-employed, hard-working, or not. Even the Big Lottery Fund itself was salivated over by Gideon Osborne as a way to raid funds to cover services he’d wiped out from state provision. The Tories did, however, back down from several of these. And they did it because of a Labour Party suddenly dedicated to standing up for people. How did this happen?

After the election result, before the dust had settled or the smoke had cleared, I was already determined to offer hope of a brighter future, but my look towards the horizon was clearly stifled by my glasses prescription being out of date, because I anticipated – and accepted – the prospect of Labour’s knee-jerk reaction to Ed Miliband’s defeat to take the party a little to the right, with someone more media-friendly than down-to-earth, lovable Ed, who – despite very cleverly attempting to reconcile the narratives of the psychotic tabloid media hysteria over welfare recipients and immigrants, with his commitment to social democracy (a tightrope act if there ever was one) – was of course constantly bombarded by filthy rich media interests concerned they’d have to be millionaires instead of billionaires.

I wrote about Chuka Umunna, expecting him to be the sort of suave, smooth-talking politico Labour needed to actually get into power and do some good. Tristram Hunt, again to the right of the party, at least appeared public relations-friendly and therefore capable of winning the election for Labour. There were others too, like tabloid-friendly ‘war hero’ Dan Jarvis, and human rights lawyer Keir Starmer (named after Keir Hardie!) How short-sighted was I? All of these bottled it, preferring to wait for a more opportune moment even if it was after another Labour defeat, and even undermined the party’s socialist values in several interviews. Bastards!

So the Labour leadership pool was reduced to Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham – predictable if unelectable candidates following their time as key figures behind Ed Miliband – and Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn.

Who?

I’d honestly never even heard of either of them. My heart sank. While Yvette Cooper was doomed to the sexism of politics as “Wife of Ed Balls” and Andy Burnham was a Thunderbird-like wooden stand-in for Ed Miliband, this mousy, Blairite Kendall lass was too right-wing, while old man Jeremy was too left-wing, surely?

Apparently not. After the MPs gave him a proverbial pity lay, Corbyn got enough nominations to get on the ballot – and the left-wing party members (myself included) elected him as leader by a landslide, receiving one of the biggest mandates of any Labour leader ever, a gift for party members who still bothered to read the statement on their membership cards.

Given all candidates were seemingly unelectable, I’d already resigned myself to believing that – whatever the result – Labour were doomed to fail again in 2020, but I’d always rather lose with my integrity intact than compromise and add insult to injury by losing anyway. Nonetheless, I knew what the corporate mainstream media – owned and operated by the elite and their own interests – were about to do: terrified by the prospect of a left-wing Labour narrative or, worse yet, victory, they set out to attack.

“Red” Ed Miliband threatened the nation’s greedy landlords sucking overpriced rents paid for through housing benefit subsidies, he took on the energy monopolies, and he even dared to challenge Rupert Murdoch, the tax-avoiding immigrant war-monger in full control of The Sun, The Times, and all of Sky. Naturally, they threw as much shit at him as possible, and although not much stuck, they successfully convinced the British public he wasn’t “statesmanlike” enough, at a time when people were saying they were sick of seeing the same posh arseholes in suits within the world of party politics.

So for Jeremy Corbyn – a man who endorsed an undiluted, less sugarcoated version of Ed’s “responsible capitalism” known as, you guessed it, socialismthe mass media had to mobilise and prepare their propaganda troops with all the ammunition they could gather. Socialism, where the state reflects our collective responsibility to look after each other through taxation, investment, job creation, and even a real living wage, absolutely sickens the elites who want to continue their transfer of public powers into private interests, with next to no state provision – everything owned by profit-making companies, and people left to slowly die if they happen to be poor. They want seven cars, not five; they want three houses, not one. And they’ll stop at nothing to make sure things stay as they are.

After the transfer of £1.5 trillion of public funds into the hands of private banks, they had the media seize the story that there was no money left (a lie), and that your libraries and hospitals had to be closed down and sold off, so if you want something – anything at all – you had to pay for it. Poor? Tough, just die. That’s their message.

So yes, Jeremy Corbyn sent shockwaves through the corridors of power.

The right-wing career politicians who slapped a red rosette on and grabbed themselves a nice safe seat in a Labour stronghold were suddenly genuinely concerned. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Lowly peasant scum like us weren’t supposed to choose our party leader, they were. They only got him on the ballot to offer an illusion of democracy, with a token lefty candidate.

Even the British army elites were so shaken by the prospect of a true democratic socialist in Downing Street – the first since Harold Wilson or possibly Clement Attlee – that they openly entertained the idea of a military coup to topple a democratically-elected socialist Prime Minister.

But the greatest army was that of the media stormtroopers – soldiers who can be counted on in times like these, like Andrew Marr, who’d happily nod in agreement while interviewing a Tory, but repeatedly try to get Jeremy Corbyn to admit he wanted to re-nationalise not only the railways but – gasp! – utilities too! Commie! (He failed, by the way, Jeremy never said anything of the sort, so the conversation switched to Karl Marx, as it does). But Corbyn’s such a diplomat, he just remained civil and stuck to the policies…which is what scared them even more, because if the public catch wind of his policies, then they’re truly in trouble. It’s absolutely crucial that the dialogue remains on, for example, his choice of tie, maybe his commie buddy in college, or whatever they can think of after rummaging through rubbish bins like scavengers and bottom-feeders; hacks for the Oxbridge elites.

Even Labour and left-wing types get drawn into defending him from all-out attack on trivialities and superficialities, sometimes even going so far as criticising him themselves – which is fine if it’s a “straight talking, honest politics” discussion on policy, but it isn’t. And that’s what the media are banking on (pun intended).

The media attempt to shift focus away from policy and on to subjects like, say, sex with Diane Abbott, ooh! Better yet, they can slam customs and traditions on him, like checking whether he sings the anthem or bows forward enough; rituals rather than actual integrity of action like honouring the fallen – which he does. All the while, avoiding another war to fan the flames of terror.

While discussing Syrian air strikes as part of the latest exhausting episode of British military overseas adventures, Laura Kuenssberg made sure to keep the Labour leader away from policy and attempt to shift hypothetical scenarios, repeatedly shouting at him to state whether he’d reject military action under any circumstances without him knowing what circumstances might be presented. If she could have got him to cite a scenario where, say, a foreign army was invading the British Isles, and he’d have our brave troops kick ’em off, then – yes! – she’s got him to admit that, far from being a peacenik, he’s for military action too, just like David Cameron, and the producer yelling in her earpiece can give her a pat on the back later on in the studio, and everything’s returned to its natural order of the powerful ruling over the vulnerable. Status quo. Despair. Terror. Accepting your lot in life (hey, it could be worse).

Of course, Corbyn’s such a diplomat who likes to sit down and discuss things, he’s welcomed his fellow Labour MPs having a free vote on bombing Syria, despite his opposition to Cameron’s proposals. Corbyn has been repeatedly referred to in the press as “left-wing Labour leader” while Cameron is never, ever called “right-wing Tory leader” (maybe because that sounds worse…and if so, why is that, I wonder?) In the final bad joke, the right-wing media, since they couldn’t fully portray him as a pacifist hippie as they’d hoped, even tried to blame military intervention on Corbyn himself for allowing such discussion, rather than on Cameron, who’d been sabre-rattling for weeks wanting bombs in the first place!

So, if this genuinely good guy actually gets to the general election, consider it a blow against the vested interests that control the information channels. And if he actually wins, it will be the end of them. Just remember that the next time you find yourself defending his style of suit to your mate in the pub over a pint. Policy is everything.