Today was an unusual day in British politics, which I would never have foreseen six months ago.
The Labour Party voted in a left wing leader for the first time in 20 years, which is notable for a party which is meant to be the mainstream left wing alternative to the Conservative Party, but has actually been more like the slower, stealthier form of the same animal for many years now. Not only that but Jeremy Corbyn, the leader in question, was voted in by a sizeable majority way ahead of the other contenders, by his party members and supporters, but not by his fellow Labour MPs by and large. That is an interesting split, which also shows a high degree of participation by an interested public, and a disconnect between them and the people in parliament.
I don’t yet know if I would agree with all of Corbyn’s policies and opinions (quite unlikely I imagine), I am liberal but am at the same time profoundly wearied by leftism. But an alternative to the herd lurch to accommodate “austerity”, to the destruction of socialized medicine, to the economic cleansing of our cities, to the killing off of effective social housing, to the sold off degradation of public services, to the hounding of the disabled and sick? Yeah, fergodsake do it.
It’s as if the last twenty years has been a process of reconditioning the ideological slash and burn of Thatcherism into a photogenic, bland form for all parties to aspire to. Never mind that it made no sense and didn’t work, and was not in any sense even vaguely “conservative”. It was “our way, or electoral oblivion” seemingly. I think some people must now be asking themselves, what use is pragmatism, when the price includes your very goals themselves?
Whether this makes any real difference, and whether The Labour Party with an anti-austerity platform is electable, I have to admit it feels good to have the possibility of an opposition that actually opposes on principle, with different ideas and strategies. I don’t like our electoral system, where your vote so often counts for nothing in terms of being counted as an expressed opinion and choice (not a system that makes people feel their wills count, or that they need take responsibility for their choices), but to have the main opposition party form an actual opposition in terms of policies that affect people, well it’s healthy. Healthier than it’s looked in a long time.
The bland, photogenic Borg didn’t get away with it this time, and a little bit of the advertising executive, smooth political soul seemed to falter and shrink. Fuck yeah.
This wasn’t meant to ever happen again.
That’s a good sort of interesting.