Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mr Corbyn's Victory & Defeat

I predicted Jeremy Corbyn to be a different type of politician, and he indeed turned out to be one. He stood steadfast, somewhat in defiance of public opinion, for what he believed in. His was a lonely stance though, as the career politicians that surround him squirmed and fretted to do what they do best - power play without regard to what their constituents want. So, in a little over two months after his landslide victory in Leadership elections, we see headlines of MPs revolting against his leadership. He may survive another week, may be another month - but it seems that the knives are already out for him.

I voted Labour in the last election, but did not sign up for its membership. I must admit I was tempted and spent time filling out a membership form, just after Mr Corbyn was elected (and a few times before that, as I wanted to vote for him) but decided against it - as, I wrote on this blog, I could not trust Labour to follow through. It is a party of Blairite career politicians, for whom winning an election and holding office is more important than anything else. They were unlikely to return to a politics of principle, as we see now.

One may say that Mr Corbyn is not a politician, but consider what he achieved in the few months he was the leader. George Osborne had to do an U-turn against his steadfast leadership of opposition and rallying of public opinion on the issue of Tax Credit cuts, perhaps the most significant opposition victory over a Majority government in many years. His leadership presented a platform for popular opinion to consolidate, and the working class movements to be rejuvenated in Britain. The very day his MPs went home conspiring a coup against his leadership, the Fire Brigade Union decided to return to Labour, hoping that this would be able to represent its voice again. 

It is also astounding what this revolt talk is about. Mr Cameron wants to bomb Syria. He is making an excuse of the attacks in Paris, but his intent is clear - he wants to be on the table with Americans, Russians and the French when time comes to divide the spoils in Syria eventually. There is no way the British bombing would hit ISIL, as it would melt away in the midst of a civilian population, and the bombing would either be tokenism or kill a few civilians. The Blairite MPs who are trying to break the Labour ranks and support the Government move have no shame - the unfortunate war on terror that the likes of them inflicted on Middle East and the world has impacted the security situation in the first place. The point missed - that the battle really is against poverty and deprivation in our midst, rather than in bombing civilians in Raqqa - is a serious one, and bombing Syria, instead of investing in communities in Britain, is precisely the wrong way to go.

One should not undermine Mr Corbyn and his long political struggles, and think that he would be a pushover. The career politicians, the proto-tories inside Labour, may try but they are in serious breach of trust of those who vote for them, and indeed, ultimately, this politics of people may overwhelm their tendency to indulge in backroom wheeling-dealing (one hoped they learned the lesson in September, but it seems they are used to their politics of fooling all the people all the time). However, in the end, the Parliamentary politics may still push the politics of principle aside - and return to its day of politics as usual. This - if it comes - would be the ultimate victory for Mr Corbyn, as it would expose the bankruptcy of Labour politics once and for all.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
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- T S Eliot

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