I know that the Labour Party election now feels like something that is taking place in a foreign country but it would be a self-indulgent mistake not to care about its outcome. The SNP won the election in Scotland but the Left, of which we are part, lost in Britain. Those of us who are poor and ill are going to have to pay because Labour in England failed to engage with people, to organise, to canvas and to get the vote out.
There is a chance now to pull the Labour party back from disaster because it has created, by mistake, a mechanism for ordinary people to have a say.
This opportunity thrills me. As a pluralistic kind of animal (although I have views on cats and certain birds of prey) I want to see the party strong again. At the very least, it has to be able to be a competent opposition in Scotland to keep the SNP honest and that is something it is very far from being.
Anyone with £3 can vote for the Labour leader. They hate the unions so much that they are prepared to let anyone who wants to to vote. Honestly. Even the Tories. Even a vole who has borrowed £3 from the farm kitchen table can chip in. The only requirement needed (apart from the cash) is to be prepared to sign the following statement on this website.
“I agree that the Labour Party and its elected representatives may contact me using the data supplied. I support the aims and values of the Labour Party, and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it.’
They are giving their enemies a colossal opportunity to destroy the party for ever. Nutters on the right with no ethics are joining up on mass to promote Jeremy Corbyn #toriesforcorby because they think it will finish off Labour in the South of England for a generation. Perhaps it will.
But lets be clear, Labour has now abandoned the rest of Britain by chasing the swing votes in a handful of places to get it the minimum support necessary to scrape a majority amongst, not against, the rich in Surry and Hampshire. It does this by supporting the horror of ‘austerity’ and offers ordinary people, low income, struggling with housing, ill health and so on, exactly nothing apart from food banks and soup kitchens.
So perhaps the right wing is showing us what to do. If they can organise to vote for Corbyn to try to wreck the party, the left can organise ourselves to try to salvage something from it. Ironically, an alliance between the wreckers of the right on one side and the left wing may save the Labour party for the people it was founded to care about. I wonder what Tony B thinks.
The Labour establishment believes that poor old Milliband went too far to the left, honest!! To the left. It ignores the fact that they gave people like us nothing to vote for, no hope that it would ameliorate our lot in any way, just that our grinding down would continue and that even more of our money and our assets would be taken and give to the rich. Where it did have progressive policies it was almost too embarrassed to say them out loud.
Let us be very clear. Labour did not lose because it went too far to the right, it lost because it has become meaningless, its leaders’ empty faces and empty words inspired no one. When they did oppose zero hours contracts they did it in such a jargon that no one could understand what they are saying.
The Labour remnant is now so directionless that some activists are even suggesting merging with the LibDems, the party for people who hate politics and perhaps the only one that is even less credible and more demoralised than them.
If they do, they will share the fate it experienced after WW1 when they disappeared in one generation. They almost recovered under Kennedy by becoming a non-Labour party of the left, but Clegg and Carmichael et al. scuppered that for good by joining Cameron, something for which there is no forgiveness.
In Scotland, we have a party that fills the gap that Labour left on the left, the SNP. In England, Corbyn offers the last chance for the left to organise and take control of its own party. If he fails in his election bid, then there is no choice but to create a new party in England, a new democratic party not afraid of organised trade unions or threatening the vested interests of middle England. We have to have a strong party of the Left for us to be able to work together across the four countries of the UK to ensure that social justice is reclaimed and ordinary people have some hope.
This is the last chance for Labour.
If you care £3 about the future of ordinary people in England and have not signed up for the SNP, pay up, vote Corbyn.