Thursday, 5 January 2012

A National Party Over Here

The staggeringly mendacious coverage of Maurice Glasman's New Statesman article leaves no remaining room for doubt that the media are planning a coup against the Leader who has taken Labour to a poll lead most of the time and to five consecutive by-election wins, all with comfortable swings against the Conservatives, on the basis of openness to working-class, rural, provincial, patriotic, socially conservative and other profoundly unfashionable concerns bound up with the utterly non-Marxist roots of the real Labour tradition: trade union, co-operative and mutual, Radical Liberal, Tory populist, Christian Socialist, Social Catholic and Distributist, and so on.

Maurice is treated like this, and even he does not have a regular spot anywhere. Nor can any room be found for Stewart Wood, Stuart White, Marc Stears, Jonathan Rutherford, Jon Cruddas, Allegra Stratton, Rowenna Davis, Carole Stone, Duncan Weldon, Paul Bickley, Neil Jameson, Blair McDougall, Luke Bretherton, Jonathan Cox, Jon Wilson, Anthony Painter, Patrick Diamond, and many more besides. For Dan Hodges, as nothing more than a two-fingered salute directed at the New Statesman. But not for any of those. Neil Clark articulates the concerns of Mail and Telegraph readers about the railways or about cuts to library services, for example. But his only regular outlet for doing so is the Morning Star.

The traditional Catholic Labourism of Martin Meenagh, Ann Farmer, Paul Priest or the blogger under the name of Red Maria is excluded both from the left-wing media and from the Catholic media, since in this country the only people permitted to present themselves as orthodox Catholics are those who, after the manner of Rick Santorum, have mistaken neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy for the Faith. The task of certifying the same has been arrogated by and to a man of that mind with domestic and recreational arrangements no less far removed from those which one might expect.

The provincial, rural, protectionist, church-based, conservative, monarchist, pro-Commonwealth, mind-our-own-business opponents of European federalism, American hegemony and kowtowing to Israel ought to have withdrawn from the Conservative Party when the metropolitan, urban, capitalist, secular, libertarian, “republican”, anti-Commonwealth, make-the-world-anew supporters of European federalism, American hegemony and kowtowing to Israel removed Iain Duncan Smith for having taken his party to parity and beyond in the opinion polls, for having made it the largest party in local government, and for having threatened to turn the 2005 General Election into a proper contest.

If Rupert Murdoch and the BBC repeat that trick against Ed Miliband, then that same mistake must not be made by Maurice Glasman, Stewart Wood, Stuart White, Marc Stears, Jonathan Rutherford, Jon Cruddas, Allegra Stratton, Rowenna Davis, Carole Stone, Duncan Weldon, Paul Bickley, Neil Jameson, Blair McDougall, Luke Bretherton, Jonathan Cox, Jon Wilson, Anthony Painter, Patrick Diamond, Neil Clark, Martin Meenagh, Ann Farmer, Paul Priest or the blogger under the name of Red Maria, among many, many, many others. There is a world elsewhere.

A world which, and this is the only thing that I am going to say on the subject, might very well include the parliamentary seat of, or in succession to, Hackney North & Stoke Newington. Eschewing crass remarks about race while nevertheless upholding within the Labour tradition the sympathy of the present MP for the 11-plus, for single-sex schools, for Oxbridge as academically elitist, for universities’ flexible approach to entry grades if they see potential in the applicant, for the prevention of social rather than academic elitism by improving the schools attended by the poor, for raising poor pupils’ aspirations so that they actually apply to the top universities, and for reinstating full grants so that they can afford to go.

Together with her consistent opposition to European federalism, her role as a voice of her ethnic community on immigration by people who cannot speak English or who come from countries with no historic ties to Britain (one does not need to be an Afro-Caribbean to do this, especially while representing an area with a large Afro-Caribbean population), her support for action against such things as not giving up seats to elderly people on public transport, her resistance to the New Labour assault on civil liberties, and her denunciation of the takeover of mainstream culture by pornography.

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