Sunday, 3 April 2016

Right All Along

It is a searing indictment of the Conservative Party, effectively as such and forever, since, like UKIP, that party has no concept of itself as defined or definable in any terms other than those which Hitchens denounces.

That is just what the British Right is. 1979 is its Year Zero, the 1980s its unquestionable Golden Age, Margaret Thatcher its deity.

Hitchens is effectively calling for the Right to cease to exist in Britain, such is the damage that it has done.

And it has been doing that damage continuously since 1979.

The devastating critique of Thatcherism is at least as significantly a devastating critique of the New Labour project that Jeremy Corbyn's embittered enemies are seeking to prolong or revive.

However few votes, within the electorate at large, Corbyn secured in order to become the Leader of the Labour Party, he managed one and a half times as many as the other three candidates put together.

How well does anyone seriously imagine that Labour would now be doing, under any of those three?

It would have had no response to the contrived collapse of the British steel industry, since the fundamental principle of New Labour was a total acceptance of Thatcherism, not even constrained by atavistic Toryism, as inevitable and even beneficial.

Nor would it have been able to oppose the Government's proposed theft of vast capital assets from the public by means of the forced academisation of schools.

Hating local government and the trade unions, that was what Tony Blair always wanted to do: turn all schools into academies, by force.

The roots of all of this were in New Labour's origins in Gramsci (for all that he would never have intended it to turn out like this), in post-Fordism, in the Marxism Today for which Blair wrote, and so on.

Of course, none of those had the first thing to do with the British Labour Movement.

Post-Fordism was remarkable in that it brought into existence that which it had described, quite inaccurately, as already existent.

By cutting the intellectual ground from under those who might have defended post-War British social democracy, not least because the London media always assume Marxists to be the intellectual voices of the Left, it turned Britain into the economy and society that it had initially described.

But that had not been the case at the time. Still, once it had become so, then the claim could be made to have been right all along.

This all coalesced with the absurdly disproportionate influence of that tiny section of Trotskyism which, unable to think outside internal Bolshevik disputes, identified public ownership, municipal services, and at least conventional trade union activity as "Stalinist" in both the technical and the colloquial senses of the word.

Well, they do not look very Stalinist now.

1 comment:

  1. No one else in the media wishes British Leyland still existed. Hitchens is more left-wing than any other columnist on any paper apart from the Morning Star.