Saturday, 30 July 2016

A Refreshing Approach

Referring to his excellent interview with Jeremy Corbyn, Peter Oborne writes:

The attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn seems destined to fail.

Indeed, it looks as if he will entrench his position as Labour leader and score an even more decisive victory in the forthcoming leadership election than he did last year when he won by a landslide with 59 per cent of the votes.

This will pose a dichotomy for his enemies in the parliamentary party.

They will have no mandate to challenge the result. Equally, after such disloyalty, surely they won’t be able to pledge support for Corbyn?

But if Labour MPs refuse to serve him, they will plunge the party into the gravest crisis in its history, dwarfing even the historic split of 1931 when Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour broke in two over austerity cuts.

In all likelihood, the Labour Party as we know it will not survive if that happens.

For his part, I believe Corbyn should rise to the challenge by being more radical and incisive in his attacks on the Tory government.

I mentioned this to him when I met him this week — urging him to be more clinical in his critique of its foreign policies.

He agreed that the dismissal of Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary (who embarrassingly opposed him over intervention in the Syrian civil war) would allow him more freedom to speak up for Palestinian rights.

Corbyn told me that he plans to ask searching questions about the Government’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

He will also support families of British military victims of the Iraq war if they mount a private prosecution against Tony Blair and others.

This is a refreshing approach, because for far too long there has been an unspoken consensus over foreign policy between the two main parties (i.e. pro-EU, pro-meddling in the Middle East), which, I believe, has been profoundly damaging to Britain.

By the way, ignore Oborne's crowd-pleasing nonsense about the historic significance of Nigel Farage, of all people.

But consider that that of Roy Jenkins was thought to be his economic and not his social policy record until decades after the Swinging Sixties, when newspapers such as that for which Oborne now writes decided to pretend that both they and their party had opposed the Permissive Society.

In fact, at least where abortion and divorce were concerned, hardly any MPs of any party had turned up to vote on the Bills in question.

They had certainly not been officially opposed by the Official Opposition, and they were barely covered in anything other than the weekly Catholic newspapers that were and are distributed, almost exclusively on church premises, to hardly anyone.

Catholics, however continued to vote Labour overwhelmingly, as they still do. And why not? What cause has the other lot ever given them to defect?

By no one much else were these changes even considered news at the time, and scarcely anyone in Parliament thought them worth turning up to vote on, whether for or against.

They formed no part of Jenkins's own reputation until long after the events. In fact, he very nearly won a largely Catholic seat in 1981, he did win one in 1982, he retained it in 1983, and he nearly retained it again in 1987.

Think on.

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