Monday 26 September 2022

Labour In Vain

Oh, well, there goes Islington North for the Labour Party. Who, precisely, is it going to field there who might conceivably defeat Jeremy Corbyn? Even if he did not stand, then Labour would still lose the seat to whoever, because of its treatment of him. He is also the only candidate, including Sadiq Khan, who would be guaranteed to beat Boris Johnson for Mayor of London.

What a congress of the living dead is the Labour Party Conference, at least in the hall. As the Fringe long ago became the point of the Edinburgh Festival, so The World Transformed is now the only reason why the Conference itself is still held. Anyone turning up to the official event just has a weird hobby. Attending these things is expensive, and Labour Party membership itself is not cheap. These are people who have taken annual paid leave from good jobs, or who have given a week of their comfortable retirements, for what, exactly? What does being active on the Labour Right bring anyone anymore?

That faction used to be unique in that, by almost or almost always controlling the great majority of the most populous municipalities in England and Wales, plus the Welsh Parliament, it had an independent fiscal base, and that was putting matters politely.

It controlled Council Tax, business rates, pension schemes looking to invest, sweeteners and backhanders from property developers and others, the allocation of jobs with the council, the allocation of better council housing, and the allocation of any council housing. But under Keir Starmer, the local election results have been catastrophic for Labour. Citadels have fallen as if under nuclear attack. So why is anyone still bothering to be a right-wing Labourite?

As for idea that Starmer might renationalise the railways, or that he and, of all people, Rachel Reeves might restore the 45p tax band, no one is stupid enough to fall for that. Louise Haigh is said to have fought hard for the rail policy. Keep saying that until it quite sinks in. To make rail renationalisation the policy of the Labour Party, then she had to fight hard. As much as anything else, against whom, specifically? We could all have a very good guess. But let's have some names.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.