Does Jeremy Corbyn Have A Strategy?

20 Jul

In my last post I pointed out that Jeremy Corbyn does have leadership qualities, contrary to what most of the right within the Labour Party has claimed since the coup attempt started to roll out.  And I then said that what his detractors mean by accusations of a lack of leadership qualities is actually that he doesn’t ‘play tactics’.

To put it another way, he doesn’t ‘play the game’.

He doesn’t hide what he believes out of fear of what the mainstream media will say about it.  He doesn’t abstain on benefit cuts and then justify himself by quoting arcane and misleading subtleties of parliamentary procedure, for instance.  He doesn’t attempt to ‘take the centre ground’ by competing with the Tories to blame immigrants, the unemployed, the working-class and the poor for their situation.  He doesn’t dig dirt on his opponents, even when they are mired in dirt.  He doesn’t act like it’s tactically sound to jeopardise the future of humanity with nuclear missiles, and then claim that it’s all about jobs.  He doesn’t shrink from addressing guilt over the wars and devastation that have resulted from other politicians within the Labour Party playing tactics.

For the Right in the Labour Party – and for those who have swallowed their arguments – these qualities translates into a lack of capacity to ‘win’.  That’s what they call ‘electability’, which to them is interchangeable with ‘leadership’.  Because these qualities are also ones that most people would find morally admirable (even if they disagree with them) the sole criticism that appears to realistically unite them is that this makes Jeremy Corbyn ‘nice’.

Apparently, for those working to change leader, it’s just not nice to be nice.  Or, to put it in the way that you’d put it if you were a venal Evening Standard journalist who doesn’t think Tony Blair was a war criminal and thinks her own daughter’s common decency deserves to be ridiculed in a London-wide newspaper, principles are no good without power.

But here’s the strategic irony.  Power is only the capacity to act.  If you have already sacrificed what you wanted to act for then you have not actually achieved power – you have only achieved position.  

You might get the job – but you’ll never be the boss.

This is an inconvenient point for the Right within the Labour Party, especially those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of position under the false impression that they were pursuing power.

That would be, for instance, most MPs who were willing to follow the New Labour line over the Iraq War.  That would be those who spent the 1980s hammering the left at every opportunity instead of doing effective opposition – and then taught their kids to do the same.  That would be those who built, and bought, the astonishing lie that it was an advertising-led political makeover that won the 1997 election.

So, what is Corbyn’s strategy for power?

It’s so simple it’s incredible – and so simple the Right cannot understand it.  The strategy is you and me, the common people, and our moral outrage that mere parliamentarians, elected to be our servants, have sought to exclude us from deciding who represents us. When Neil Kinnock spoke to the Parliamentary Labour Party to urge kicking Corbyn out, he talked about the Labour Party constitution of 1906 as a great thing – but didn’t mention that it was Labour MPs who decided in 1906 to stop being a Committee to represent the people, and to start being a political party just like the others.  After a century, the tide has turned, and Corbyn is enough of a strategist to ride it.

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “Does Jeremy Corbyn Have A Strategy?”

  1. themusicologist September 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    excellent critique of neuLabour and the pursuit of ‘power’ [at the expense of principals.] thank you

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