Labour leadership: continuing Blair’s poisonous legacy

The leadership election seems certain to take Labour even further to the right. Mitch Mitchell doesn’t try to hide his contempt for the whole process. 

Labour leadership contenders

As I write this, those candidates who have declared themselves as “runners” for the leadership vacancy in the Labour Party are desperately trying to obtain the necessary nominations of at least 35 MPs in order to take their campaigns forward and get onto the ballot sheet.

Given that there are 232 Labour MPs in this parliament it means that, inevitably, at least one of the nominees will fall by the wayside at the first hurdle.

Almost certainly, one of the fallers will be Jeremy Corbyn, the candidate of the left of the party. At the last leadership battle, the left candidate was Diane Abbott, who only got there because John McDonnell, also from the left, withdrew and donated his nominations to her. Even then, she needed the endorsement of one of the Miliband brothers to “cross the line”.

Unless a few of the more centrist MPs get an attack of conscience and support Corbyn in order to have a broader spectrum for the party as a whole to choose from, it is unlikely that there will be enough on the left to push his candidacy over the magic 35 line.

However, it must be said that whoever wins ultimately will not be able to carry out what socialists would call socialism within the party. When Tony Blair began the New Labour project, one of his first moves was to ditch Clause 4 of the Labour constitution. He appealed broadly to “middle England” (whatever that is) and tried hard to appease Daily Mail readers.

Blair adopted the policy of “triangulation”. This was first conceived by Bill Clinton in America, and broadly means stealing and adapting your right wing opponents’ ideas and presenting them as your own. Miliband tried this at the last election by trying to outdo UKIP with regard to immigration instead of standing up and denouncing that party as a rag-bag of ex-Nazis, crypto fascists, bigots and racists.

When Labour was elected in 1997, Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, announced he would stick to Tory spending limits and his successor as Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls said similar this time around. Instead of fully opposing the austerity measures taken by the Coalition, Miliband’s Labour proposed something which would be “austerity-lite”.

The result was, as we know, almost total wipeout in Scotland, where the SNP took on and opposed Tory cuts, and diminished support in traditionally Labour supporting areas in the North of England and parts of Wales.

It must also be remembered that Blair took this country to war more times than any other prime minister previously. He ignored the opinions of opponents of the Iraq war and tacked the UK onto the coat tails of the USA by a mixture of lies and half truths.

Here, I must set out my stall. I am a revolutionary socialist. I am not a theoretical revolutionary; I believe in getting out onto the streets and taking direct action. My hero has always been Rosa Luxemburg and, as Paul Foot once said, voting will make no difference to the status quo. We cannot vote for those who hold real power – the top civil servants, judges, police chiefs or those who run the Special Branch or MI5.

Whilst we as a nation maintain the “Ruritanian” royal family, there will always be a subservient establishment who will go to any length to maintain their power, position and privilege.

Therefore, whoever wins the Labour leadership will make little or no difference to my life, even if a miracle were to happen and Corbyn was appointed.

We need a revolution to change things.

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