I have shared a platform at anti-war and pro-Palestinian events with Jeremy Corbyn on dozens of occasions over ten years. We have also worked together where Jeremy has been extremely helpful asking parliamentary questions on matters including Britain’s stance on Palestine at the UN, and the Liam Fox/Adam Werritty/Matthew Gould relationship. I would not call him exactly a friend because we have never spent purely social time together. But he is certainly someone for whom I have the highest personal regard.
I am delighted that he is going to run for the Labour leadership and give voters a real alternative, compared to the minute differences between the neo-con puppet candidates. I shall be most pleased if this, like Nicola Sturgeon in the general election, gives a chance for anti-Trident and anti-austerity arguments actually to be heard in the corporate media.
But I fear this won’t happen. The BBC have been deluging the airwaves with the right wing identikit candidates, not only in items relating to the Labour leadership election, but inviting them on to any conceivable programme to blether on any topic. I am willing to bet a large sum the same media access is not granted to Jeremy Corbyn. If you don’t say “aspirational”, you don’t get on.
The media dismiss any argument outwith the bounds of their narrow, manufactured corporate consensus as marginal and irrelevant. For example, never mind the fact that a clear majority in the UK has for years supported renationalisation of the railways. The very fact of its popular support makes it imperative to the BBC and other corporate media that it must not be voiced. Jeremy is very likely to voice it. Watch as he is carefully marginalised, patronised and excluded.
The difficulty which the corporate media and political classes have is that we in the SNP have just driven a coach and horses through the argument that the radical case for social justice is marginal and has no popular support. The Labour membership, outside the London millionaires and focus group organisers, can see this too. The problem is that party is riven between Blairites, who only ever joined for personal career and position and don’t believe in anything except a vague attachment to Thatcherism, and actual believers in social progress, who have spent years in pathetic befuddlement wondering what happened to their party.
The idea that Andy Burnham – who privatised the English NHS at a much faster rate than the Tories – is in any sense at all a left wing candidate is utterly risible. It is typical of non-free “democratic” systems that they give electorates a pretend alternative, just as Ed Balls was no different to George Osborne. Sounding marginally more northern does not make you more left wing, and Burnham isn’t. He has just won the prize for the most obsequious arse-licking of Prince Charles, beating even the egregious Tony Blair. Anybody who signs a letter “I remain, Your Royal Highness, Your most humble and obedient servant” should not just be debarred from politics, but should be sniggered at by everybody they encounter for the rest of their life.
I am afraid I expect that enough Labour Party members are Thatcherites anyway, or open to persuasion by the media that Jeremy stands outside “respectable” opinion, that he will not be able to mount a serious challenge. And I am afraid we won’t see much of his views on wasting public money on weapons of mass destruction given air time. But fair play to him for running, and I sincerely hope I am wrong.
My personal political priority remains to achieve Scottish independence as I believe only the break-up of the UK can change its rotten corporate controlled political system. The kaleidoscope needs a kick, not a shake. To achieve that, I am committed to support of the SNP. But the lack of any credible or worthwhile opposition in Scottish politics is deeply worrying. I would welcome the kind of Labour Party that Corbyn would lead as a healthy democratic development. Sadly I don’t expect it.