|A Victoria Derbyshire, yesterday|
I've liked Jeremy Corbyn ever since he stood as leader of the Labour Party when Ed Milliband resigned. I hadn't heard of him before then - to tell the truth, although I broadly agreed with Labour values and principles, I wasn't what you might call a Labour supporter. Truth be told, I hadn't seen the Labour party live up to it's espoused values enough for me to consider becoming a member. I'm still not a member, but I'm seriously considering it.
I'm generally not a fan of politicians. I'm a natural cynic, and the fact that we've had things like the expenses scandals recently don't help. My position has pretty much been that politics has been about words and image, with not a lot of action. Tony Blair, with his legions of all-powerful spin doctors, was kind've the epitome of this. There wasn't a lot of democracy involved, he did some good things, some stupid things, and some amazingly short-sighted and probably criminal things (yeah, you know what I'm talking about...). But overall? Tory-lite. Leave things to the Markets.
The range of political discourse in the UK has become incredibly narrow. The media mostly tolerates a range of politics that runs from right to slightly-less-right. The so-called left wing of politics has shifted - it's now basically what would have been called centre-right a couple of decades ago. Personally, I feel that this is one of the big reasons why there is much less political engagement these days.
When people (and I'm talking in general here) look at political parties, the first thing they look at it is it's size. Is it a major party? Is it likely to win? If it passes this test, that's when Joe Public will consider voting for it. If they're not likely to win, then why bother voting? I don't agree with this view, but it's the view of the majority. For the UK, this really means that most votes will be for either Labour or the Conservatives. Sad to say, it doesn't matter if the Green party (as an example) represents a person's political beliefs better - people generally won't vote for a party that they don't think will win.
Since Thatcher, there's been a consensus in UK politics that The Markets should be heavily involved in the supply of public services. Companies can run things more efficiently than local authorities. Now, to me, anyone with a working brain cell should be able to see that efficiency is down to culture and systems, not whther something is privatised or not, but I guess the media that perpetuates this myth are lacking in the brain cell department. Or, less flippantly, they find it in their interests to NOT challenge the assumption.
As a quick example, how many times have you heard the phrase "wealth creators" used in the media to describe company owners, CEOs etc? It's bullshit. They don't create wealth. They just concentrate it around some of the people who work for them, particularly those who are higher up in the management structure of the company. There's a finite amount of wealth around.
So that's a whole rabbit-hole of a topic in itself, which I don't want to get bogged down in for now. But it hopefully shows a little of how the political consensus has shifted to the right over the years, which is why - in my opinion - a lot of people in the UK feel unrepresented by political parties. Out of the political parties that could possibly win an election, who represents you if you lean to what used to be the left?
So in 2015, into this very right-wing arena of politics, comes Jeremy Corbin. As someone who appears to have consistently stuck to a certain set of very left wing principles throughout his career, he immediately stood out. Where people were disillusioned with politicans in general due to things like the expenses scandals, or the fact that the Labour party had shifted too far to the right to represent them, here comes a person who couldn't be put into the categories of Self-Interested Careerist or Red Tory/Tory Lite. And, with the possibilty or a candidate who would represent their political beliefs, Jeremy Corbin won in a landslide. People who weren't interested in politics decided to register as Labour Party members simply to vote for him.
I'm one of them, in a sense. I haven't joined the Labour Party yet, but I've considered it. What's stopping me is what's happened since Jeremy Corbin got elected as leader.
As this post is looking like a rough draft for War & Peace 2 right now, without the benefit of having been written by someone who can actually, y'know, write, here's the short version.
- There's been a shitload of negative press about him since his election.
- A load of his MPs resign, in a suspiciously choreographed way.
- Something something Angela Eagle (look, I don't know and there's no fucking way it was serious, whatever it was)
- There's a leadership challenge, with Owen Smith standing against him.
And that potted summary brings us to where we are now. And seeing as it's now getting late and I'm hungry, I'm going to continue this tomorrow or something - I'll update this post with a link or something to part 2. Or maybe I'll just edit it. I don't know. I'm not your bitch :P
Update - 17.09.16
Here's the second bit.