On news of the death of Fidel Castro, Jeremy Corbyn called the dead dictator a “champion of social justice” who had a huge impact on socialism. What is going on in the Labour party? Is Corbyn some naff student politician who lacks any grasp on reality in praising a brutal oppressor whose “reign was characterised by a ruthless suppression of freedom of expression”, according to human rights champions Amnesty International who have not been allowed into Cuba since 1990. The Labour party indeed seems to look to Latin America for inspiration today. Whilst many have moved on from the black and white views of the Cold War, many Labour members see themselves as comrades at the foot of their great leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Great” being highly questionable even in jest with the Conservatives currently leading by 16 points in the polls.
I despair at yet another event that has reaffirmed my lack of confidence in the Labour party at opposing the highly unaccountable manner in which Downing Street is conducting the biggest constitutional change of our lifetimes, never mind the pathetic way in which Corbyn whispered “Remain” during the EU campaign for fear of losing respect of his marxist comrades. Whilst his supporters portray him as a man of the people, the people most enthused by his leadership are the middle-class with romantic views of socialism, paternalistic views of poverty and protectionist views on public-sector cuts. The working-class don’t share much of this romantic view of socialism that one attains at university, nor do they appreciate the way in which the leader conducts himself or dresses (only a privileged person can get away with dressing shabbily – what are “wavey garms” in Leeds make you a “chav” in a council estate).
In the midst of the loss of the Labour party to an outspoken fringe is the potential threat of losing one of Labour’s great assets – Hilary Benn. Benn’s barnstorming speech on Syria demonstrated the political and charismatic leadership Labour is greatly lacking under Corbyn. The reason for my decision to write on Labour has been inspired by the recent threat of deselection that Benn faces. Despite this, and the (supposed) insults of “Blairite” and the repulsive speculation on how Benn’s father would view his son’s political stances, Hilary Benn shows his political bravery. Rather than deselecting Hilary Benn, Labour members should be making him their leader in Parliament. I couldn’t imagine a better person to deliver a real opposition to the government and bring Labour back to a winnable position.
The current Labour party spells disaster for British democracy and for the working-classes. We have no real opposition in the House of Commons with the lacklustre leadership of Corbyn that indulges in fanciful middle-class socialism. The overall result of this is a growth in power of the government with their plans of an unaccountable Brexit, greater surveillance and most worrying of all is their planned gerrymandering of constituencies. Meanwhile, Labour members distract themselves with the deselection of one of Labour’s biggest assets.
(Image courtesy of the New Statesman)