The Labour Party need to reinstate Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution in order to bind members to a common purpose and understanding of what Socialism actually represents to the Labour Party. At the moment we have a situation of chaos where each member seems to have a different interpretation of socialism there seems to be a lack of common understanding. The very meaning and understanding of socialism is open to interpretation in today’s Labour Party. This is an ill advised system in my opinion. In the past members knew instinctively where the Labour Party’s values were and they knew what was meant when referring to socialism. After Blair this all changed and there is now mass confusion and this is reflected in the mass confusion regarding the overall direction of the Party. The idea that socialism is an system of economic principles and values has seemingly been rather too conveniently forgotten about, and when many members refer to socialism they are simply referring to notions of fairness relative to the other political parties. Simply being nice and fair and listening to the opinions of others is not socialism. It should not be forgotten that socialism is actually a set of economic principles designed to bring about a greater distribution of wealth in an economic system and is something that challenges the notions of Adam Smith’s ideas regarding Capitalism. Socialism counters the greed of a purely Capitalist System of Economics and it gives people a stake in society through the benefits of the State owning some part of the economic system in order to obtain capital for the investment for the good of all the country’s citizens. In particular the key industries it targets are those that are essential for the running of the country such as Energy Supply and Transport. These are the key industries which socialism targets to generate capital for re-investment in the country’s health provision (NHS), to reduce the burden of taxation on the individual and to support local essential services, police and council provisions etc.
I do not wish to be too negative here but this election has probably come when the Labour Party are the worst prepared than they have ever been for a General Election Battle. Theresa May knows this well and has seized upon this as the moment to pounce. However this is not a reflection of Mr Corbyn’s leadership it is simply that the Labour Party is itself in turmoil. Corbyn although appearing strong has failed so far to take ownership of the Party or to steer it in the direction that the membership want. He has failed so far to live up to his left wing promise and is struggling to appease both the growing left and diminishing right in his Party. The Labour Party is struggling with an Identity Crisis and amidst this we now have a General Election to fight. However there may yet be a twist in the story and the election of Trump in the USA is a reminder that there are no certainties. Corbyn could still claim a victory of sorts if he diminishes Theresa May’s majority in the House of Commons and/or if he wins back the Scottish Labour Vote: so even in defeat he could theoretically win something in this battle. Would this be enough to help him retain leadership of the Labour Party well this remains to be seen and in any case who could really follow him?
In the May 2015 General Election the Tories exploited the Scottish People’s desire to get independence for Scotland. In truth Cameron was dependent upon the hope that people would vote for the SNP as a protest vote or at least to split the vote and divide what were traditional loyalties of the Scottish People towards the Labour Movement. There is some truth though that Miliband offered nothing more that a wet version of the Labour Party during this period but this is only a small part of the equation. Alex Salmond in his quest to become ‘King of Scotland’ simply took his eye off the ball and failed to grasp that he was nothing more than a Tory Puppet being used to undermine Labour’s overall position in Scotland.
The 2017 General Election is not a vote for Devolution for Scotland: it’s about which political party governs the United Kingdom in the meantime
In truth the Labour Party need to do better in Scotland and the only way they can do is to give the Scottish people what they want: which is a referendum on Scottish Independence. This is to avoid this General Election in 2017 simply becoming an opportunity to get this referendum regarding their independence and a vote simply about regional politics/issues or devolution. The SNP are in reality a single issue Party so the Labour Party need to blunt Sturgeon’s sword and steal the rug from under her and her Party by offering the Scottish people the very thing and only thing that the SNP can really offer. Once this is done and promised by Labour in a Manifesto Pledge then Scotland can get to grips with the real political issues that face not only Scotland but the whole of the United Kingdom.
If this can be achieved by Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party then if there were to be a swing back to Labour in Scotland then even if Labour were to loose the General Election it may still be possible to increase Labour’s seats and thus reduce the Conservative’s majority in Parliament. This could be seen as a miscalculation by Theresa May and a significant loss if her majority were actually to be decreased in a General Election of her own calling. The Labour Party have a great deal to gain by stealing the show from the SNP in Scotland by playing Sturgeon at her own game. In the same way the Scots have to answer questions about why they have let the Tories in at the last General Election by taking their focus off what happens to the rest of the United Kingdom by simply focusing on their own needs in a General Election situation. General Election’s should not simply be about regional politics and attempting to get the most out of it for yourself and your locality: you need to see the bigger picture by establishing a Government that will bring about not just localised improvements but improvements across the whole of the United Kingdom, this is a given up until the day when devolution does actually occur. In the last election the focus on regional politics simply let the Tories in to have a greater share of the vote than they have historically held. This situation simply gifted the last election to the Tories and gave the a much stronger position in Parliament than they actually deserve. Scotland and the Labour Party need to get it right this time for the sake of the greater good in the United Kingdom.
I am responding here to statements made by Alan Johnson in an article to Politics Home where he suggests that the Labour Party is dead and finished and where he lays the blame squarely at the feet of Jeremy Corbyn. This is really just sour grapes from a defeated right wing moderate as he struggles to adapt to the much needed change happening within the Labour Party and is probably more about his own line of personal questioning and doubts about whether there is actually a place for him in the Labour Party of the future.
Firstly who does Alan Johnson think he is pontificating on such matters. Johnson, himself now a discredited politician, is a part of the unfortunate legacy of the now dying Labour Party. He is right to say that the Labour Party is dead which it most probably is but guess what: far from being Mr Corbyn’s fault the death of the Labour Party is actually because of people like Alan Johnson and Tony Blair who have killed the Labour Party. The autopsy is now on-going but it will surely be found to be the case that the death of the Labour Party was already a sealed fait accompli as soon as traitors like you and Tony Blair were able to meddle with its Constitution. Mr Corbyn now only presides over the dying corpse of the Labour Party perhaps in a vain attempt to bring back life to the already departed.
Since winning another Labour Party Leadership Challenge it may appear to some that Jeremy Corbyn is unassailable. He may even believe so himself. It appears that the promise of change and a possible swing to the left helped propel Jeremy Corbyn back into the leadership post. In my opinion this was because he came across as the most left wing of the candidates. He had a longer left wing legacy that the newcomers. However so far we have seen nothing that radical from Mr Corbyn and nothing really that justifies all the left wing support he received to secure him another term as the Leader of the Labour Party.
It’s been a week now since the Labour Party Conference 2016 and I am still unclear about what Socialism for the 21st Century actually means. Socialism for the 21st Century is more than just this Sound Bite and Socialism is not just about being nice to everybody Mr Corbyn: it’s a system of Economics. Socialism does have the end result of being nicer and a whole lot fairer than Capitalism but that is only as a result of having real socialist policies to back it up. I just get the feeling that JeremyCorbyn’s interpretation of Socialism is just the end result without implementing the system to actually make it happen. Up to now and perhaps for sometime to come I will continue to support Mr Corbyn as the most viable left wing candidate but my support is not blind and there are limits. For me the limit is when I think and believe that Mr Corbyn cannot deliver a proper version of Socialism for the Labour Party backed up by an economic strategy to match the ideology. That time is getting close with this new development and lack of understanding shown by Mr Corbyn and his team who seem to have resorted to dropping in Sound Bites instead of real policy.
Is Mr Corbyn’s idea of Socialism just another Blair Style interpretation?
Jeremy Corbyn needs to understand that he cannot have the ideology and ambitions of Socialism without having some resemblance to an economic and fiscal policy that resembles in some way the ideas of Sidney Webb who introduced the concept of socialism to the Labour Party with an introduction of Clause IV as a part of its Constitution. It was only at this point that the Labour Movement actually became a Socialist Movement. Recent Labour Party administrations have attempted to retain the ideology of socialism and abandon the commitment to Clause IV and it’s economic and fiscal systems which it implies. Most notably Tony Blair but what you got in return was a watered down version of Socialism with an unstable fiscal policy and economic approach. This smoke and mirrors approach to Socialism is no longer viable because more often than not it ends up with a government which has lofty ambitions and ideals without any means to fund it’s ambitions. This, as we saw in the case of Blair / Brown, led to out of control public borrowing which eventually leads to a form of bankruptcy.