I've no idea if Mr Corbyn can win a national election. At first glance the political demographics seem stacked against him. The so-called traditional working class vote is fragmented, demoralised and disorientated. And, caught as it in a vice like grip between globalisation and automation, shows every sign of continuing its relentless decline. But beyond this narrow definition of the working-class lies the ninety-nine percent. They too can also be defined as the working class because in the final instance, the vast majority of this ninety-nine percent must rely on selling their labour power in order to survive. If Corbyn's Labour leadership can tap into the imagination of this vast constituency, then a Corbyn led parliamentary victory may be yet possible. But win or lose, in one important sense, Corbyn has already won a mighty victory. Jeremy Corbyn and his team are setting the new political agenda and the rest of the political pack are having to play catch-up.

If you think this is an overly optimistic assessment, then just consider the following. Theresa May, arch Tory that she is, has been forced to make all sorts of promises about reigning in the corporates. Workers are to be put on the boards, pay differentials between workers and CEO's are to be made public, corporate tax evasion is to move up the political agenda and measures are to be taken to address the scandal of the working poor. Oh yes, and the ongoing national housing crisis is finally to be taken seriously. Her acceptance speech could have been written by Corbyn himself.

The new Tory elite is not alone in seeking to steal the Corbynista agenda. UKIP leadership hopefuls are pledging themselves to address the issue of declining social mobility. No longer to be a single issue anti-immigration party, UKIP are seeking to position themselves as the new party of the working class. In order to achieve this, they must make any number of radical promises, not one of which will likely ever see the light of day. They are and always will be I suspect, a nasty, xenophobic, anti-immigration, single issue party.

And then we have Owen Smith, latest challenger attempting to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. Posing as a modern left-wing candidate, Smith must repeat nearly all the policy positions of the Corbyn team.

Everybody it now seems; New Labour, Tory, Lib Dems and UKIP, want to regulate the corporates and turn away from the neoliberal agenda of austerity. Every politician it seems wants to talk big about inequality. It's as if it's a new phenomenon that has just suddenly landed on planet Britain. But the brutal reality is that inequality has never gone away. In fact, it has become grotesquely more entrenched through successive Thatcherite Tory and Labour governments. Only Corbyn and his loyal team of supporters have any real credibility in this area. All the others are damned by their past actions and inactions.

The thing that works in Corbyn's favour has been his lifetime of principled opposition to unregulated markets, the machinations of the global military-industrial complex and his unstinting support for the marginalized and dispossessed. The facts are plain for those that want to see. Thirty years ago, when the British state sought to criminalize and demonize the Irish republican movement, Corbyn was one of only a handful of British politicians who were prepared to speak out in their defence. Communicate and negotiate with the Irish national movement and oppose the fascist thuggery of the Loyalist gangs had always been Corbyn's position and history has unequivocally proved him correct.

It was a similar story with the anti-apartheid movement. Once again the British state not only belatedly adopted Corbyn's strategy of engagement but finally did a complete U-turn and went on, in true opportunist fashion, to laud the great humanitarian ideals of Nelson Mandela and the ANC where once they had branded them as terrorists and criminals.

Jeremy Corbyn is a rare thing in British politics. He says what he believes in irrespective of the prevailing political winds. Unlike New Labour politicians who, desperate for high office, make compromise after compromise, Corbyn has a core set of principles. There is nothing wrong with compromise but if you compromise away your core beliefs in the end you stand for nothing. And in the end New Labour, having ditched the all-important Clause Four of its constitution and having signed up to fight the new set of neo-colonial wars alongside the US imperialists, became nothing but the Tory second eleven. That this would happen was made abundantly clear the moment that Murdoch gave his blessings to the Blair New Labour project.

Corbyn took a principled stand against all this back-sliding and was damned for it. He is still being damned by the remnants of the discredited New Labour project but Corbyn, like President Roosevelt before him, can defiantly proclaim; I welcome their hatred.

Whether Corbyn can make it to No10 is still an unknown, but through principled debate and mass participation, Corbyn is forcing a radical socialist agenda out from the margins and into the mainstream of political discourse. And others, at least in part, have been forced to follow. In this sense, Corbyn is already winning the game hands down.

End JPK Copyright 2/8/16

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 May 2018 09:06 )