An all-too-predictable thing happened in the weeks before Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Labour Party. Yes, Tony Blair had his say.
The former “New Labour” leader, a man who now charges gullible imbeciles hundreds of thousands of pounds an hour for the privilege of providing him with a platform from which he can spout his nauseating platitudes, indicated that Labour had “rediscovered losing successively” and that he preferred winning to losing. (I have no idea whether “Winning is better than losing” is the title of a speech he is soon to give to a conference room full of corporate types for a six-figure sum, but it wouldn’t surprise me). He was, of course, horrified at the prospect of a Corbyn victory for a variety of reasons, though I don’t think Corbyn’s propensity for mass murder in the Middle East was one of them.
Like many of the “old guard” (and Blair, you are one of them now) his argument was centred around the idea that a Labour Party under Corbyn would be highly unlikely to win a general election. Well, maybe. But he’s missing the point.
On which set of principles and policies is Corbyn supposed to stand? On those he believes in or those he chooses to adopt because they give him a better chance of victory against the vile Tories? Adopting a set of principles, or selecting them from a menu as you might select your entree in some pretentious West End restaurant, may well have worked for others (no prizes for guessing who I mean) but surely the British people have had enough of such charlatans (again, no prizes) and chancers?
Party politics is not football. With apologies to the late Mr Shankly, it’s much more important than that. The aim of taking part in a football match is to win it. The aim of taking part in a general election is to win it because you can then go on to enact a programme in which you believe and for which people have voted. This bizarre belief that general elections are purely for winning must end.
What is the point of standing outside 10 Downing Street on the morning of May 8th 2020 having won the election with a manifesto you do not believe in? Creatures like Blair may regard that as “victory”, yet those of us who function on a different mental plane (and thankfully that’s an awful lot of people) can see the complete pointlessness of such an attitude. If you’re not going to change anything, what would be the point of winning?
In 2020 Labour may well lose. In fact, I’m pretty confident that they will. The only type of Labour leader the majority of the media can accept these days is one who is barely indistinguishable from the half-wit on the other side of the despatch box: same suit, same haircut, same education, same platitudes and same wife (probably). The British people will (and more fool them) fall for the same old scare stories and the same old Murdoch-inspired claptrap and lies that they did before. But that’s their look-out.
Having never voted Labour in my life I am now closer to calling myself a supporter of the current Labour leader than ever before. Do I agree with everything he says? No. Of course not. It’s virtually a statistical impossibility that I would agree with him on everything.
But I would (if an election was tomorrow) lend him my vote on the basis that he has principles which he is prepared to stand up for and argue, and not just go with whichever way the wind and a couple of focus-groups are blowing at the time. I would lend him my vote on the basis that someone needs to provide an intellectual counterweight to the despicable, selfish and downright disgraceful Tory narrative.
And I would lend him my vote on the basis that nothing would annoy his most sanctimonious predecessor more.