Tuesday 5 January 2016

Corbyn-Watching: Him and Whose Army?

A fine spectator-sport is old Corbyn and his marxist motley, trying to fashion the revolution out of twitter and twatter.  His upcoming purge should be fun - please let Diane Abbbottt be shadow foreign sec! - but what is Corbyn's army really made of?

Someone wrote recently that where most insurgents try to turn an incoherent mass movement into an effective political party, beardy and his boys (oh yes, it's all boys in the boiler-room) are essaying the opposite.  That really would be a novel form of politics, or maybe even a species of anarchy.

And who are his elite shock-troops? A strand that interests me greatly was started by one of our sage Anons, à propos of the 2011 riots, who warned that we ain't seen nothing yet: the next round would be organised by a fearsome new 'officer class' of disaffected, unemployed graduates.  I half-wondered whether this had started when the well-organised troublemakers of the 'No Dash For Gas' movement burst into action in 2012 - but it has fizzled out, at least for the time being.  Perhaps Corbyn's cause is sufficiently grandiose to encourage more of them out from their putrid pits and onto the streets.

Paul Mason (another marxist) also thinks along similar lines:  this from his "Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere" -
At the heart of it all is a new sociological type: the graduate with no future ... one of the historians of the French Revolution wrote that it was not the product of poor people but of poor lawyers.  You can have political/economic setups that dissapoint the poor for several generations - but if lawyers, teachers and doctors are sitting in their garrets freezing and starving, you get revolution.  Now in their garrets they have a laptop and broadband connection
So - is that what lurks behind the deeply unconvincing Corbyn?  Are the garret-graduates strapping him El-Cid style to his horse, behind which to surge out from their bed-sits and conquer the world?  It could be worrisome, but somehow it doesn't much look like that yet.  Even if he makes Chuka Umunna and the Eagle Sisters nervous, the rest of the world isn't trembling with fear, just mirth.

Still, C@W readers guessed heavily in favour (21 - 2) of him still being in the saddle by the end of the year.  Presumably that's all that matters to the heavy-duty Livingstonistas who really call the shots.  Purge first, reselect next, and take the field in 2020 with a genuinely Leninist party.  Perhaps it sounds plausible when you say it like that to your bed-sit buddies.  Osborne and Sturgeon must be enjoying it all hugely.



Dan said...

I would contend that Corbyn is not actually an unwelcome development at all, but instead ought to be welcomed for the sterling job his time as Labour leader will do towards re-educating the Labour grass roots. A huge number of Labour activists have utterly failed to work out that centrist, even somewhat Tory policies are actually really rather popular with the British electorate.

This is why Tony Blair won elections: his policies were popular. Similarly this is why Cameron wins elections: his policies are fairly close to Blair's centrist policies and are also very popular with the electorate. Centrist policies are policies that the bulk of the electorate agree with; the more people agree with you, the more popular and likely to win an election you are.

Hard left Socialism is not popular. Confiscatory taxes and wealth redistribution is not popular when most people can see their way to becoming quite well off, even wealthy in a small way; this sort of thing looks like a big Government hammer waiting to bang their aspirations on the head. Quite a lot of people remember the utter pig's ear that was the pre-Thatcher Labour government, and fear going back to those dark, miserable days.

Socialism simply isn't popular. Socialist activists are backing a loser, but they don't know it. They need enlightening. Corbyn will help them learn.

Jan said...

Disagree entirely Dan.

People see the present gvt as in league with big business/banks etc and are happy to feather their own nests as Blair et al were also happy to do at the expense of the rest of us hoi polloi. So they see an attempt towards true socialism where there is less inequality as much needed. This is probably idealistic but at least worth a try in the face of big business calling all the shots.

By the way I believe in free enterprise as far as possible and am a Conservative at heart. What we have now is politicians who have been completely captured by the media culture we all live by and short termism; they only care about the electorate as far as the next election.

andrew said...

Agree with most of Dan except

- more people remember Brown than Callaghan.
- Socialism is popular ... until the bill comes due and 'all the money is gone'

What really worries me is that a bit like some tories in the 70s/early 80s used code to demonstrate their racist (small r) credentials,
some current lab people seem to be undermining the democratic process (the election they lost) stating/implying that con policies are not legitimate because they did not get more than 50% of the vote and so these laws are not real laws.

Combining this with the manner Corbyn bypasses elected representatives (his colleagues) to attempt to represent the average person (the mob)

makes me a little concerned about the direction democracy is travelling.

Especially when Sadiq Khan is busy trying to stop Goldsmith using the word 'Extremist' in a clearly political context.

BE said...

Agree with Dan for the most part. There is a significant group of people who are extremely excited by Corbyn and his simple-minded ideas. Nationalise The Railways! is always a good one. Who doesn't hate their commute, after all?

Except as Andrew points out, I bet not a large proportion of the electorate would want to pony up and buy (not to mention run) the railways.

The shrill Corbynistas are loud but relatively few in number.

As for guerilla grads, Paul Mason predicts economic meltdown and never-ending depression almost as frequently as CU. What Paul Mason et al. do not seem to realise is that the UK is not falling apart at the seams.

Corbyn did a protest about rail fares going up by 1.1%. 1.1%. Lol.

CityUnslicker said...

His non reshuffle reshuffle is a classic, makes the thick of it look like a serious documentary on political competence.

Better theatre than Milliband or Brown which is a high bar to be set.

Will Labour ever elect a serious leader again I wonder?

andrew said...

Well, Labour got Cameron elected in 2015,
so Osborne|Jonson|May is a good bet for 2020


You wanted serious ... i'll get my coat.

Anonymous said...

Will Labour ever elect a serious leader again I wonder?

Cameron may be available in a few years but he fails the "serious leader" test.

E-K (on another computer) said...

The best way for Corbyn to oppose is... not to oppose.

His every failure to restrain the Tory government shows them up for the fakers they are.

Corbyn makes us ask: So what's stopping you now then, Mr Cameron.

(I have commented again on the Paul Graham 'refragmenting' post below.)

Anonymous said...

Nationalise the Railways? They already did that when they took Railtrack back into public ownership.

The tracks and stations etc the trains run on and into are owned by NR / HMG. That's why NR is such a poor performer by every metric going

Oh and DETR sets the service levels and fares for the franchisees.
Not really capitalism, red in tooth and claw.
The worst of all possible worlds for the taxpayer and the passenger

BE said...

Yes, that was kinda my point. The sole advantage of the current system is that the bidding process has at least a vague chance of keeping the subsidies keen. All that would vanish under the Miliband/Corbyn scheme. And the unions would suddenly be demanding mega price rises to make the current 1.1% seem as laughable as they are.

Timbo614 said...

I agree with Jan.
Corporatism is [getting] out of control most of what they produce for general public consumption has been "crapified"[Yves@NC]. Because consumption is the word. It doesn't last, it doesn't even work out of the box sometimes! Nothing is "of Quality" (to wit: My M&S Christmas present jumper - had to de-bobble after 4 days, 4 days!! hadn't even had time to wash it!) It's all made as cheaply as possible in the same factories no matter what you buy. So you bin it and "consume" another.

"Customer service" is mostly a joke, the mega-corps have no chance of answering a phone if a large percentage of their customer need them (to wit: HSBC for two days!). We all provide our own customer service via the Internet. WE spend our time endlessly filling in forms, sending emails, waiting in phone queues, talking to computers & listening to muzak AND WE pay for the bloody privilege half the time! For mega-corps it must be a dream come true because people actually believe that things have "improved" huh?

I believe that is what people are fed up with - consuming crap.

That is what will give liebour / Corbyn a chance deliberate crapification by business while reaping vast rewards.
[/rant] :)

Anonymous said...

Corbyn and the rest of his Jacobins are to put it mildly,not my cup of tea. Having said that, if he's to be honest about his policies and politics, I initially viewed his election a welcome event. On reflection though, I believes his position gives the false Conservatives even more cover to pursue their Corporatist/egalitarian agenda(sounds a contradiction in terms I know but you may follow me.

BE said...

Why on Earth would you bother phoning your bank? The only time I do is when I lose a card.

Lots of media excitement about MetroBank, but who needs to actually go into a branch? What are they for?

There are plenty of places to get good quality food, and cheap plastic household necessities. The online delivery options are getting better for bulky stuff (you can get your eBay stuff delivered to Argos, Tesco have a great sales portal to get stuff delivered to your local store, etc.). You can switch your gas and electricity away from nPower easily enough.

I don't buy this "there is no competition" guff, except in industries like rail.

BE said...

Oh, and the fixed-line phone companies, they are all shysters but that is because they are stuffed by the Openreach regime and at least that is being looked at.

Timbo614 said...

@BE err, yes, I'm well aware of "on-line banking" thank you, but if you err.. missed it HSBC on-line services were down for 2 days so they gave you a phone number...

I HAD to pay my VAT the gubbermint brooks no excuses!

and err.. yes I'm well aware of ebay and its options and Argos and Tesco.. BUT like the bank.. it works until it doesn't. Then it all turn to $hit. That's computers for you....they are really really reliable, until they aren't.

OTOH I don't hold with everyone twittering and moaning and handing out gip. Nothing is prefect.

andrew said...

I loved the John McDonnell hypocrisy on R4 Today.

"I am pleased that cameron has followed our new politics in allowing his cabinet to speak out as their conscience demands"
"Will Hillary Ben be allowed to speak out on Syria"
"It is important that he is aligned with the policy of the PLP and Jeremy"
"So he cannot speak out according to his conscience"
"He can speak out from the back benches"

Cue S Montasgue's distinctive cackle and McDonnell exits pursued by Umunna's sniggering.

hovis said...

Timbo I think the thing you describe is systme that is very fragile and often shit. That added to a loss of control by the individual means disatisfaction.

Agree with Jan also.

Electro-Kevin said...

BE - The unions demanding subsidies for the railways.

They are too stupid to see that privatisation has been the best thing ever for their workers.