Monday, 5 December 2016

The People's Organiser, by David Lindsay

Tony Blair is planning "more than a think tank, but less than a political party".

And the traditional right-wingers of Labour First are crowdfunding £40,000 for an organiser to fight against Jeremy Corbyn.

But we are also crowdfunding £40,000 for an organiser, the People's Organiser:

One organiser for every £40,000 raised will provide platforms for those who:

- understand the lesson of the EU referendum result in the United Kingdom, and of the election of Donald Trump in the United Kingdom, which is that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters;

- locate identity issues within the overarching and undergirding context of the struggle against economic inequality and in favour of international peace;

- welcome the fact that the EU referendum was decided by those areas which voted Leave while voting Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru for other purposes, and which have thus made themselves the centre of political attention;

- celebrate the leading role in the defence of universal public services of those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, and the leading role in the promotion of peace of those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars;

- have opposed from the start the failed programme of economic austerity;

- have opposed every British military intervention since 1997; 

- opposed Tony Blair's privatisation of the NHS and other public services, his persecution of the disabled, and his assault on civil liberties, all of which have continued under every subsequent Government;

- oppose Britain's immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and reject the demonisation of Russia;

- have the real eyes to realise real lies, seeing the truly fake news as propagated in support of the economic policies of neoliberal austerity and the foreign policies of neoconservative war;

- reject any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers' rights, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet;

- seek to rescue issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies caused the problems; and

- refuse to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

Please give generously.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Why Is The Left So Narrow-Minded?, by James Draper

Like many of my friends, I consider myself to be on the political Left, oppose our current foreign policy in the Middle East, and support Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership of the Labour Party.

However, very few of these friends also support withdrawal from the European Union, oppose modern feminism, or question the theory of anthropogenic global warming, and many are hostile to those who do.

Too many times, there has been an implication during and after the EU referendum debate that the 52 per cent who voted for Leave were na├»ve, ignorant or racist – as if the Remain campaign were uniquely free of dodgy statistics and misleading information. 

Not only is this deeply insulting and patronising, but it does not reflect my personal experience. 

I was originally in favour of the EU: I loved the idea of nations trading and cooperating to find solutions to common problems.

If I could have seen a glimmer of hope that the EU could reform, then I would gladly have voted to Remain. But I could not keep deceiving myself. 

The EU has not guaranteed peace in Europe: it played a role in initiating the recent trouble in Ukraine.

It is not a friend of the poor and vulnerable: it is heavily influenced by big banks and corporations, and it has caused misery for the people of Greece. 

You do not have to be on the political Right to oppose it, as Tony Benn and Bob Crow demonstrated so brilliantly.

Surely treating European immigrants more favourably than non-European immigrants is the real racist policy, and surely expecting the unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to change their ways is the real naivety?

My main principle against the European Union is also the reason why I oppose our foreign military interventions: I believe in independent nation states, and that the internal running of a country should be a matter for the people of that country to decide and no one else. 

I often find that those claiming to be the liberal, diverse, progressive voices in Western politics are much more intolerant than their opponents.

For example, whenever I reveal to people that I do not identify as a feminist, I am almost invariably met with looks of mingled incredulity and fury.

“So you don’t believe in women’s rights?” is the usual response. Of course I do; I cannot think of a single person I know who does not wish for women to have the same legal rights as men.

My opposition to feminism does not stem from misunderstanding the word either: I have examined the modern Western feminist movement, but I cannot relate to it at all.

We hear all the time that women are paid less than men and oppressed by a “glass ceiling”.

Men do on average earn more money than women and vastly outnumber women on corporate boards, but this is due to lifestyle choices and not discrimination. 

In 2000, sociologist Dr. Catherine Hakim published a paper on “preference theory”, which stated that while four in seven men in the UK were “work-centred”, only one in seven women was. 

Generally, men work longer hours and take less time off work, while women prefer a work-life balance.

Motherhood often plays a large role: if a woman takes time off work to have a baby, this will inevitably have an impact on her progression in her career.

It is also worth noting that the Equal Pay Act has prohibited paying men more than women for the same work since 1970.

Under the age of 35, women now earn more than men in the UK and the US.

Longitudinal studies show a causal link between artificially increasing female representation on corporate boards though enforced gender quotas and decline in corporate financial performance. 

If feminism is about empowering women, then why does it continue unnecessarily to present them as victims?

Talented women can succeed in the workplace without legislation that is deeply patronising towards women and discriminates against men.

In her launch speech for “HeForShe”, Emma Watson said, “Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.”

But feminists themselves are responsible for this in many ways.

For a start, look at the aims of “HeForShe”: to “engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality by encouraging them to take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls.”

There appears to be no sense of recognition that men and boys can also often be victims of gender inequality, and no desire to rectify this.

Examples include the high male suicide rate, lack of support for male domestic violence victims, lower male life expectancy, male genital mutilation, victims of false rape allegations, underachievement of boys in schools, fathers denied reasonable access to their children after a divorce, and gender disparity in the sentencing of criminals.

These are much more important issues than women on banknotes, female composers on an A-level Music syllabus, and other thoroughly trivial matters that receive far more attention from mainstream feminists and exposure in the media.

In the interests of democracy, raising these issues in Parliament should not be left to Philip Davies.

As I have not examined the scientific research into climate change far beyond the theories taught in science lessons and sound bites in the media, I do not feel qualified to take a firm stance for or against the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

It therefore irritates me when other people, whose knowledge into the subject is no more intimate than mine, smugly pour scorn on anyone who so much as questions the prevailing consensus on this issue.

There are many interesting points raised by the sceptics, many of whom are scientists.

These include the political nature of the IPCC, the influence of solar activity on climate, the decrease in global temperature during the post-War economic boom, the amount of money invested in climate science, and periods in history when temperatures were much warmer or cooler than today.

Why are people so scared of debate? If we chose the wrong path, then the consequences would be disastrous either way. 

Major floods would occur, destroying infrastructure and livelihoods, or we would have sacrificed jobs and hampered international development for the sake of a mistaken dogma.

Therefore an open, honest debate is of the utmost importance.

I do not share a number of Jeremy Corbyn’s perspectives. However, were I a Labour Party member, then my vote would go to him. 

I do not understand how Owen Smith’s leadership would add value to Labour. 

Nearly all his policies appear to either be virtually identical to Corbyn’s, thereby rendering a change of leadership pointless, or a blast back to the Blair days of Labour and the Tories battling for the alleged “centre-ground”, abandoning in the process their principles and the people whom they were supposed to represent. 

He claims to want to appeal to the general population and not just to Labour members, yet he shows no respect for the democratic will of the British people to leave the European Union – running the risk of losing more Labour voters to UKIP.

As for Corbyn, where I disagree with him, the fake Conservative Party tends to sing from the same hymn sheet.

Where I agree with him (such as renationalising the railways, taking action against the housing crisis, scrapping Trident, and ending our series of catastrophic interventions in the Middle East), his presence is a breath of fresh air in Parliament.

Anyone who attended the Durham Miners’ Gala could have seen with their own eyes how much his ideas resonated with ordinary people.

His Opposition has reduced the Government to U-turns and ad hominem remarks many times this year.

He has performed his role with admirable dignity, despite being showered with buckets of slime from all directions.

Labour finally shows signs of rediscovering its principles. If only those on the opposite side of the House could do the same.

Our Historic Bloc: Gramsci, Corbyn, and the Labour Party, by Andrew Godsell

I do not know whether Jeremy Corbyn has read the writings of Antonio Gramsci.

In a way, it is not too significant. Progressive political movements are much bigger than the personalities of their leaders.

Regressive movements – such as the regimes of Benito Mussolini and Margaret Thatcher – exhalt the personality cult of the divine leader.

As somebody who has been a member of the Labour Party since 1984, I see the emergence of the mass movement, in which 600,000 people are currently voting in a Leadership Election, as a vital part of our history.

Jeremy Corbyn has sparked the vision of a Labour Party that will end austerity, and which will rebuild the National Health Service and the railways as public services, while redistributing power and wealth.

The era of neoliberalism, an economic policy that Thatcher and Ronald Reagan borrowed from the horrors of General Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, led to a particularly severe worldwide crisis of capitalism – it started in 2008, and it is still reverberating. 

Tony Blair and New Labour achieved a great deal in the early years of power, before the ethical foreign policy gave way to unconditional support for the USA’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the pledge to abolish the House of Lords withered away as MPs focussed on fiddling their expenses claims.

But Blair’s Labour did not challenge the basis of the power structure in Britain. Now we have a Labour Party that has a choice.

It looks likely that Corbyn, an MP since 1983, with a strong record of support for the working class, trade unions, and internationalism, will be re-elected Leader.

The alternative is Owen Smith, a man who trivialises women and people who struggle with mental health issues, while his background career with Pfizer, a private drugs company, undermines the Labour commitment to the NHS. 

Smith is an unsatisfactory figurehead for 171 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, desperately clinging to the questionable way they used to do things, and at odds with the 60 per cent of the membership who elected Corbyn a year ago. 

So where does Gramsci fit in with this? 

I first became aware of the Italian politician, theorist, and prisoner of the Mussolini government, around the time that I joined the Labour Party. 

Gramsci’s name often appeared in the pages of Marxism Today and the New Left Review, magazines that I would read alongside the Labour Party’s New Socialist

During the 1980s, I read several collections of Gramsci’s writings, including the Prison Notebooks, plus a biography, and analysis of his thought. 

Gramsci’s central ideas include hegemony, the system of beliefs by which a ruling class asserts and reinforces its position. 

Gramsci advocated ways that the working class could counter hegemony, by creating its own ideology, and by building a movement that became a historic bloc, ready to take power and change society.

Some of the most interesting passages in the Prison Notebooks have Gramsci writing about the nature of a political party, and how its history can be explained. 

This has greatly influenced my book Why Not Trust the Conservatives

Gramsci occasionally touched upon the specifics of British politics, praising the strength of the trade unions, but he was sceptical about the potential of the Labour Party in his era. 

He developed the idea of Ceasarism, whereby a political crisis can lead to power being seized by a heroic personality. 

The crisis can, however, lead in parliamentary systems to a compromise, with Gramsci stating that:

“The ‘Labour’ governments of MacDonald were to a certain degree solutions of this kind, and the degree of Ceasarism increased when the government was formed which had MacDonald as its head and a Conservative majority.”

From his prison cell, with limited access to information about the outside world, Gramsci immediately saw the significance of the formation of the so-called National Government in 1931. 

Half a century later, Stuart Hall, writing in Marxism Today, saw an echo of this in the formation of the Social Democratic Party, as a group of Labour MPs defected to set up a centre grouping in Parliament, to oppose Thatcherism without challenging capitalism.

Now we hear rumours that the re-election of Corbyn as Leader will prompt many Labour MPs, returned alongside him in the 2015 General Election, to seek a repeat of the SDP betrayal.

It appears they may intend a request to the Speaker of the House of Commons to be recognised as a separate Opposition party, presumably without offering to seek a new mandate through by-elections – a precedent unexpectedly set by the two Conservative MPs who defected to UKIP in 2014. 

Unfortunately, at this point in writing the piece, I learned that I had been suspended from the Labour Party, and deprived of a vote in the Leadership Election, due to unsubstantiated allegations about comments on Twitter. 

Thousands of other loyal comrades are also suspended. 

My battle to reverse the suspension, imposed by a right-wing element on the National Executive Committee, continues as I resume writing about Gramsci.

I believe that this is just another example of the need for Labour to be a mass Socialist party, committed to changing Britain, rather than an echo of Blair’s New Labour. 

A party united around radical policies, with a membership four times that of the Conservatives, can win the next General Election. 

I have spoken about the potential of Jeremy Corbyn, as a figurehead for a re-energised Labour Party, at several political meetings, including my seconding an ultimately successful nomination of Corbyn by Southampton Test Constituency Labour Party last year. 

A few months ago, John McDonnell, Corbyn’s left hand man, addressed a packed Labour meeting in Southampton. 

One of the pre-submitted questions answered by McDonnell came from me: 

With the Labour Party having returned a reduced number of MPs at each of the last four General Elections, do you believe we will make the massive gains required to win a majority next time? Would joint work with other parties, on issues such as the NHS Reinstatement Bill and scrapping Trident, help us to replace the Tories with the progressive government the British people deserve? 

In reply, McDonnell said that Labour had been working with other parties to oppose, and several times defeat, the Conservatives in Parliament in recent months. 

On the other hand, he did not favour a formal electoral pact, believing that the strength of Labour can enable it to win power at the next Election. 

Since then the rebellion against Corbyn in the Parliamentary Labour Party has reduced its effectiveness. 

There has been increasing debate among the Left about some sort of progressive alliance between Labour, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party, aimed at defeating the Tories, and I support this.

I have never believed that the Labour Party had a monopoly on left-wing truth, and I see keeping the Tories out of power as more of a priority than returning a majority Labour government.

The SNP and the Greens have enjoyed major increases in their vote, and membership, in the last few years, because they offer something different to established Westminster politics, and give people hope. 

Labour, led by Corbyn, and with McDonnell leading the fight against austerity, can increasingly co-operate with this upsurge in progressive politics. 

As I approach the end of this piece, I have just read a profile of Corbyn, and his leadership campaign meetings, in The Guardian.

The author, Gary Younge, says:

“Corbyn talks about renationalising the railways, building more houses and reaching out to people with mental health problems. There is no talk of neoliberal globalisation, quoting of Gramsci, or appeals to intersectional thinking.”

Perhaps we could have some Gramsci quotes from Corbyn and his supporters, but the specific policy ideas we are developing are more important.

If Corbyn is re-elected Labour Leader, and if we regain power from the Tories, then our ideas can be put into practice on a national scale, making Britain a better place to live.

The media deride us as Corbynistas, but I am excited that we are forming a new Historic Bloc.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The British Left Should Support The Monarchy, by David Lindsay

As the Queen attains the age of 90, the question of the monarchy’s dying with her is being given another outing.

When Prince George was born, there were complaints that we now knew that our next three Heads of State, probably stretching into the twenty-second century, would all be white males.

Well, they would all have been white males, anyway. The present one is not male. But any elected Head of this State always would be. And white. And quite or very posh.

So why bother changing the present arrangements? 

No one with anything like the Royal Family’s foreign background would ever stand a hope of becoming the President of Britain. The Queen is of heavy immigrant stock, and she is married to an immigrant.

They are both probably part-black.

In fact, no one could believe anything else having seen a portrait of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose features were publicly called “Negroid” at the time, when her ancestry was common knowledge and apparently disturbed nobody.

The city of Charlotte in North Carolina is named after her, and it is the seat of Mecklenburg County. 

Furthermore, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are plausibly believed to be descended from Muhammad through various part-Moorish royal lines on the Iberian Peninsula.

Even if Robert Graves was once ushered away from Her Majesty after he had mentioned their common descent from the Prophet of Islam, that view is widely held in an entirely matter-of-fact way across the Islamic world. 

Genghis Khan and the Tang Emperor Suzong are less plausible ancestors, but not impossible ones. 

Loyalty to the monarchy is nothing if not a bulwark against racism, and not only, although certainly, because the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth, as well as directly of 16 member-states.

Only four of those 16, including this one, have white majority populations.

Only two of the remaining 14 British Overseas Territories are predominantly white, and only one of those two has a population descended primarily from these Islands, something that Canada and Australia also do not have.

Try and imagine anyone with anything remotely approaching the Queen’s known ancestry as a candidate for President of Britain. No such person would stand the slightest chance of election to that office.

Nor would anyone aged 26, as the Queen was when she came to the Throne. Nor would anyone aged 90.

The Royal Family is not at the pinnacle of the class system.

That is the old Noble Houses of England and Scotland, who look down on the Royals as immigrant noovs, an unfortunate political necessity from the eighteenth century.

That was the root of the trouble with Diana. She had married down. Time was when the Spencers, then the richest family in the Kingdom, had even bankrolled the indigent Hanoverians.

Liberty is the freedom to be virtuous, and to do anything not specifically proscribed.

Equality is the means to liberty, and is never to be confused with mechanical uniformity; it includes the Welfare State, workers’ rights, consumer protection, local government, a strong Parliament, public ownership, and many other splendid things.

And fraternity is the means to equality. For example, in the form of trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies and mutual building societies; numerous more could be cited.

Liberty, equality and fraternity are therefore inseparable from nationhood, a space in which to be unselfish. Thus from family, the nation in miniature, where unselfishness is first learned.

And thus from property, each family's safeguard both against over-mighty commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, therefore requiring to be as widely diffused as possible, and thus the guarantor of liberty as here defined.

The family, private property and the State must be protected and promoted on the basis of their common origin and their interdependence, such that the diminution or withering away of any one or two of them can only be the diminution and withering away of all three of them. 

All three are embodied by monarchy.

Monarchy further embodies the principle of sheer good fortune, of Divine Providence conferring responsibilities upon the more fortunate towards the less fortunate.

It therefore provides an excellent basis for social democracy, as has proved the case in the United Kingdom, in the Old Commonwealth, in Scandinavia and in the Benelux countries.

Allegiance to a monarchy is allegiance to an institution embodied by a person, rather than to an ethnicity or an ideology as the basis of the State.

As Bernie Grant understood, and as one expects that Diane Abbott understands, allegiance to this particular monarchy, with its role in the Commonwealth, is a particular inoculation against racial feeling.

No wonder that the National Party abolished it in South Africa. No wonder that the Rhodesian regime followed suit, and removed the Union Flag from that of Rhodesia, something that not even the Boers' revenge republic ever did.

No wonder that the BNP wants (or wanted, since it now scarcely exists) to abolish the monarchy here.

It was Margaret Thatcher who mounted an assault on the monarchy, since she scorned the Commonwealth, social cohesion, historical continuity, and public Christianity.

She called the Queen “the sort of person who votes for the SDP”, and she arrogated to herself the properly monarchical and royal role on the national and international stages.

She used her most popular supporting newspaper to vilify the Royal Family.

When the Sex Pistols sang of a “Fascist regime” in the Britain of 1977, then they were referring to a Labour Cabinet with Tony Benn in it. 

Benn had also been the Postmaster General who had taken on the pirate radio stations in order to protect the livelihoods of the unionised musicians.

The fans of pirate radio and then of the Sex Pistols went on to elect Thatcher three times, and did not vote Labour at another General Election until Tony Blair had come along, giving him a third term as Prime Minister even two years after the invasion of Iraq.

God Save The Queen, Comrades.

God Save The Queen.

@davidaslindsay

A Patriotic Vision for the Left, by Tom Bailey

A version of this article previously appeared here.

For a long time now, the words “nationalistic” and “patriotic” have seemed to me to be largely associated with xenophobia, bigotry and prejudice.

Political parties like UKIP and the British National Party have long been claiming that only they are proud of their country and their people.

UKIP’s 2015 General Election manifesto was emblazoned with the slogan “Believe in Britain” as if no other political party did. The English Defence League adopted St George’s flag (ignorant to the fact that St George was Syrian) as if to suggest that they were the true guardians and lovers of our country, and that no other political party could really care for England.

A quick Google search reinforces this unusual association between bigotry and patriotism.

The so-called “patriot movement” consists of various conservative movements in the United States that include organised militia members, tax protesters, conspiracy theorists, and radical Christians who believe in an impending apocalypse.

‘Patriotism’ apparently equates with ‘loony’, too.

And just as these illiberal, conservative groups often pose as patriotic, so the left has forever been accused of the opposite: of having a deep loathing for the United Kingdom and wanting to systematically dismantle all of its traditions and institutions.

In his novel A Time of Gifts, Patrick Leigh Fermor describes his early perception of left-wing politicians as men and women determined to see the destruction of everything ‘British’, from country-life and religion to cricket and farming.

This view of the Left as anti-patriotic was evident in the Daily Mail’s childish and brutal attack on Ralph Miliband, the socialist writer and late father of Ed Miliband.

The tabloid absurdly branded Ralph as “The man who hated Britain” for no other reason than his left-wing political stance, despite the fact that he fought for Britain in the Royal Navy.

Of course, the Daily Mail consistently publishes utter nonsense, but its influence and power cannot be ignored – these are views held by a large amount of the electorate. 

The persistence of this perception is terrifying: if you type “Corbyn hates” into Google, the first two suggested searches are not (as you might expect) “Corbyn hates inequality” or “Corbyn hates injustice”, but instead, Google suggests the two searches “Corbyn hates England” and “Corbyn hates Britain”.

Although Google may not be trustworthy when it comes to politics (I wonder why…), it seems that many in England agree with Cameron when he says Corbyn has a “security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology”. 

This branding of the Left, and the Labour Party in particular, as anti-British or anti-patriotic, is very damaging indeed. 

Previous polling has shown that nearly 8 out of 10 British people are proud of their nationality, and so any party hoping to win in 2020 must reflect that pride. 

And I believe that it can be done. 

The rise of the SNP in Scotland and the popularity of Plaid Cymru in Wales show that patriotism and socialism can and should be synonymous. 

Nationalistic politics does not have to mean regressive politics. Loving your country does not necessitate xenophobic values and inward-looking views. 

Caring about our country does not mean we must abandon our concern for the rest of the world, nor does it mean we should redirect foreign aid to benefit ourselves alone, one of UKIP’s manifesto pledges.

I also believe that patriotism, while it involves pride, does not mean we must agree with everything our country has and will do.

Being patriotic does not mean we must celebrate our terrible imperialist past, nor does it mean applauding war and supporting unnecessary violence.

For too long, we’ve allowed the word ‘patriotism’ to be wrongly defined, and we as radicals must reverse that.

We should not be afraid of waving the English flag or of calling ourselves patriots, because patriotism can mean pride in our National Health Service, in our Welfare State, and in our democracy.

Patriotism can mean the love of our diversity, our tolerance, and our acceptance of other cultures.

Patriotism can mean the love of our artistic history and our support of progressive values, notable in our fight against Nazism.

It doesn’t have to mean a passion for the monarchy, a love of tradition, or a constant support of war, as many now see it.

Patriotism certainly can be dangerous – there’s no denying it.

That’s possibly why Marx opposed it so much (“The working men have no country”), seeing it as divisive, anti-internationalist, and a direct cause of conflict.

But, as I have attempted to demonstrate, it doesn’t have to be.

If we love our own country, we do not have to hate the countries of others. Love of one thing does not necessitate the hatred of another. 

So patriotism isn’t necessarily a bigoted ideology.

Indeed, if argued correctly, a left-wing patriotic ideology could unite the British people like no other, ending the politics of fear (exemplified by the scapegoating of the poor and foreigners) and ensuring pride in, and passion for, our liberal institutions. 

That is why the Labour Party and the Left as a whole must embrace the word patriotism, rather than shying away from it – not just to increase their electability, but to bring people together. 

Whilst right-wing politicians brand the people of the UK as scroungers and wasters; just this week, Alan Duncan claimed that achievement equals wealth, suggesting that millions of British people are lazy and unsuccessful.

And whilst the Tories take benefits from working people and dismantle the NHS, the Left must stand for compassion and love, protecting our people and its institutions – what could possibly be more patriotic?

The Left are the true patriots, and we must prove it.

@TomBaileyBlog

Sunday, 17 April 2016

An Alternative Blueprint for Britain’s Future, by Tom Fowdy

The British state we know today, the “United Kingdom” is in a terminal state of unrest and decline.

Its best days are behind it, its identity is rejected and broken and its economy is unconvincing at best, not to mention unjust.

Successive Conservative governments since the 1980s, and the legacy of New Labour, have effectively destroyed the country by pursuing a corporatist programme that has destroyed the British working class, lead to a surge in divisive individualism, hurt communities, and eroded national identity.

Far from being the “protectors” of British interests, these governments sold off the British economy, assets, foreign policy and sovereignty to foreign and elitist interests.

Modern Britain is now a distorted, oligarchic state with an elite governing in the name of financial interests alone, contrary to the interests of ordinary people.

With British communities fragmenting, the country is now plagued with seperatist movements in Scotland and Wales, left-wing unrest, radicalized communities who have no loyalty to the nation, and record levels of distrust in politicians as whole.

I myself am deeply disillusioned with what Britain has become. It has lost not only its identity, but its community, cohesion, mission and purpose.

The country is fast losing political stability as the government is propped up an unjust electoral system that renders rule by a tiny plurality of voters.

I mourn how young people seem to resent their country and hold no affiliation to it, in contrast to East Asian nations where even the young have such a powerful sense of national belonging and drive which has made those countries extremely successful.

I believe Britain should start again from scratch or otherwise it will face total collapse.

The current regime does not rule in the people’s interest, and in the past 30 years has made catastrophic mistakes and decisions.

Britain should start again, it should rebuild itself as a unified community orientated state built solely on  the will of the people, national values, citizenship, and a more open democracy. 

It should not ruled as it is today, by corporations, big banks and foreign interests that govern only in the name of money. Without identity and without purpose, we cannot exist.

Therefore, in this article I set out my theoretical vision and blueprint for what I call “The New British State”, a new Britain, a better Britain, one which has discarded all of the horrible flaws of the regime that is bringing us on the verge of national collapse.

This alternative is not “Socialist”, but a left-wing nationalist, populist and Republican state infused with many of the ideals expressed in Clement Attlee’s post-war Britain.

Effectively, it is a populist social-democracy with a patriotic character and a set of ideals very similar to revolutionary France. 

It likewise involves an attempt to reconcile discontented groups against the status quo (on the populist left and right) into one unified umbrella.

How this “nation” would come about is of course, open to popular imagination and I make no reference to how, but nonetheless I offer this as a recommendation as to what Britain ought to be. 

I have based this on simple four principles which ought to be remembered, 1) “The People’s Sovereignty” 2) “The People’s Patriotism” 3) “The People’s Economy” and 4) “International Neutrality”.

The People’s Sovereignty and Democracy 

Sovereignty ought to be held by the people and for the people, and by nobody else; bound only by the people themselves and answerable to nobody else.

Representatives in the elected body ought to represent nobody but the people.

Upon election, they ought to resign all “other jobs”, renounce all other forms of income and forfeit any interests which would bring them into conflict with the fundamental priority of representation.

All forms of corporate association, lobbying, “media friendships” and “connections” in government must be banned outright.

As much as banks and businesses have a right to exist, they must be subordinate to democracy and subordinate to the people.

The elected body must be bound by nothing but the people themselves and the independent judiciary; although power may be devolved downwards to the grassroots in various respects, power must not be developed upwards to institutions unaccountable to the people.

This includes bodies such as the European Union, multinational corporations or anything else. 

Political power and decision making must be forever in the people’s reach, it cannot be taken to dark and sinister places where it cannot be seen.

Therefore, the new state is owned by the people, sovereignty reflects the power of the people and any attempt to diminish the sovereignty of the state is a diminishment of the sovereignty of the people.

The state must not fall into the hands of banks, corporations, media moguls, landed aristocracies or expansionist powers such as the European Union.

Moving, on in order to bring political balance to this nation, all constituent countries of Britain ought to be treat as equal partners, than the failed model of England dominating the rest and fuelling separatist movements.

In a similar model to the U.S senate, one chamber of the parliament can be represented in proportion to population, but the other (replacing the House of Lords) ought to return an equal number of representatives for every constituent country: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wale.

Although this is a massive power-based concession for England, it is the only means to ensure a much fairer and more equal British Union, rather than to lose it altogether to separatist movements.

Thus, instead of the currently fragile kingdom model, the new British State would be a republican model with a constitutional union between the involved states.

What would be the fate of the monarchy? After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it ought simply to be discontinued.

It is little more than a distant memory of a regime that now fails to capture the people’s beliefs, imaginations and hopes. It long ceased to be a symbol of national unity.

The People’s Patriotism 

Any state or organization that does not believe in itself or its guiding mission effectively ceases to exist.

The new British state must believe in itself and must have pride in its own identity, otherwise it cannot be cohesive.

It’s values can only flourish if there is a common brotherhood, solidarity and unity; rather than being based on hatred, blood or racial prejudice, this patriotism ought to be based purely on values, citizenship, mission and culture.

Right now, Britain does not believe itself and the population is rapidly fragmenting into multiple identities, cultures and directions, which is hastening the dissolution of this historic state and leading to separatist movements.

British identity has been effectively binned as prejudice, and dismissed without a consideration as to how it could be reinvented.

It ought to be reinvented, separate from the controversial legacy of the empire; complete with a new mission, solidarity and sense of shared heritage. 

It ought to be an inclusive one that transcends ethnic origin. 

The state must take an active role in promoting these values in all areas of life for the cause of citizenship from the cradle to the grave. 

The People’s Patriotism is a motivator and a drive which can spur the economic and political success of the new state. It need not pursue an antagonistic foreign policy. 

It is the only the states that have the most cohesive identities and social order that become the most successful. 

The onset of liberal individualism and anti-patriotic politics has effectively destroyed Western unity, morale and economic prosperity. Our has become a civilization divided against itself.

It has failed. Only a common identity, a common morality and common community can ensure our prosperity. 

The People’s Economy 

The new British economy must be run for the prosperity of the people and nobody else.

Whilst it is essential that private enterprise exists, as competition is mandatory for progress, this should be an economy with leadership, direction and unity.

A mixed economic model is the way forwards with market and state initiatives.

Britain must resurrect its industrial and manufacturing base, it must re-create and nurture its traditional industries such as coal and steel, for there was never any mandate for their destruction. 

Likewise, to prevent financial disaster, collapse as well as subjection to sinister interests, the state ought to own all banks in the country and govern them prudently, nonetheless allowing them to pursue their own semi-autonomous initiatives. 

The state ought repeatedly to invest in the economy to pursue development and sustain public services for the people’s wellbeing. 

It should be prepared to significantly reconstruct the areas of the country that have suffered from economic devastation, neglect, stagnation and deprivation, such as North East England, Yorkshire, Lancashire, South Wales, and the Clyde region of Scotland. 

The economy of Britain is lopsided and is largely centred in London. This is not right. These regions must again become the powerhouses of the British state. 

International Neutrality 

The new British State ought to be neutral and step aside from great power alignments. Rather, it must to act impartially on behalf of the entire international community as an influential broker state. 

It must not pursue a hostile policy towards the United States or China, but rather continually seek a middle ground and a reconciliation of interests in the name of peace.

As a regime that values its own sovereignty, the new British State ought to value and respect the sovereign equality of all recognized states around the world, and offer an unconditional objection to all forms of interventionist foreign policy save there is an overwhelmingly and unbiased moral case in favour of such.

It must seek continually to counter the propaganda of great powers (including the United States) and offer a variety of alternative, open minded perspectives in all situations.

Neutrality and impartiality in the cause of peace.

Britain must keep its nuclear weapons programme, to maintain its global influence, and to prevent subjection to hostile nations.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

I Wish That Corbyn Were Not Leader, But I Might Still Vote For Him, by Tom Bailey

I recently wrote an extremely vitriolic article for the Huffington Post blog in which I bemoaned the new Labour leader and mocked his chances of victory.

I’ll be honest, the article was not the peak of my journalistic career: I was frustrated, and I unfairly directed my frustration towards Corbyn and his followers. 

I attacked Corbyn for the reshuffle disaster, and I blamed him for all the problems facing his party. 

Though I do think Corbyn was partly to blame for the resignations, and though I am certainly suspicious about what went on in those “hostile briefings”, I realise my article was misled and, to an extent, unfair. 

I allowed my anger to overcome my reason, ignoring the fact that both sides in the reshuffle conflict were to blame – John McDonnell for his spiteful comments about a “right-wing clique”, for example, and Stephen Doughty for using his resignation to launch a public attack on his leader. 

However, that’s not to say my feelings about Corbyn have changed: I still think he is the wrong leader for the party, and I still think he will lead Labour to electoral oblivion. 

And that’s my main problem with Corbyn: his unelectability. 

YouGov polls show that, while many people agree that Corbyn is principled and honest (a defence constantly used by his supporters), they don’t think he is capable of running the country. 

And that is, of course, a problem, because the Labour Party doesn’t want to be in opposition. 

If it wants to change people’s lives for the better, and if it wants to make this country a fairer and more equal place to live, then it needs to be in government. 

So why is Corbyn so unelectable, and why do polls show his popularity falling? 

Well, not only does Corbyn have about as much charm and rhetorical skill as a drowned rat, he also lacks the ability to appeal to the general public.

As I said in my previous article, “Corbyn’s mandate can only go so far.” What I mean by that is this: Corbyn’s mandate came from Labour supporters and people who agree with his socialist agenda. 

But just because 59.5% of Labour members support Corbyn, that doesn’t mean the whole country does. 

I’m sorry to say this, but most people in this country feel alienated by Corbyn’s views: his decision not to kneel at the Privy council, his early refusal to sing the National Anthem and his branding the death of Osama Bin Laden as “a tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy”.

Corbyn supporters are constantly telling me that his honest decency will attract young voters and the large swathes of people across the country who are disillusioned with politics. 

But can he? Yet another elderly white male from the South who wants to be prime minister? I doubt it. 

In fact, whilst campaigning for Labour in Oldham, Abby Tomlinson (one of the key founders of the Milifandom movement) says she met nobody who was attracted to vote for Labour by Corbyn, “a LOT of non voters who won’t be persuaded to do so” and a lot of people who used to vote Labour, but won’t now because of Corbyn. 

So here’s my biggest dilemma: I don’t actually disagree with Corbyn on that many issues. 

Take the above three examples: like Corbyn, I see the monarchy as a symbol of systemic inequality; like Corbyn, I loathe our national anthem; and like Corbyn, I think every criminal ought to be given a fair trial (though I certainly wouldn’t, under any circumstances, call the death of a terrorist mastermind a “tragedy”).

However, I do realise that most of the British public don’t think like me, whether for bad or for good. 

Corbyn was elected, in my opinion, because of a lack of concern (on behalf of Labour members) for what the electorate actually think. 

Indeed, I recently spoke with a lady who helped to run Labour elections and who worked alongside Miliband. 

She told me that, in her opinion, Labour party members are the worst possible people to choose a leader simply because they vote for themselves, without considering the views and concerns of the general public. 

I also realise that for a politician to be credible, they need to be careful with their words: the press in this country will jump on anything, however unfairly. 

That’s why Corbyn shouldn’t have called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”, even though it was arguably the right thing to do in order to encourage peace in the region. 

But, as I have said before, Corbyn never expected to be in the spotlight, and that’s one of his problems. Oh, how I long for David Miliband to return. 

But, alas, instead we have a leader who is struggling to unite his party and struggling to present a credible alternative that can appeal to the electorate. 

And yet, despite my qualms, I might still vote for him in 2020. 

Why? Because he seems to be the lesser of two evils. Yes, it’s true, I don’t think he can win, and that’s why I wish he wasn’t leader: but I’d still prefer him over Cameron, or worse, Osborne. 

Though I can’t hold a seemingly staunch pacifist stance like Corbyn does, and though I am very uncertain about Corbyn and McDonnell’s economic capabilities, I think I can trust the Labour party far more than I can trust the Tories. 

What is more, with the Lib Dems seemingly resigned to becoming a protest party, voting Labour could be the safest way to ensure that the poorest in society are represented; that the NHS is protected; and that equality and fairness are promoted throughout the UK. 

I feel now that I ought to give some words of advice for Corbyn and Labour if they want to win in 2020 (listen up Jezza). 

Firstly, they need to work on appealing to everybody in the country, particularly the middle classes.

Secondly, Corbyn needs to be more careful with what he says and how he says it. Honesty alone won’t win an election, I’m afraid.

And finally, Labour need to hammer home its message over, and over, and over again until its adages are perpetually haunting the thoughts of the general public.

I can’t tell you many times I’ve heard how, “If we want a strong NHS, we need a strong economy” – it’s annoying, but it works.

Perhaps, with a lot of work, there can indeed be a Labour victory in 2020.

@TomBaileyBlog