Pro-Corbin Rally in Bristol Yesterday

Apart from the post-Brexit anti-racism rally on Bristol’s College Green yesterday, Points West also covered a rally in support of Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbin, held at the same time and in the same place. They interviewed one of the rallies organisers, who had rejoined Labour after Corbyn had won the leadership contest. She had been a member, but had left, and was rejoining the part after twenty years. The interviewer raised the matter of the party’s MPs passing a no-confidence vote in him. Unfortunately, the three Labour MPs for the region, according to the programme, have also joined in this vote. The rally’s organiser replied that, whatever the parliamentary party may think of Corbyn, he was immensely popular with the grassroots members. The party membership was up to 200,000, with tens of thousands joining or rejoining the party thanks to Corbyn’s leadership. After raising the issue of the no-confidence vote yet again, and getting another, more positive response, the interviewer turned to the camera, and concluded the interview by saying that, while Corbyn was having trouble with his MPs, at least he could rely on some support here in Bristol.

In fact, throughout the country Jeremy Corbyn is massively popular with traditional Labour voters and the party’s grassroots base. Mike’s written a series of articles about this over at Vox Political. The members of the parliamentary party, who are desperately trying to oust him, are Blairites to a man and woman. And it’s disgusting that they should try and mount this coup against him, just as their bosses’ policies were. Blair took over the Tories’ policy of privatising everything that he could get his hands on, and sell to corporate fat cats. This included expanding their attempts to sell off the NHS. Like the Tories, they knew that this would make them lose the next election if the British public ever realised, and so, like the Tories now, they have deliberately kept its privatisation very quiet. Nevertheless, they did it, and the threat is very real. See Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ excellent book, NHS SOS.

The Labour party has, under Jeremy Corbyn, overtaken the Tories in terms of mass membership. This is the complete reverse of the previous situation. For decades the Tories were easily the largest party in the UK, with a membership of about 2 1/2 million. Now it’s half that. Many branches have less than 100 members, and their members are, on average, of retirement age.

Blair reformed the Labour party according to Thatcherite, neoliberal ideas. Those ideas have run their course, and the consequences have been terrible. They have wrecked this country, and are reducing its people to poverty. But many of the members of the parliamentary party joined when Bliar was in the ascendant, and have swallowed the economic snake oil. Thus we had one Blairite MP saying before the last election that Labour would be even harder than the Tories on the unemployed. It’s all been to suck up to the middle class ‘swing voters’ New Labour targeted at elections, at the expense of their true, working class constituency.

One of the consequences of this is that the neoliberal political class, drenched as it is in Thatcherite orthodoxy, has refused to countenance any criticism of the private market policies that have generated this poverty and inequality. And so instead, the xenophobic right has arisen, under Nigel Farage, blaming the poverty and country’s ills on immigrants and the EU.

There are several good arguments against the EU. But Corbyn needs to be backed to return real life and vitality back to the Labour party and democracy. The country needs to be built back up from the devastation inflicted from three decades of Thatcherism, and working people, whatever their race or ethnic origin, given back their dignity and protection from the predatory factory masters that Thatcher, Major and Bliar released. And the country needs a true democratic choice between left and right, not merely between two right-wing parties, whose policies are now indistinguishable. As the Neo-cons and Neolibs intended all along.

As for the Blairites, if they cannot stomach what their party was founded to stand for, and what their grassroots members want, and what the party’s supporters want and need, they should leave. Go to the Tories. That’s their natural home after all. One of the first things Blair did when got into No. 10 was invited Maggie round for tea. Well, she’s dead, Blair’s out of power, and his heir and collaborator, Broon, lost the election. It’s about time the Blairites and their supporters either genuinely started representing Labour – organised labour, the labour of the unions, the working class, and the students and white collar workers Bliar betrayed. Or they should leave, and make way for those who will.

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2 Responses to “Pro-Corbin Rally in Bristol Yesterday”

  1. vondreassen Says:

    Reblogged this on vondreassen and commented:
    Blair was big on PFI !

    • beastrabban Says:

      Too right – he turned it into one of the central planks of New Labour policy. And we’ve been saddled with it ever since.

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