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Wed Sep 30, 2015, 04:00 AM

 

"Jeremy Corbyn has given hope to my generation. Please don’t let the cynics take it away"

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/jeremy-corbyn-has-given-hope-my-generation-please-don-t-let-cynics-take-it-away






It's easy to be embarrassed about your idealism – especially when the mainstream media have an amazing ability to make your big dreams seem stupid and poorly informed.

BY
RHIANNON LUCY COSSLETT



Admitting to idealism – and political idealism in particular – can be embarrassing. Especially now. Following the coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign and its aftermath, it is clear to me that cynicism is the language of our times. It doesn’t do to express too much hope, especially when you’re young. Veteran columnists await you, their keyboard-tapping fingers sharpened, ready to undermine any feelings of optimism that you may have about the “new politics”. Corbyn is unelectable, they say. His followers are narcissists, fringe hard leftists, abusive Twitter knobheads, lentil-eating Islingtonites. And that’s just the criticism from the left.

I don’t want to come across as a Corbyn hipster (“I liked him before he was cool”) but I voted for him in the general election. I live in the socialist republic of Islington North, where he has a reputation for principled and hard-working dedication to his constituents. Take the events of 18 September. Boris Johnson claimed that Corbyn had failed to “scrum down for England” by missing the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony. That day, the new Labour leader was with someone with far less power. As his constituent Daisy Barber recounted on Facebook, he was busy meeting her sister-in-law and her children at a surgery to talk about their housing situation.

As that story shows, the cliché of Isling­ton as a champagne socialist enclave is wrong. It is a diverse borough with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, especially so in Islington North. If Corbyn engages those who are suffering under austerity in his backyard, why wouldn’t he have the potential to do this elsewhere in the country? Anyone who has attended one of his rallies knows that he appeals not just to the tribal left but also to those who have never expressed an interest in politics before. Something exciting is happening, yet precious few are writing about the policies that have inspired this moment.

It is true that Corbyn’s potential electability is a concern, as is the lack of women in the top shadow cabinet positions. There are other areas where his detractors have made salient criticisms. I’m not a blindly optimistic “Corbynista”, incapable of hearing criticism of the dear leader; nor are any of my peers.

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Reply "Jeremy Corbyn has given hope to my generation. Please don’t let the cynics take it away" (Original post)
Ken Burch Sep 2015 OP
Ken Burch Sep 2015 #1
Donald Ian Rankin Oct 2015 #2
T_i_B Oct 2015 #3
Ken Burch Oct 2015 #4
Donald Ian Rankin Oct 2015 #5
Ken Burch Oct 2015 #6
Donald Ian Rankin Oct 2015 #7
Ken Burch Oct 2015 #8
T_i_B Oct 2015 #10
Donald Ian Rankin Oct 2015 #11
T_i_B Oct 2015 #12
T_i_B Oct 2015 #9
Rosa Luxemburg Oct 2015 #13
T_i_B Oct 2015 #14
Rosa Luxemburg Oct 2015 #15
Ironing Man Oct 2015 #19
Rosa Luxemburg Oct 2015 #20
T_i_B Oct 2015 #21
Jeneral2885 Oct 2015 #16
T_i_B Oct 2015 #17
Ironing Man Oct 2015 #18

Response to Ken Burch (Original post)

Wed Sep 30, 2015, 04:04 AM

1. More:

 

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/jeremy-corbyn-has-given-hope-my-generation-please-don-t-let-cynics-take-it-away

I was expecting toxic political attacks, too. I was less prepared for the establishment’s cluelessness about why this movement is happening and how it is less about the man than about the values that he represents – fairness, equality, peace – and the hope that he inspires for a younger generation. The tone-deafness was striking. “Wow,” I thought. “They really, really don’t get it.”

From the evidence of the rallies and meetings that I have attended, Corbyn’s supporters come from a wide range of age groups and backgrounds. His popularity with young people, achieved without particularly trying to be anyone other than himself, is particularly noteworthy. He has built a grass-roots movement. As the journalist Ed Vulliamy wrote in the Observer, Corbyn’s victory in the leadership election “was the first time many of our young readers felt anything like relevance to, let alone empowerment within, a political system that has alienated them utterly”.

Yet the cold-water consensus elsewhere in the Sunday paper had let those readers down. Britain’s young people, so starkly disadvantaged in comparison to their elders, deserve better from the media.

The other lesson of recent weeks (as if we didn’t know already) is that you should never look to Twitter – that cynical, nuance-free home of hacks and trolls – to gauge the public mood. Instead, seek out the opinions of those who have little concern for burnishing a public reputation and whose hope and optimism are unspun. In this country, there are tens of thousands of people who have a question mark over their housing situation, or their care provision, or the care of someone they love. (These are not minority concerns, alien to Middle England’s comfortable prosperity. While housing is a huge millennial concern, a social care crisis awaits the baby boomers.)


My generation’s political opinions are often excluded from the mainstream media, which is why I wrote, early on in the campaign, for the New Statesman website about Corbyn’s young supporters. I sensed that a gulf was opening between the media establishment and my interviewees. On a personal level, I have never felt as though I belonged less in this industry because of my politics and my background than I do now. On a professional level, I have largely shut up about Corbyn. The mainstream media have an amazing ability to make your big dreams seem stupid and poorly informed.

Right now, the last thing that young people need is for newspapers to adopt braying tones of avuncular chastisement. They are the readers of the future, yet few print outlets engage with them. Instead, the young express themselves by going on marches and on Facebook, where they describe their relief that the devastating impact of austerity will finally be challenged with passion and conviction. Online, they share their hopes for a more egalitarian future and their dismay at the overwhelming tide of shit ­being thrown Corbyn’s way. Unlike the occasionally humourless “cybernats”, most young people in this country don’t want unwaveringly favourable, uncritical reporting and they love a bit of satire. They just want to be given the time of day.

Jeremy Corbyn has given many of my generation hope for a better future and he could do the same thing for many more disadvantaged and disenfranchised young voters. Will the establishment allow us that hope? Or at least some engagement with the policies and ideals inspiring that hope? If not, where do we go instead?






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Response to Ken Burch (Original post)

Wed Oct 7, 2015, 05:27 PM

2. False hope is worse than no hope.

Corbyn cannot win the next election. It does not matter what he would do if he did.

He may have given people irrational hope, but he has taken away from them any rational cause for it, until 2020 at the earliest.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 9, 2015, 07:26 AM

3. No hope is exactly what the 3 mainstream candidates were offering

And the refusal of the moderate left to offer anything positive is a major reason why people have turned to Corbyn instead of Burnham, Cooper and Kendall.

I don't deny that Corbyn has "electability" issues, but so did all the other candidates for the Labour leadership. I don't see somebody like Yvette Cooper winning back more voters to Labour than Corbyn would.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 13, 2015, 05:25 PM

4. Would you at least agree that the party needs to change in response to Corbyn's election?

 

That, if nothing else, he needs to be allowed, at the very least, to stay in the leadership long enough to restore internal democracy and end the whole Blairite/Progress way of doing things?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 13, 2015, 05:56 PM

5. No, absolutely not.

Unfortunately, Corbyn's victory means that once he is gone the party is going to have to move further towards the centre in order to detoxify itself from his legacy than it would otherwise have done.

The Kinnock/"Blairite/Progress" way of doing things won Labour three elections in a row and, for all Blair's faults (which I acknowledge are significant), did more good for the country than any prime minister since Atlee, despite Corbyn and his Bennite friends' desperate attempts to keep the Tories in power. The Labour party needs to learn from experience what works (centre-left policies) and what doesn't (hard-left policies), and to stop shitting on its own achievements.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 12:04 AM

6. You're assuming that no one can ever make a case against neoliberalism again.

 

If that was the case, even Blair wouldn't have been able to win.

You can't seriously be against restoring internal democracy, for God's sakes. Labour can't win any future elections by limiting control of policy to the leader and four or five cynical, Labour-hating advisors.

Will you at least admit that, if Corbyn were to be deposed, no one who succeeded him would have any right to ask Corbyn's massive number of supporters to ever vote Labour again?

Labour would have won on ANY manifesto in 1997. The electorate weren't just sick of the Tory party as a group of personalities...they were by then outraged about everything that government had done. And there was no grassroots support for the idea that Labour had to have a militaristic, quasi-imperialist foreign policy or become a democracy-free zone.

Blairism was one set of ideas for one era. It has nothing to offer for the issues facing the UK in the 21st Century. Neoliberalism and "market values" serve no one but the 1%.

Give Corbyn and the newest Left a chance. Crushing them would only help the wealthy.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 04:23 AM

7. I'm assuming that a hard-left candidate will not be electable for the forseeable future.

I think that a moderate-left candidate like Cooper, and maybe even a not-so-moderate left candidate like Burnham, might well have been electable in 2020, and that while post-Corbyn that may no longer be the case, it will become so again by 2025; if you want to describe them as "neoliberal" then fair enough, but if so then the word has become a perjorative rather than a descriptor, with no more information content than if you were to describe them as "assholes".

I absolutely don't agree that if Corbyn were to be legitimately replaced through the same system of rules that brought him to power then his successor would have any less legitimacy than he does.

As to internal democracy, Labour's democratic mandate derives from the people who vote for it, not the people who join it, and that is better represented by the (elected) PLP than by the (self-selected) membership. Corbyn's attempt to use the membership as a club to enforce the loyalty he never showed himself is a cheap, nasty trick that must not be allowed to succeed.

Branding Corbyn's opponents "Labour-hating" is cheap, empty rhetoric.

Replace Corbyn with an electable leader, through the channels for legitimate leadership change provided, as soon as feasible. Keeping him and the 1983 left in power will only help the wealthy.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 05:33 AM

8. The movement that elected Corbyn leader has nothing in common with the 1983 left.

 

Corbyn happened to win a seat that year for the first time, but then again so did Blair. The Newest Left(now organized as the "Momentum" group) derives mainly from people who came out of the Occupy movement. The old Militant types(btw, I assume you'd have to agree that Liverpool hasn't had a decent local government since they were forced out, with all their successors either being right-wing Liberals or Blairite austerity freaks)played no meaningful roles in this.

The term "hard left" is not at all useful. Corbyn's not a Stalinist or a Trotskyite. And his proposals on rail renationalisation and other issues(with the sole exception of his antinuclear stance) are similar to the policies the SDP proposed in the Eighties. The man isn't calling for the forced collectivism of the Ukraine.

As to the democratic mandate...if joining the Labour Party doesn't give you any say in what the party stands for(as it hasn't since Blair took over and turned the party into The Other Tories), why even have paid memberships at all? A party is made up of the people who work to get it elected...not just the handful of people who happen to become MPs(and it was the MPs, I might remind you, that chose Micheal Foot, the epitome of "the 1983 left". You seem to want the overwhelming majority of the people who make up Labour to have no say whatsoever in what it stands for. If they are to have no say, what right would any Labour leader have to ask them to keep working to elect a Labour government at all? Labour was born as a party that was run differently than the others...the only one run from below, not above. No good comes in keeping the Blairite "the leader is the only one who matters" structure in place. Labour won in 1997 because the voters hated everything the Tories had done by then-not because anyone actually LIKED Blair having destroyed free speech and open debate within the party.

As to Corbyn...there are no grounds for deposing him, and the comparison of a removal process to the leadership election process is completely invalid. Corbyn has done nothing against party rules and has learned from the mistakes of the Eighties. He deserves a chance...and he has promised that he will stand down on his own if it really looks like he's dragging the party down.

The young people who flocked to Corbyn...the only leadership candidate who had any ideas, any principles, any dream of a better world in his words, anything other than "It's enough to elect something CALLED Labour" in his policy offer at all, would be driven away from politics forever if Corbyn were forced out. No one else who became Labour leader could ever manage to say anything to appeal to them. And there are no votes anyone else could bring in from anywhere else that would make up for the permanent loss of hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of the young, the poor, the dispossessed, the powerless.

It's pointless to go after anyone who voted Tory this year by "moving to the center"which is the same thing as just becoming Tory). People who would demand reductions in the benefit cap(which also has to mean endorsing all the harassment the Tories have inflicted on the poor, since benefit can't be cut compassionately)wouldn't ever support any even mildly progressive policies on anything, and couldn't ever be persuaded to vote for Labour even if Blair were to come back. If you voted Tory this time, you have made your mind up forever. People who are comfortable with the status quo never vote for a party that says "vote for us, we'll be basically the same"-which is what Kendall, Cooper and Burnham, none of whom proposed any real break with anything important Cameron and Osborne are doing, would all base their strategy as leader on doing.

The key to winning in 2020 is to bring back those who went SNP, to win over those who voted UKIP on "shake up the system" or anti-Iraq War grounds(the party does need to officially apologize for EVER joining Bush's imperial invasion), to cut heavily into the increased vote the Greens took in 2015, and to turn nonvoters into voters. Only Corbyn will try to do any of those things.

It's a question of whether Labour is to be a living, vital, creative and inspirational party(which it can only do if internal democracy is restored and the party conference is once again controlled by the rank-and-file rather than being the market-Stalinist "transmission handle" it's been under Blair(the kind of place where elderly men were arrested just for shouting antiwar slogans), or if it is to remain an empty shell that forever settles for power-without-convictions, power-without-ideals, power-without-dreams(or that assumes that getting power HAS to mean standing for as little as possible).

A non-idealistic Labour Party can't be worth having. Or electing. Mundane service provision and less of it isn't of any value.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 07:16 AM

10. Why bother joining Labour then?

Why should anyone go out and campaign for any politician with that sort of shitty attitude towards grassroots supporters?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #10)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 02:36 PM

11. Because you agree with their policies, of course!

Why else would you ever join a political party?

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #11)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 03:42 PM

12. No chance of that happening...

...if the people who join the party aren't given a say in how things are done.

Take that away and there isn't much point unless you find shoving bits of paper printed by central office through strangers letterboxes to be strangely thrilling.

Also worth mentioning that there are other reasons why people join political parties. As can be seen by all the social clubs run by Labour and the Conservatives.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 14, 2015, 07:12 AM

9. Labour's biggest issues aren't whereabouts it is on a theoretical spectrum

Labour hasn't just lost votes to the Tories & UKIP, it's also lost votes to the Greens, and been destroyed in Scotland by the SNP attacking from the left. Trying to dogmatically explain Labour's decline since 2001 in terms of left/right nonsense will not get you anywhere.

The bigger problems I see for Labour right now are that the party is in open civil war and since the general election has been looking really rather incompetent. Those issues are far greater than whether or not it is to the left or right of something else.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 17, 2015, 07:17 PM

13. I think that Labor will win

Labor needs to be re-modelled first.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #13)

Mon Oct 19, 2015, 07:05 AM

14. Unfortunately I can't see it that way

I actually agree with Donald Ian Rankin that the Labour party is in a serious mess right now. What we disagree about is the reasons for Labour being in such a mess.

Labour has been dominated by the Blairite faction of the party for over 2 decades. And the Blairite approach delivered two spectacular landslide election victories in 1997 and 2001. However, since the 2001 landslide the party has been in steady decline. For the Blairites to claim that this decline is none of their responsibility is just plain wrong.

The rise of Corbyn is something that's happened in response to the increasing inability of Blairite politics to engage with, and to represent anyone outside of the Westminster bubble.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #14)

Mon Oct 19, 2015, 06:09 PM

15. The political landscape is shifting

People are tiring of the old blandness. I think we will see a large shift. Corbin may not still be leader by the next election but I think he will not be replaced by a Blairite. I met Corbyn many years ago and I think he is solid.

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Response to Rosa Luxemburg (Reply #15)

Fri Oct 23, 2015, 08:29 AM

19. ...

the greatest delusion of the Corbynistas' is that politics is divided into photo-kit politicians and those, so far, who've been foolish enough to vote for them, and 'real' politicians like Corbyn, McDonnell et al who, when the electorate get to see them, will hoover up votes from all over the political spectrum.

their second biggest mistake is to confuse the degree of excitement JC et al bring about in a relatively small section of the electorate with a wider view of the electorate as a whole.

however giddy the left is about Corbyn, as voters they can only vote once - this is not Blackadder standing in the Dunny-on-the-wold by-election where the one registered voter cast some 16,000 votes in his favour as a mark of how impressed he was by Blackadders manifesto. i'm not keen on quoting David Cameron(?), but he's right - twitter is not the UK electorate.

i think Labour has a great deal to learn from Corbyn, had a credible leader - so not Miliband - stood in 2015 on Corbyns domestic/economic policies i think he'd have got a 50 seat majority and lost nothing like the number of seats in Scotland. however Corbyn is incredibly vunerable on his defence/overseas policies, he has a great deal of baggage with respect to his dealings with very questionable groups and causes from his years in the wilderness, and his choice of shadow cabinet allies suggests a complete disconnect with the electorate outside his political circle. which is the vast majority of the electorate.

a friend - a Labour friend - made a rather good sumnation: Corbyn has, for 30 years, been making the same speach to the same people and getting the same response. his years in the wilderness have not prepared him for an electorate wider than that.

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Response to Ironing Man (Reply #19)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 10:18 AM

20. I don't agree

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Response to Ironing Man (Reply #19)

Mon Oct 26, 2015, 06:05 AM

21. I concur with your assessment

I very much understand why Corbyn won, and have a lot of sympathy with Corbyn supporters, but equally I can't blind myself to Jeremy Corbyn's faults and weaknesses.

Whilst Corbyn is making some progress on a few of Labours major problems, there are other major problems that haven't gone away at all, and in some cases are getting worse. Labour is still in open civil war, and all too often comes across as being in a state of disorganised chaos. As the Tories proved in the 1990's, that is not a recipe for success.

I've been worried for a number of years about the growing disconnect between the Labour party and everyone else, and the election of Corbyn can be attributed in no small part to the Parliamentary Labour Party having lost touch with everyone else in the Labour movement. Now we have a situation where Labour increasingly looks like something of a circular firing squad, with various factions with names that resemble team names from The Apprentice such as Progress, Momentum, Compass and Labour First looking to fight each other rather than engage with the outside world.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 23, 2015, 05:55 AM

16. If he's hope

why didn't he run for leader earlier? Then the armed forces would have disbanded and the UK would be like Costa Rica.

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Response to Jeneral2885 (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 23, 2015, 07:18 AM

17. You've asked before, and you have been answered

He backed John McDonnell, then Diane Abbott in 2010.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10888315

So from this post we can see that you don't bother reading replies to your threads. Which begs the question, why are you even posting here when you don't take any notice of the replies?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #17)

Fri Oct 23, 2015, 08:05 AM

18. ...

he's on 'transmit'. he doesn't do interaction.

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