Monday, 24 August 2015

The future is not the past

Perhaps the most dishonest aspect of the current debate about Jeremy Corbyns leadership bid is the attempt to try and base all analysis of the likely outcome solely on what happened to Michael Foot.

Oddly no one has drawn any analogies with the Attlee govt which created the NHS, Nationalised the Railways and started the long haul of repairing the UK after WW2.

If you look at what Corbyn proposes, much of it is resonant of the Attlee recovery plan. It would however be wrong to draw too many conclusions. The past is never the future. Just about everyone I discuss Corbyns plans with agree that he is right about restoring student grants. Many also agree with renationalising railways . Regular users are fed up with poor service due to chaotic management and policies which place shareholders profits before passenger service.

Neither of these scenarios existed when Foot was leader. Whilst the left are urged to learn the lessons of Foot, no one asks the same of the Labour right. Where are the voices saying that the split thAt created the SDP was a disaster and it gave the Tories a free run at elections for a decade.

Labour isn't in a mess due to was the Labour right which lost trust with an illegal war in Iraq. It was the Labour right which lost the student vote with tuition fees. It was the Labour right which lumbered the NHS with the huge cost of PPI. 

The biggest lie of all though is the lie that the 2008 economic meltdown was due to the UK paying too much in benefits. What happened in 2008 was the result of global financial deregulation which allowed banks to gamble with money they didn't have. The cost of baling them out may have meant a period of austerity was necessary, but sadly it is benefit claimants who pay for the banks irresponsiblility.

What I find even more disgusting is how the govt are rushing to offload bank shares. Gordon Brown got pilloried in the right wing press for selling Gold reserves. Gold prices subsequently rose. Every commentator expects Lloyds share price to significantly improve over the next few years, but Osborne is being congratulated for selling the shares. Surely a prudent chancellor would keep the shares, pocket the dividends and see the value rise. That is not the Tory way.

We never hear talk from the Tories of how they flogged utility companies cheap,allowing foreign conglomerates to fleece UK customers and take huge profits home with them. Corbyn is derided by the right for opposing this but how can allowing huge monopolies to be run by greedy foreign canoes be a good thing.

The future is not the past. None of the issues Corbyn seeks to address existed when Foot was in charge. The Tories and the Labour right are oblivious to the issues, perhaps because they are doing very nicely out of it. That is why I expect Corbyn to do a far better job than the press are making our.

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