Saturday, 12 September 2015

Gwynoro on Jeremy

Gwynoro Jones does not allow comments on his blog, so I shall post my reaction here.

In his sketch of the background to the post-war splits in the Labour Party, he fails to point out that, attractive as Hugh Gaitskell's democratic socialism was to many in the centre ground of British politics, his was a divisive, cliquey, leadership. Harold Wilson, who succeeded him, was said to refer sneeringly to "the Hampstead Garden Suburb set". Wilson was successful because though he came in from the socialist Bevanite wing of the party he made the necessary compromises to unite the party, so far as it can ever be united.

The conservative/socialist split widened again with the election of Jim Callaghan and it has never been healed. The party in the country is more socialist than its MPs, many of whom have been parachuted in by the apparatchiks in Westminster, and is suspicious of them.

Gwynoro hits the point that so many commentators have missed when he writes:

Corbyn has captured and articulated far better than the other three candidates the public mood and the increasing clamour for more transparency; fairness; justice; freedom and equality; defending human rights and responding to the humanitarian crisis; pursuing a wider understanding of international development issues; the ever present apprehension over the environment and climate change and concerns over deepening world poverty and so on. It is interesting that these are issues that motivate Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrat too.

The difference is that Tim leads a party which has shown itself to be sound on the economy. Corbyn will not succeed with the wider British electorate unless he disowns both Gordon Brown's record at the Treasury and also a state socialist approach to industry and commerce.

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