by Nick Wright
Words of advice to any lefty who, rather than railing against the mainstream media, is prepared to make the arguments.
Challenge reactionary or wrongheaded arguments whenever you read them. Currently the liberal media are engaged in a sustained campaign to lock Labour into a lifetime submission to the EU’s single market and customs union. The bottom line here is that the Labour right wing and the Remain tendency in the media would rather compromise Labour’s chances with its core working class vote than give support to Corbyn’s leadership on this question.
The Guardian only publish longer letters from the great and good. They prefer to publish letters which deal with issues raised by their own contributors. After a period when they seemed open to challenges to their liberal, New Labourish editorial standpoints the Guardian now seems to have stopped publishing my letters.
On most days I just can’t bring myself to read anything other than Steve bell, Adita Chakrabortty and Larry Elliot….but I must steel myself for the struggle.
The Guardian seems happiest with witty, sharply worded and funny letters. So keep them short. I also detect a certain impatience among Guardian staff with the more intransigent of the New Labour ideologues and less reflexive of Israel’s partisans on the payroll. So feel free to take potshots at their more brazen idiocies.
I also detect a new accommodation to the realities in the Labour Party. Shamelessly erasing their earlier support for policies like Gordon Brown’s infamous PFI schemes Guardian journalists follow the example of those Labour politicians and trade union leaders who did everything to bury the warnings the left, and especially the communists in the unions, gave about the consequences of the surrender to the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties and the austerity which flowed from the cuts in public spendinhg which ensued.
Now they are silent about their earlier errors. No one nowadays seems prepared to back up their earlier defence of PFI or the outsourcing of public services to dodgy firms like Carillon and Capita.
Happily the Independent have started publishing stuff from me. Two in two days in fact.
The first challenged Rabbil Sikdar’s shamefaced defence of Blairism. The second took issue with Chuka Umunna’s farcical bid to ingratiate himself with the left. Here they are:
The mistakes that (New) Labour made, as detailed by Rabbil Sikdar (Independent 29 January), cannot be separated from its ‘successes’. It was the embrace of the public expenditure limits that flowed from the Maastricht, and later, the Lisbon treaties that led to Labour making the Tory PFI scheme its signature policy.
Brown’s policies enabled increases in social spending principally by taxing City revenues but this cannot be separated from the consequences of the finance sector deregulation which permitted these enormous flows and led to the 2008 bank crisis.
The consequences of New Labour rescuing bank shareholder value has been a decade of austerity.
This austerity is irredeemably attached in the minds of millions of voters to the policies which flowed from membership of the EU.
Nick Wright Communist Party
We always learn more from our defeats than we do from victory and after the decades in which the fiscal orthodoxy and top-down managerialism which guided New Labour ended Chuka Umunna (Labour needs to stop pretending it’s a party of Marxists versus neoliberals) has now found the insight to celebrate the broad nature of the Labour family.
We don’t have to dig back much further than the immediate post-war years to see evidence that comrade Umunna is in tune with Labour’s better instincts. Labour’s 1943 conference came within a hair’s breadth of agreeing a motion which would have restored the rights of communists to speak, vote and stand for Labour Party office which were lost in the carnival of reaction following the betrayal of the 1926 General Strike.
Where he is wrong is in the suggestion that ‘dependency’ on the state denies individual agency. The main lesson from the reforming Attlee government is that even limited command of state power and ownership of the means of production, exchange and distribution shifted a measure of power and agency to the people. Labour didn’t complete the socialist project but now, under new leadership, we can envisage a state which enables us rather than the wealthy.
Nick Wright Communist Party