42 thoughts on “Naomi Klein interviews Jeremy Corbyn

  1. Pingback: Naomi Klein interviews Jeremy Corbyn | The Most Revolutionary Act

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  20. Monday 25th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Arts

    The foundations for a progressive society were laid after the second world war and we should draw inspiration from that period now, says HARRY LESLIE SMITH in this conclusion to his new book Don’t Let My Past Be Your Future

    POLITICAL talk at the beginning of April 2017 was of how the Tories could govern Britain for a generation and that Labour, unless it became a party that favoured more right-wing economic policies under the guise of middle-of-the-road politics, was doomed to obscurity.

    However, we live in the most unsettled of political times and, because Jeremy Corbyn harnessed the hopes and dreams of the youth vote, Labour was able to get its largest vote share since 2001. It surprised everyone, including me.

    Six months ago, I was doubtful that Corbyn could survive until autumn 2017. I could not imagine then how our political landscape could change so dramatically.

    An evening frost had gathered on my living-room window pane while a gas fire kept me warm. The last thing I could have imagined was that when gardens were again ripe with the scent of spring flowers, Theresa May and her Tory government would be hanging onto power by their fingernails because of Jeremy Corbyn and his common-sense revolution.

    In those cold months of winter, I felt somewhat despondent because Labour then was doing terribly in the polls. My confidence by that time had been tested by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and I was worried that my support, although sincere, might be as misguided as so many of the paid pundits suggested.

    It just didn’t look like Jeremy Corbyn would ever be permitted to click with the electorate.

    He was pilloried by both the right-wing and moderate press, and he seemed a man prone to blundering and looking ill-prepared. Prime Minister’s Questions at the beginning of the year had become an agony to watch as Corbyn seemed ill-suited to take on the Tories. It was as if he was playing by the Queensberry rules while everyone against him was using knuckle dusters.

    I was beginning to think Corbyn just didn’t have what it took to be a leader. I was beginning to fear that the politics for the many and not the few had been defeated through our support for him.

    But even though I had these misgivings, I kept them to myself because I didn’t believe that attacking Corbyn or his team advanced the cause of social and economic progress. No, all it did was play into the hands of those who are opposed to a fair deal for all Britain’s citizens.

    I am glad I held my tongue because, even though I still wasn’t sure about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership during the first few months of 2017, he showed that there is truth in the saying “cometh the hour, cometh the man.”

    Theresa May and her aides gambled all their political capital on the notion that the people of Britain saw Jeremy Corbyn as unfit to lead Britain. The polls certainly indicated that Corbyn was disliked and not trusted because, at the time when the Prime Minister called her election, Labour was down 20 points. It was predicted that the party could lose between 100 to 200 seats.

    At the start of the campaign I remember feeling frustration at Jeremy Corbyn for appearing so blase when the news showed Labour on its death bed.

    Yet the campaign became like the Aesop fable of the race between the tortoise and hare because it turned into a competition of endurance and trust.

    Theresa May and her handlers treated the 2017 general election like it was a presidential campaign, which is perhaps why, at her first appearance in Bolton, she was brought by helicopter as if she were a populist president in a Latin American nation visiting a secluded jungle outpost.

    From the start, her election team of cynical operators like the Australian Lynton Crosby or Jim Messina, on loan from the American Democrat Party, hid Theresa May from public scrutiny by keeping her away from the leaders’ debate or meeting ordinary voters.

    Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, was seen everywhere by massive, enthusiastic crowds speaking across the country like FDR did to a depression-ravaged United States. Labour on social media changed the Tories’ narrative that this election was about Brexit and made it instead about austerity.

    It made voters think about the dire economic circumstances in which they had been placed because of Tory mismanagement of the economy and society.

    Throughout Britain, Corbyn delivered speeches of passion and popular eloquence because he talked about wanting a government that was for the many and not the few. I saw him transformed during this election from a fringe politician into a national leader.

    Yet it wasn’t until Labour produced its election manifesto that I felt Jeremy Corbyn had a real chance of breaking Theresa May’s commanding lead in the polls. It was a manifesto that I understood would be a game-changer.

    It held for 21st-century voters the same optimism, the same life-changing policies that beguiled me to vote Labour in 1945 at the age of 22.

    Corbyn’s manifesto wasn’t revolutionary: it just contained good and practical policies that would benefit most citizens. It called for things this nation needs, such as the renationalisation of the rail services, as well as an NHS for and by the people. It spoke to the young who have borne the heavy price of austerity by offering free university tuition, a proper housing strategy and a child day-care strategy.

    Moreover, all of these initiatives by Labour were properly costed, whereas the Tory manifesto called for more austerity, greater personal costs for social care, less taxes for the rich and an end to school meals for the disadvantaged as well as a means-tested winter fuel allowance.

    It’s no wonder Theresa May’s working majority was destroyed by the voters on June 8.

    And now, in the wake of her gamble for absolute power in regards to how we exit the EU, Britain has begun Brexit negotiations with a hung parliament in which the Tories must appease the Democratic Unionist Party like an unrequited lover driven to desperation to win the ardour of a disinterested heart.

    This government is a shambles because Theresa May’s greed for power drove her to call an unnecessary election under the pretext that she wanted a strong mandate for a hard Brexit.

    With no majority, May and her government have no mandate or any real directive on Brexit from the people.

    Confidence in the Tory government is as thin and fragile as a shard of ice on a hot day in July. The nation is so unsettled by Theresa May’s leadership that, for the first time since the referendum, over half of voters in a recent YouGov poll now want a second referendum.

    The PM is a wounded political beast and the cuts she received in the 2017 election are deep enough that in time they will prove to be fatal.

    The Queen’s Speech was bereft of most of the policies outlined in the Tories’ election manifesto. Instead, great talk was made of building terminal stations for travel into outer space.

    One thing is certain — Theresa May will never be allowed to fight another election by her party. She is a dead woman walking and it is unlikely that she will survive much longer. The only thing that keeps Theresa May as PM is that the Tories have no-one who can assume the reins and stop this government galloping out of control.

    But when she is replaced by another Tory, whether it is Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom or another who stalks in the shadows, don’t ever believe the Tories if they try to tell you they have changed their stripes. Even if the Tories were to end austerity, it can never really be over until they restore all they took away from us in the last seven years and take back all they gave to the wealthy through tax cuts or privatisation of state assets.

    So, what remains now in the wake of Theresa May’s botched attempt to win glory for herself and greater parliamentary power for the Tories? Without a doubt, we will see another general election very soon and we should accept, owing to the volatility of politics today, that all bets are off. What is essential between now and the next election, if we wish to end austerity and prevent my past becoming your future, is that Labour increases its outreach to the young, the disaffected and the hard-pressed middle class.

    Labour has a real chance of forming the next government and returning economic and social equality back to this country.

    To do so will not be easy. It took almost 30 years to destroy the welfare state and its rebuilding will be a long and arduous task.

    But, as I saw the foundations dug for a progressive society in 1945, I know we can do it again, although only if we don’t succumb to the lure of the Tories and their media, who divide us, cheapen our dignity and make us less civilised.

    Don’t Let My Past Be Your Future is published by Little, Brown, price £14.99

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-bb3e-Harry-Leslie-Smith-We-can-do-it-again#.WclRMMZpEdU

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