I do not, as far as that is a meaningful concept in today’s fragmented politics, consider myself to be of the ‘hard left’. And I am certainly no ‘entryist’, having been a member of the UK Labour party since 1997. In the end, however, I didn’t have too much difficulty deciding to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as the next leader of the party. This has as much to do with what the other candidates were not saying as with what he, Corbyn, was saying. I would have liked to vote for Yvette Cooper as Labour’s first woman leader, and hopefully as Labour’s first woman Prime Minister, but in the end she, like the others, failed to ask the right questions about modern Britain.
Compared to the 1980s, when the Labour party proposed blanket renationalisation and government intervention in industry, all on the background of a noisy balance of power between capital and labour, Corbyn offers to address the overwhelming dominance of financial capital in the modern economy. This dominance has allowed financial interests to ride roughshod over even quite mainstream economic theory about what would be best for our country as a whole. It also sees much of the Labour party unable to articulate or fight for a strategy that meaningfully challenges a government that lies about its priorities, seeks political advantage at the expense of coherent economic or social policy and demonises and punishes non-target voters.
Corbyn may be a man who is naïve in his affiliations and turns out to be insufficiently focused on his goals and lacking in understanding of the organisational necessity required to achieve them – but at least he puts these goals on the agenda. Frankly none of the other candidates have achieved this. To the extent that current Labour MPs or other Labour members do not engage with Corbyn’s questions – whether or not they like his answers – they are admitting their lack of a clear dividing vision to that of the Conservatives and their corporate media allies.