Issue 16:2015 08 2015:letters

20 August 2015


Mr Corbyn’s priorities


Yesterday, as a registered supporter of the Labour Party I received an email outlining the offerings of each of the 4 leadership candidates, and 5 deputy leadership candidates. Here is Jeremy Corbyn’s:

We can win in 2020, but only if we spend the next five years building a movement – putting forward a vision for a new kind of politics: honest, kinder and more caring. The choice in this leadership election is whether we reject austerity and set out a positive vision for a modern economy in which we all prosper. This is an historic moment: you have the power to change politics.

It was the only one of the 9 statements which did not contain the words “I” and “me”.

I enjoyed John Watson’s article “A Matter of Momentum”. But I take issue with his analysis of the government’s “reform” agenda. “Reform” is a nice positive word, which is why the government forbade its use to describe the clearly reformist Alternative Vote proposals in 2011. The “reform” that Mr Watson refers to covers a number of policies which are either more of the same aimed at increasing the pressure on the poor and vulnerable or are mere fine words. Where is the evidence that this government has done anything to reduce tax avoidance or that they will do anything to tackle tax evasion?

The 2015 general election demonstrated that many people thought that they could trust the Tories to preserve their living standards at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. These voters do not have a reform agenda and are probably bemused by the government’s sterile aktionismus around the health and education services and the provision of housing. Their priority is to stay in a job and keep the barbarians from their gates.

Jeremy Corbyn’s priority appears to be to effect real improvements to core services and improve the lot of needy. He need have no fear of the Tories shooting those foxes. His best chance is that the government’s gormless policies will convince a majority of the electorate that their life chances will be better under a kinder and more caring regime. I wonder if Ken Clarke spotted that.


Don Urquhart

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