Good news for anyone who thinks there should be a difference between the Labour and Conservative Parties!!
Angela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership contest.
It’s true, the formidable Eagle swooped and shortly retreated thanks to Owen Smith’s challenge to Corbyn. But who exactly is this Owen Smith? and should Corbynites back him?
Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, voted for the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons – in itself an indication that he doesn’t understand the lack of utility of these incredibly expensive warheads, that is, apart from maintaining our ‘special relationship’ (a strange euphemism for our being the submissive sex slave of the American Empire) with the United States of Freedom, Liberty, The American Dream, Police Brutality, Institutional Racism, Hillary Clinton, Fox News and Christian Extremism (America).
However, he used to be a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and has stated that he supports multilateral nuclear disarmament. This is undoubtedly and good thing and would be a vast improvement on our current Prime Minister’s emotional blackmailing of MPs into supporting Trident, as well as most of our government which voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trident.
Smith is sure to try to pose as Corbyn’s heir – a left wing choice with better leadership skills than Corbyn. This means that although he identifies with the values that created Labour (equality, social justice and a new economic system that works for all), he may occasionally support Tory destruction of the quality of life of working people, the LGBTQ community and the disabled, or perhaps he supports the bribery and blackmailing of MPs into shipping a party line – a particular culture of politics epitomised by New Labour and totally adverse to the concept of democracy or the representation of the people.
Corbyn epitimises all the true Labour values, but is mercilessly attacked by the media and his own MPs. He is left-wing. Frightening, I know. As such, it stands to reason that he is attacked by the right-wing media such as The Times, The Standard and The Telegraph, as well as the (what I call) ‘populist right’ media such as The Sun and The Express. All these things I take for granted. But what about the ‘unbiased’ BBC, the centrist Guardian or the left-wing media such as The Independent and The Mirror?
Why should these otherwise respectable news sources favour removing the new leader? Is it perhaps because their wealthy ownership (see James Harding, director of the BBC) fear his rabble-rousing ability. Corbyn may have been a more effective speaker from the back benches than the despatch box, but he will always be able to stir a crowd with speeches such as his ‘real pressure’ speech at the Durham Miners’ Gala, Saturday 9th July 2016. Part of the problem is also that they fail to understand the niche genius of Mr Corbyn’s leadership. It is quickly labelled ‘weak’ because it is unconventional. Not whipping the vote? Weak leadership. Not fighting Brexit on the 10 o’ clock news? Weak Leadership. (Of all MPs, Corbyn gave the most speeches encouraging a remain vote, not that you’d know that).
Here is a politician who finally shakes off the ‘lying politician’ tag. A man who listens to his constituents. A man who allows his party members their OWN opinion. A man who believes politics should be about calm and thorough debate rather than shouting and cheering in the public-school boys jeer-offs that are so common in the House of Commons – a place which well symbolises the British patriarchy and class-stagnation.
Owen Smith is no Corbyn. He may not have the blood of the Iraq war on his hands, and he may be a far superior potential Prime Minister to Angela ‘red Tory’ Eagle or Theresa May. He is even a mild libertarian in certain social issues, or example decriminalising euthanasia (where Corbyn’s stance is unclear) and lowering alcohol tax (where Corbyn agrees) and that the retention of data is not something that the government should largely be able to do (where Corbyn agrees). Corbyn and Smith agree upon many issues: an elected House of Lords, that ID cards are a slippery slope towards a more Orwellian and dangerous brand of socialism, and gay rights.
Truth be told, Owen Smith is not yet a household name, but he seems like a genuine man and a decent MP by his voting record. However, this choice that Labour members face is perhaps more fundamental than that. We have a chance to change the direction of British politics to a kinder and more open, transparent process, away from the spin of Blair and Cameron. We must use our democratic rights to show our support for Corbyn. It’s not like he hasn’t made his policies clear in any case: nationalising rail to control prices and reduce car usage; increasing tax for the very rich in favour of cutting tax for small businesses and startups to tinder entrepeneurialism and reinvigorate our capitalist society with more colour and culture; reforming drug laws; creating transparency for all but the smallest businesses; QE for the people not the banks (an economist I am not, but QE seems very sensible in post-Brexit Britain); revoking crippling student loans; better transport; etc.
Aside from his lobbying past and career politician mentality, Owen Smith seems alright, but quite frankly, Jeremy, you’re the best.