Ig­nore the slurs, Cor­byn has put the heart back into Labour

The Herald - - OPINION - KEVIN MCKENNA

YOU can never be cer­tain about these things but I think my mem­ber­ship of the Labour Party would have en­dured if I hadn’t be­come a jour­nal­ist. There would have been rocky mo­ments along the way in­clud­ing the gross be­trayal of the party and its val­ues by the Scot­tish Labour lead­er­ship dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum on Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

There were valid rea­sons rooted in the in­ter­na­tional strug­gle against ex­treme cap­i­tal­ism to sup­port the Union and I’m not hav­ing any non­sense from Scot­tish na­tion­al­ists who would dis­pute that. The shame for Scot­tish Labour is that they chose in­stead to de­ploy the shrill and dis­hon­est oblo­quy of the Con­ser­va­tives in de­nounc­ing the en­tire in­de­pen­dence move­ment by de­pict­ing it as anti-english, di­vi­sive and re­pug­nant. Worse than this; they as­sem­bled a posse to hunt down any Labour sup­port­ers who were think­ing of vot­ing Yes and drove them into the arms of the SNP for good.

And I sim­ply can­not abide Scot­tish Labour’s Baron Class who ac­cepted seats in the House of Lords in or­der to main­tain the life­style and priv­i­leges they had ac­cu­mu­lated in the ser­vice of the party. At a time when the party in Scot­land needed them most they went look­ing for a fur coat in the House of Lords or used their con­tacts to en­rich them­selves in cor­po­rate fi­nance, ad­vis­ing the su­per-rich how to hang on to their money.

But I would have stayed loyal to the party, for how can you turn your back on an in­sti­tu­tion which handed the keys of this king­dom to my Ir­ish for­bears flee­ing star­va­tion and per­se­cu­tion by the Bri­tish state. The Labour Party gave them back their self-re­spect and dig­nity and then brought forth leg­is­la­tion to help them make some­thing of them­selves. The Tories strove to deny them this and, judg­ing by the pub­lic sen­ti­ments of many among the dim class of 2018, they still would. My fam­ily’s loy­alty to Labour runs deep and is rooted in grat­i­tude and ad­mi­ra­tion for the eman­ci­pa­tion of mil­lions of peo­ple like them.

My faith would have been tested by the Tony Blair ex­per­i­ment af­ter it be­came clear that he was in it for the few and not the many (un­less we’re talk­ing about his ex­pand­ing prop­erty port­fo­lio). Cer­tainly, those first two or three years af­ter 1997 were heady in­deed as it seemed for a few glo­ri­ous mo­ments that Bri­tain might never again be gov­erned by Tories or at least not the hard-right genus that has dis­fig­ured and dam­aged Bri­tain to­day. But when it be­came clear that he would not re­peal Mar­garet Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws and that he would be kiss­ing bankers’ fun­da­ments when he ought to have been kick­ing them we knew that he was an op­por­tunist and a con­juror of cheap po­lit­i­cal tricks.

The tragic in­ter­lude of Gor­don Brown, when we felt we were watch­ing a lat­ter­day King Lear is best for­got­ten. So, too, is the uned­i­fy­ing stretch of Ed Miliband who sim­ply didn’t have it in him to face down the Blairite ca­reerists and lick­spit­tles who were pledged never to rock the good ship cap­i­tal­ism lest all those juicy City di­rec­tor­ships should sud­denly van­ish into thin air. For the sake of loy­alty to the party that led us out of poverty I would have stuck it out, though. And that is why there will be no end to my grat­i­tude to Jeremy Cor­byn.

This man freed the Labour Party from the clutches of the fakes and the er­mine-clad false prophets and those who ac­qui­esced in the ger­ry­man­der­ing of wealth in this coun­try. He has res­cued the word So­cial­ism which Mr Blair had cast out and re­cov­ered its virtue. In pledg­ing to loosen the grip of the fi­nanciers who have in­flu­enced the UK’S eco­nomic pol­icy and who en­sure that the rich must al­ways come first Mr Cor­byn has re­vived the dream of the party founders who strove to “se­cure for the work­ers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their in­dus­try and the most eq­ui­table dis­tri­bu­tion thereof that may be pos­si­ble upon the ba­sis of the com­mon own­er­ship of the means of pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion, and ex­change, and the best ob­tain­able sys­tem of pop­u­lar ad­min­is­tra­tion and con­trol of each in­dus­try or ser­vice”.

The elites who have al­ways held sway in the UK and who have presided over a huge poverty and health in­equal­ity gap know the real deal when they see it. To them Mr Cor­byn is their worst night­mare and the Labour leader should be qui­etly pleased at the smear cam­paigns they have or­gan­ised to stop his progress to­wards 10 Down­ing Street. In three years he has been called ev­ery­thing from a se­cret Soviet, a Cze­choslo­vakian spy and an Ir­ish Repub­li­can sym­pa­thiser. It seems that while the UK elites can make deals with all of these in pri­vate for the greater good of the realm Mr Cor­byn is re­viled for seek­ing to un­der­stand their points of view.

The ut­terly un­founded ac­cu­sa­tion that he is anti-semitic has formed the nu­cleus of the lat­est cam­paign to de­stroy Mr Cor­byn. David Rosen­berg of the Jewish So­cial­ists’ Group said this week: “Any act of anti-semitism from which­ever quar­ter angers me, but I am equally out­raged by those who cyn­i­cally play games with ac­cu­sa­tions of an­ti­semitism for party po­lit­i­cal or other pur­poses.” Mr Rosen­berg knows that many who are cast­ing this slur at Mr Cor­byn care as lit­tle about anti-semitism as they do about dis­crim­i­na­tion against any other mi­nor­ity, but if it can be fash­ioned into some­thing to dis­credit this man who is the sum of all their fears then it is fair game.

Some­times it can get to be a lit­tle chilly in mod­ern Labour cir­cles if, like me, you up­hold the right to life of un­born chil­dren and if you ad­mire the demo­cratic state of Is­rael, land­locked and sur­rounded as it is by klep­toc­ra­cies who want to re­move it from the face of God’s earth. Cer­tainly the Labour Party must be more vig­i­lant in jet­ti­son­ing those anti-semites in its midst who shel­ter un­der the wider cover of sup­port for Pales­tine.

It would be wrong and dis­hon­est of me to ac­cuse Boris John­son of racism sim­ply be­cause he has rubbed shoul­ders on so­cial me­dia or in­ad­ver­tently shared plat­forms with some darker el­e­ments on the Tory scare­crow fringe. I de­tect a sim­i­lar dis­hon­esty at play in the lat­est grotesque de­pic­tion of Jeremy Cor­byn.

Cor­byn has freed the Labour Party from the clutches of the fakes and the er­mineclad false prophets

„ Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn has faced a cam­paign of ‘ut­terly un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions that he is anti-semitic’

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