September 23, 2016


This could be the end of the Labour party : It has no way forward even as a credible opposition so long as it follows Corbyn's vicious, vacuous creed (Nick Cohen, 24 September 2016, The Spectator)

The last upsurge of left-wing militancy in the 1970s had Eric Hobsbawm, E.P. Thompson and other formidable socialist thinkers behind it. Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty and Danny Blanchflower looked like their successors. They too have produced formidable work on how to make society fairer. They agreed to help Corbyn, but walked away after discovering that Corbynism is just a sloganising personality cult: an attitude, rather than a programme to reform the country. That attitude is banal in content, conspiracist in essence, utopian in aspiration and vicious in practice. [...]

Corbyn's banality, which has driven serious leftists away, is not the unmitigated political disaster it seems either. As with so many who call themselves socialists, it has let him embrace Islamist movements, which are fascist in their political outlook, and Russia's conservative and kleptomaniac autocracy. This has been my left-wing generation's greatest betrayal, and its hypocrisy and cynicism is exacting a heavy political price. Yet the banality that allows disgraceful alliances also ensures that the far left does not have to commit to a specific domestic programme.

Utopias are always banal. Corbyn's Utopia allows his supporters to wallow in the warmth of self-righteousness. They want to end austerity. Stop greed. Bring peace. How they do it is not their concern. Practicalities are dangerous. They take you away from utopia and back into the messy, Blairite realm of compromises and second-bests.

Anyone who knows history knows that utopianism can justify viciousness. By his supporters' reasoning, leftists who are against Corbyn must be in favour of poverty, greed and war. All tactics are justified in the struggle against such monsters.

Just as Trump is nothing more than a reaction against W, so too is Corbyn just a reaction against Blair.  Reactionaries don't win in the Anglosphere.

Labour of the negative (Roger Scruton, 9 Sep 2016, The Spectator)

The current crisis in the Labour party has many causes; but the principal one, it seems to me, is that the party is now led in Parliament by someone who thinks that he is answerable only to those who voted for him, and neither to his wider constituency in the country -- the constituency of Labour voters -- nor to the institution in which he sits. He is not entirely to blame for this. The rules for the election of the leader were changed by Ed Miliband so as to bypass the parliamentary party, a move that reflected Miliband's general indifference towards institutions that gave a voice to those who disagreed with him.

The result is that the parliamentary Labour party is nominally under the control of someone who sits silent and impotent on the bench of the House of Commons certain only of one fact, which is that he is the elected leader. It is as though Parliament and its offices were of no interest to him; yet there is no procedure for removing him other than the one that will ensure that he is re-elected. When, a century ago, the members of the parliamentary Conservative party voted in a way of which their leader Andrew Bonar Law disapproved, he was asked what he felt, and he replied: 'I must follow them, I am their leader.' The wisdom of this remark would be lost on Jeremy Corbyn.

Posted by at September 23, 2016 9:00 AM