Don’t you kind of yearn for the days when it was the SNP that the media told us was a sinister cult? Now we’ve actually got real cult at the heart of British politics, and the sound of silence is deafening. Because when you’ve got people chanting Oooooh Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-Brexit rally, such as we’ve seen at the Labour party conference, what you’ve got is the replacement of reality with a blind and counterfactual faith. When you’re hoping that a man who is opposed to the Single Market, the Customs Union, and freedom of movement is the hero who will keep the country in the Single Market, the Customs Union, and preserve freedom of movement, that’s every bit as cultish as the belief that you can cure a skin condition by lighting a candle and setting fire to a tub of exfoliant before a wee statue of the god of plooks. Which looks suspiciously like Nigel Farage spouting custard, but that’s a different blog post.
Jeremy Corbyn isn’t going to save us from Brexit. That’s like expecting Bargain Hunt to save you from cheaply made afternoon television. In much the same way, with Jeremy people are buying some knocked off beige relic from the 1970s in the hope that it’s going to restore their fortunes. Corbynism is the avocado toilet suite of politics. It seemed so terribly modern and on-trend at the time, but it’s only after you install it that you realise how tacky it is, and how expensive it’s going to be to get rid of.
Corbyn’s Labour is every bit as guilty as the Tories of peddling a backwards looking nostalgia as the balm to Britain’s wounds, they only differ in the decade they offer. The Tories are trying to sell us their vision of the 1910s, or the 1710s in the case of Jacob Rees-Mogg, when the upper classes still ruled unchallenged and the working classes knew their place. Labour are trying to take us back to the statism and centralism of the 1970s, because that worked out so well the first time round. 1970s nostalgia appeals to millennials, because they weren’t around then and don’t appreciate how crap it all was. That’s your choice in British politics these days, a plastic version of Downton Abbey where most of us are stuck downstairs, or a 1970s disco with a glitterball that doesn’t spin and no admittance to anything foreign.
Jeremy Corbyn is promising a slew of policies that seem very attractive. He wants to renationalise the railways. He wants strict controls on rents in order to tackle a bloated housing market that makes it too expensive for young people to own a home of their own. He signalled the death of Blairism and promised an end to austerity. But over it all hovered the unpleasantly coloured toilet suite of Brexit, threatening to flush away all the policies that benefit the poor and the low paid in a sewer of economic catastrophe. For all the fine words, Labour remains as chaotic and confused about Brexit as the Tories. Jeremy wants rid of the Tories – but not just yet, then they can take the blame for the disaster that’s unfolding.
Jeremy desperately wants the Brexit that most of his supporters are desperate to avoid, because then he won’t be constrained by EU rules putting the hems on his socialism. Jeremy is clearly not content with the kind of social democracy to be found in Scandinavia, which begs the question of what exactly is it that he he wants to do that requires the UK to cut itself off from the single market, the customs union, and to put and end to freedom of movement.
There’s little on offer for Scotland from Corbyn’s Labour party, other than carping about how the Scottish Parliament needs to use the powers it’s already got to reduce poverty and inequality and improve the economy. Those would be the powers over macroeconomic levers that Labour refused to allow to be devolved. Labour refused to allow corporation tax, inheritance tax or fuel duty to be devolved. Labour won’t allow the level of personal allowances for income tax or national insurance to be within the remit of Holyrood. Labour refused to consider the devolution of broadcasting. Labour stuck in its heels and insisted that immigration must remain reserved. Labour tied the hands of the Scottish Parliament behind its back, and now they’re complaining that it’s not punching the Tories. And what extra powers does Jeremy Corbyn want to see being delivered to the Scottish Parliament? Absolutely none at all. He’s as centralist as Thatcher.
Meanwhile Kezia Dugdale, who like Robbie Williams is far more interesting and unpredictable as a solo artiste than she was when she was in the band, has come over all Lib Dem and is calling for a second referendum on the EU. It was only six months ago that Kezia was insisting that the public were fed up with voting in divisive referendums, but now she no longer has to give a toss what Anas Sarwar or Neil Findlay say she’s suddenly realised that people aren’t as fed up as she thought. It’s just that they were fed up with Anas and Neil, but then that’s nothing new.
The branch office in Scotland remains as divided and dysfunctional as ever. It now appears that Kezia jumped before she was pushed. There are reports that there was a plot to oust her. Alex Rowley, the deputy leader, was also caught on tape stating his preference for Richard Leonard over Anas Sarwar, when as interim leader of the accountancy unit he’s supposed to be neutral. Labour in Scotland spend far more time and energy fighting with one another. They hate each other even more than the hate the SNP. Protecting Scotland from the consequences of Tory policies scarcely gets a look in. The future that British politics has in store for Scotland is becoming clear. We’ll be out of Europe, out of power, out of money, out of work, out of favour, and out of our minds.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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