Article: John Lynch Sodium Haze
We live in strange and curious times.
For decades the very notion of left wing policies within the Labour Party was sure to bring a swift denial from a gaggle of fixers and spin doctors, anxiously looking over their shoulder lest a spy from a Murdoch owned newspaper might happen to hear the dreaded ‘S’ word…’Socialism’
Labour phased out the colour red as it was too suggestive of the socialist roots of the party. The optimism of 1997 faded fast. We had the Iraq War, the deregulation of the banks, the PFI scandals, the endless courting of “aspirational” voters and briefings to the corporate media using slogans borrowed from UKIP.
I was so enthused by it all I hadn’t voted for Labour in twenty years and saw no likelihood of ever doing so again. In a world of Blue Labour MP’s, Orange Book Liberals, mauve signs and pink buses – all I ever really wanted was a RED Labour M.P. with something meaningful to say about social justice and cooperation.
Then Jeremy Corbyn – the guy who was booked to be a decorative curio at the coronation of another Tony Blair sound-a-like went and bloody won the leadership election he was supposed to be adorning… the media and the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) were aghast.
For Jeremy is the real deal – a thirty year activist for… Socialist causes, no wonder we all feel dizzy.
Of course the PLP and the media resolved to get rid of him from the outset and so now we have a second leadership election in ten months and all the hopes of the right wing hustlers within Labour now rest on Owen Smith.
But wait! Owen has suddenly had a Road To Damascus moment and has abruptly converted to supporting a wide range of polices that look and sound exactly like the sort of thing that…Jeremy Corbyn believes in.
Confused? Don’t be – he is playing the simplest card in the political deck.
Remember when David Cameron promised “I’ll cut the deficit – not the NHS” – and then went on to balloon the deficit and cut the NHS.
Remember when David Cameron promised there would be no more top down reorganisations of the NHS… and then his government made that their first job after the election?
Remember when Nick Clegg made that promise about student tuition fees?
I could go on, but you get the point, Politicians in the modern era know that they don’t get elected on what they are going to do – but on what they say they are going to do.
We all know that if Jeremy Corbyn says he is going to do a thing – he will. We can look at his decades of activism, his voting record, his work on behalf of his constituents and draw our own conclusions.
So what we should think of the abrupt Corbynisation of Owen Smith?.
Should we ignore his role as a consultant for the large pharmaceutical firm Pfizer – a company with much to gain from the privatisation of the NHS. Indeed he deployed the “choice is a good thing” argument when sending press releases for Pfizer.
Should we ignore his support for the renewal of Trident?
He said he didn’t know if he would have voted against the Iraq War – but we do know that he voted for airstrikes in Iraq and Libya. In the same interview he seemed very relaxed about private involvement in the NHS and more PFI.
He seems pretty relaxed about austerity in this article.
He likes to attend the occasional arms fair which might explain his support for Trident.
Apparently Pfizer were “extremely supportive” of his decision to enter parliament and perhaps unsurprisingly was busy batting for them in parliament while drawing a six figure salary from them.
We might have hoped that he would have opposed the tories heinous welfare reform bill – he didn’t.
This is an odd track record for someone who has suddenly embraced the politics and policies of his opponent.
Its a trick!
Its blindingly obvious why Mr Smith has flip flopped and become an overnight left winger – he has been told that the climate within the Labour movement won’t support a right wing platform so he has cynically co-opted whatever he thinks might get him elected – just like David Cameron and Nick Clegg before him.
Do we think Owen Smith will retain his left-wing feathers if he were to win this leadership election – I have a hunch the blu-tak would fall off very quickly!
What Owen Smith is doing is desperate and an insult to the collective intelligence of every member of the Labour Party – regardless of their political positioning.
If Owen Smith wins the leadership election he will abruptly drop all this socialist sounding rhetoric and move to ensure that nobody of the calibre of Jeremy Corbyn ever gets to a position of influence within the Labour Party again – don’t let him get away with it.
See also: Follow Sodium Haze on Facebook
Reporting on culture travel, creative events and social issues.
Why not subscribe to our mailing list for some occasional updates from 55factory.