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  • Writer's picturechris walsh

What is the problem with Labour

In response to Owen Jones in the guardian, here is my Guardian comment.

The take over of the Labour Party by the old guard of New Labour with Mandelson hovering about like a ghost of times past is both the revenge of the tired old cynical careerists of the Labour machine and Parliamentary Party and also a recipe for disaster - if not at the election then certainly after.

The number of instances when the optimism and dynamism of the young and activist during the first part of Corbyn's leadership festered and died under the weight of the old Blairites in Parliament and at local council level is enormous, as it became clear that their fear was of a radical popular left more than the Tories as they did everything to subvert the momentum of new and popular ideas and enthusiasm. 3 of my children joined their local branches in different parts of the country , got involved and then left in disgust at the ongoing petty machine machinations whose aim was to maintain the old failed guard in power. A classic example was the documentary film following Stephen Kinnock around whose shock and antipathy towards the then leadership when instead of losing they got near to leading a hung Parliament which ended with his wife - a successful European politician had to tell him to shut up live on the TV.

Starmer was elected largely because he said he was standing on the key policies developed by McDonnel and Momentum which addressed real needs and which were by and large very popular ( until people were told they were Labour policies) offered a united blue print after the failure of Corbyn but also Starmer to resolve the Brexit issue in the 2019 election.

Today the country is in disrepair, democracy is under threat, we are living in a corrupt world dominated by billionaires and their media, the city and hedge funds, with ordinary people suffering from low wages, insecure work, inflation, poverty, rising rents and an environment and economy falling apart. Trust in politics is at an all time low, while dissent and trade union rights are under threat from a growing neo police state.

At this time what people need are clear answers which address their real needs, a return to Keynsian economics, the socialisation of privatised industries, a massive social house building programme, children with enough to eat and a decent education, a care and health service that will keep people healthy and alive. In other words something concrete to inspire people. This could and should have been the moment for Starmer to bring this together but he has failed time and time again. The only long term hope of a progressive Britain is with Proportional Representation and a form of a progressive alliance around basic principles. If not then come the election there will be little to inspire people to vote in a Labour government other than current Tory failure and even if they do get in, disillusion will soon set in and after a brief period of repairing the roof the usual landlords ( the Tories) will take back ownership.

It is a time now of great peril and despair and will get worse for at least another year. We need hope but we are given little but tired old frightened Blairite Tory lite puff

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