Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Labour Party

Possibly before this blog post is complete the Labour Party will have elected Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader.

If so then my initial reaction is not party based but gladness that a bold and responsible national post can still be won by a man (and this must apply to women too) of my own slightly aging generation.

Having said that the fact that the Labour London mayorial candidacy was not won by Tessa Jowell who did so much to help London win the right to hold the  2012 Olympic Games here is a shame. Instead the candidacy was won by Sadiq Khan who like Jeremy Corbyn  is  rather left of Tessa Jowell in the political spectrum. Personally I would have preferred a great woman candidate  anyway for a change.

The Catholic newspaper "The Tablet" recently had an article written by a  lifelong Labour supporter saying that unlike the Tories who have already had (unsuccessful) catholic party leaders Labour has not and so the commentator suggests will never have. Initially I thought that he must be wrong as Tony Blair was a catholic but upon reflecting further I recalled that Mr Blair's conversion to Rome took place only after his stint as Labour leader and  Prime Minister ended. If correct this comment would be sad and even shaming. I suppose the very sad  Scottish religious divide could give rise to a backlash of some kind though the Labour party was  left with only one Scottish MP following the May 2015 UK general election in any event  and religious leanings I am sure were not at all a factor in that.

Jeremy Corbyn's election will in my humble opinion not assist the Labour party in flourishing  any more than  the election of a left wing government in Greece is at least so far, assisting either their left wing party or more importantly  the majority of Greek people to flourish.

The Indy and Guardian indicate that young people in particular have become disillusioned with main stream politicians so look to a left wing back bencher  for relief.

My own view is that  politicians have to be  realistic. Benefits for the population  are welcome especially for those who cannot help themselves and left wingers capitalise (pun intended) on that instinct for human generosity to gain power. The difficulty that then arises and with which Greece is currently having to contend, is that the money for such benefits is limited. Of course one can argue that the wealthy should be taxed to ensure that the poor can be provided for. Indeed that famous UK Labour Prime minister Harold Wilson increased tax on such people "super-tax" I recollect it was called, to c.80% yet that did not prevent his government having to do then what the Greeks are doing now, of going cap in hand to the IMF for loans.

Loans morally  have to be repaid and one of the  main difference in practice between left and right wingers in the UK boils down to whether  one should put off repayment to the next generation (left wing) or start paying the loans off now (right wing). The put off repaying argument can be assisted by borrowing so much that the loans become  impossible to repay so that in effect they have to be forgiven. I suppose if one borrows from one's enemies and later argues that repayment is impossible that might succeed but at what moral cost?

Sadly living within one's means as a nation is the only moral answer. Creating more and selling more abroad as the Germans illustrate so well is the real solution which in the UK both left and right need to prioritise so that the whole country including in particular the weak and poor, can flourish and pay its way in the world rather than rely on the world to  subsidise us.

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