Political Discourse is Dead and Jeremy Corbyn Killed it.
“Oh look, this isn’t an argument”
“Yes it is!”
“No it isn’t, it’s just a contradiction”
“No it isn’t”
“Yes it is! An argument isn’t just contradiction, An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition”
“Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!”
“Yes but it isn't just saying 'no it isn't'.”
“Yes it is!”
“No it isn't! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.”
“No it isn’t”
And so Monty Python managed to perfectly summarise what would become political discourse in the United Kingdom.
As I write we find ourselves in the midst of Conference season. Each party comes together to discuss policy and establish why their party should take the reigns of leading Britain into the future. Only this year I cannot help but have a bad taste in my mouth.
The Liberal Democrats fell ever more into obscurity, Labour seems more and more like a cult of personality by each passing day and my own party seems desperate to pretend that there aren’t crippling internal divisions over Brexit. Never in my lifetime have I felt politics was so toxic. There was a time not long ago when the biggest controversy was how the leader of the opposition miss-ate a bacon sandwich.
Now we find ourselves at a stage where a Jewish event at the Labour conference was abandoned following a bombing scare, Palestine ranks more important of an issue than social care of the most vulnerable in society amongst Labour’s membership and speakers inform us that a proper education will “wipe out Tories”. Because clearly voting Conservative must mean you have some form of mental deficiency. Here I was thinking that everyone was justified to their own beliefs and that decisions should be made through reasoned, rational debate. If this is the “gentler, kinder politics” that we were promised upon Corbyn’s election as leader I cannot help but feel I misunderstood the definitions of ‘gentler’ and ‘kinder’.
Upon Corbyn’s election to labour leader, I had hope. I thought that he may represent an actual break from the dogmatic yah boo politics that has plagued our country for so long. Perhaps he really would break the mould. Three years and numerous scandals later here I sit knowing that I could not have been more wrong.
I cannot fault Corbyn for most of his ideals. In the end a fairer society for the many and not the few is something that we can all get behind. While I believe Socialism is far too idealistic to ever work in practice I can at least sympathise with the moralistic aspects of it. When it comes down to it I believe that many aspects such as welfare for those in economic strife, investment in education and a shared responsibility for taking care of those most vulnerable are all an essential part of a functioning society.
What I can fault him for is his hypocrisy. He calls out the Government for selling arms for Saudi Arabia and yet he appears on Iranian state television while Iran sponsors Rebels in Iraq and Syria. He claims to stand for the many and yet under his watch anti-Semitic violence amongst Labour members has spiked. He is a man who claims to want to break the power of Media Moghuls and yet he has in the past endorsed Russia Today as ‘unbiased’. I could also mention the various holocaust deniers, Hezbollah and Hama members that he has shared platforms with in the past but there are many other articles that detail these events.
Then there is his handling of Brexit. His ‘have my cake and eat it too’ approach has left me infuriated. Labour’s policy on Brexit has been at best vague. Now they are calling for a second referendum on the final deal but will not allow remain to be an option. This is entirely pointless as it will either result in some form of the Chequers deal or a No-Deal scenario. I.e. what will inevitably happen either way.
In the End I am frustrated as Corbyn more than anyone else in British politics as, in my opinion, he has contributed more than anyone else to the creation of the current hostile atmosphere. His rhetoric and the rhetoric of his colleagues is more akin to those of 19th century revolutionaries than serious modern politicians. They have indoctrinated millions into the belief that anyone who votes Conservative is somehow morally degenerate. They don’t even bother to examine concepts such as hard work being rewarded or being fiscally responsible so that future generations do not pay the price for our greed. Rather they sell the notion that we enjoy austerity. That we enjoy seeing people use food banks. That we enjoy seeing wealth gaps widen. We do not. The only difference is that we are seeking sustainable long-term changes.
Yes, it may not have the immediate gratification of spending our way out of a crisis. But it lays the foundations for a society where we no longer go through cycles of economic booms and spending cuts under the Conservatives followed by spending booms and recession under Labour.