Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #13

Nick Cohen has penned an article in the Observer which is bizarre even by his extraordinary standards. Essentially, Nick seems upset that the Labour Party has made itself electable and that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have successfully, after two years of irresponsible and anti-democratic behaviour by some in the PLP, imposed a measure of discipline and responsibility upon the more fractious of his ranks, even establishing a measure of pragmatic unity over Europe.
He certainly hits the ground running when he says that: “Labour’s new leaders and Labour’s new members appear incompatible” when in fact, the picture is that they are more compatible than at any time in living memory, the whole point surely about the events of the last two years, but why let the truth get in the way of a good aphorism? He then seems to accuse the very people most opposed to Saudi Arabia and most active demanding it be held to account over Yemen (we were on protests about it last week, Nick, were you?) of being apologists for the country whose actions we so vociferously condemn.
He then meanders through mentions of Nazism (the refuge of the evidence-free scoundrel), Britain First and the Ku Klux Klan, the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party in a gloriously nonsensical multi-smear, inflating one man’s plea for George Galloway to be readmitted to the party into a thunderous condemnation of all things Left.
Then it is on to the ‘Brezhnevian regime’ in Cuba, Iran and Saddam Hussein’s ‘national socialism’ in Iraq.
The problem with all this is that it ignores real politicians’ true records. It was politicians of the Left such as Corbyn who supported protests against Saddam Hussein prior to the Iraq War. I am afraid right wingers were nowhere to be seen when socialists were protesting about the bombing of Halabjah. That terrible Mr Corbyn then had the temerity to be absolutely right that the West should not rush at breakneck pace into the most damaging foreign intervention since World War Two.
Nick then wants us to act as if every country in the world is a developed capitalist democracy, but what if it isn’t? Do you ignore them until they are? Politicians engage with all kinds of regimes that are not capitalist democracies and all kinds of movements that are quite dissimilar to Hamstead and District Green Party. On rare occasions you boycott regimes over specific issues (South Africa over apartheid for example). More commonly, you engage with them. Heaven forfend, you might call them ‘friends’ as Mrs Thatcher did when she harboured that nice Mr Pinochet or when Mrs May popped over to hobnob with Saudi princes just as they reduced Yemen to rubble.
Then there is the greatest of the Left’s crimes, its ‘Leninism.’ Now some of my old friends on the outside left might want more Leninism, but Mr Corbyn is a long-standing parliamentarian. He keeps getting elected by his constituents, his party grassroots and soon his country. His speeches are not peppered by references to democratic centralism or the renegade Kautsky. I don’t remember him arriving at the Finland station to change his party’s approach or organising the taking of the Winter Palace. All of this was done constitutionally through the monitored use of various ballot boxes and not those at the Stalybridge Soviet either. Still, facts don’t slow Nick in his intemperate, multi-faceted ranting. You see- and he says this endlessly in his incoherent essay- we socialists don’t understand. Oh, I see, it is our incomprehension that is our most damning flaw. Of course. The scales are tumbling from my eyes. Our political strategy is impractical. The country can’t afford it. It is dreaming, fantastical, quite incredible. The only trouble, he says, in his peroration, it might just put Corbyn in charge of the UK.
At this point my brows are entirely beetled. If our political approach is impractical and fantastical, why Nick are you so worried it might just get us elected?

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