After spending the last couple of days playing hard to get with the massed ranks of the UK press, Jeremy Corbyn has finally let the world know what’s going to happen with the Labour shadow cabinet reshuffle. You might think that the rearrangement of chairs on a ship that’s sailing straight to the bottom of the electoral ocean is not an event that should occasion much in the way of emotional involvement from the rest of the world, all the more so when the bums on those seats are bums who struggle to be recognised in their own shaving mirrors, but the Blairite wing of the Labour party are as sensitive as a freshly slapped face and they’ll squeal like Cameron’s pig if they think they’re about to be slapped again.
Getting slapped is precisely what happened. Some people that no one has heard of got demoted, and a couple of others got sacked. In the normal run of things, in the business world that the managerial wing of Labour have sold what passes for their soul to, publicly undermining your boss is grounds for a sacking. However now the heirs to Blair are squealing that the business rules that Labour’s right wing wants to impose on the rest of us shouldn’t have to apply to Labour’s right wing.
Mike Dugher, who no one had heard of before he was sacked, didn’t take his sacking well. Mike recently claimed that Corbyn’s supporters into a religious cult, presumably because he thinks it’s ridiculous to imagine that a political party ought to have some sort of guiding moral principles. Jezza was not best pleased, because of course he believes that the SNP has the cultishness business pretty much sewn up. But Mike wouldn’t stop running his mouth off, criticising his boss in public, and generally undermining the new direction that a large majority of ordinary Labour members had voted for. Then after getting sacked for being an out of control disloyal loudmouth, he went and proved the point by changing his Twitter profile to advertise the fact that he’s an out of control disloyal loudmouth. Pat McFadden likewise got his jotters for undermining his boss’s foreign policy. Corbyn’s foreign policy is predicated on the radical notion that the world is a complex place and that the actions of nations like the UK or the USA can have unforeseen consequences. Pat doesn’t believe this, he prefers to believe that bad things happen because of bad people being bad. And the best thing to do with bad people is bomb them. Pat’s views have the subtlety and nuance of a Twitter rant, but it’s Pat who is hailed in the media as Mr Sensible.
Mike and Pat’s disloyalty doesn’t count. Disloyalty only counts when you’re being disloyal to the establishment, and since Jezza is decidedly non-establishment you can’t be disloyal to him. The fact that he’s now acting like a party leader and not an indulgent geography teacher who doesn’t give a toss whether his pupils pass or fail is causing a media feeding frenzy. It’s mayhem, reporters that no one trusts writing for for newspapers that no one reads are interviewing politicians that no one has heard of about a reshuffle that no one cares about in a parliamentary party that no one believes in.
The shadow cabinet isn’t even real, it’s the fantasy football of politics, although to be fair British politics ceased being about reality a very long time ago. The shadow cabinet serves no real purpose other than nominating someone in the official opposition as the person who will trade non-points with the relevant government minister in parliament as both sides seek to avoid answering any questions. It’s an exercise in irrelevance.
Labour’s right wing are for some odd reason are described as moderates in the media. We live in a country where moderation is regarded as having a propensity to go to war, selling out workers’ rights to big business, and putting the interests of the state, the security services, and the City before those of the people. The modern right of the Labour party is more right wing than the Tories during the 70s. Labour’s right wing owe their allegience to a higher principle than the Labour party. That might be fine if that principle was equality, truth, and social justice, but the principle they owe their alliegence to is the supremacy of the British establishment. The collective responsibility of the shadow cabinet has been sold to the City of London. That’s precisely why the party was kicked in the collective nads in Scotland in May.
The reason that the public lost their faith in Labour was because of the party’s hypocrisy. The Tories are basterts but make no secret of being basterts, Labour is the Uriah Heep of politics which pretends to be so terribly umble but then out-basterts the Tories. The oppressive rules and regulations which Labour wants to inflict on the rest of us shouldn’t apply to the princes and princesses of the party. Responsibility is for the little people, not for the jumped up rightist entryists who’d be far better off as assistant managers in a branch of Iceland.
However the jumped up ones are jumping with anger right now, and Jezza’s minor reshuffle threatens to tear the party apart. Three more people you’ve never heard of resigned today, one of them during a BBC interview, and now the papers are full of headlines about Stalinist dictators and purges. Those of us who aren’t fully paid up members of Labour’s mini tent tendency might fondly imagine that the purpose of the party is to oppose the Tories, Labour’s right know better. They are convinced that the purpose of the party is to adopt Tory policies then present them to the public as sensible moderation.
The Tories know that the British state and establishment functions to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful. Labour’s right wing don’t want to change that system, they just want to extend its privileges to Labour’s managerialists and during the Blair and Brown years that’s exactly what they did. Their screams of protest are a sign that they’re not going to give up their corpse-like grasp on politics in the UK. The screams are warnings to the little people not to get ideas above their station. Don’t dare imagine that anything can change, don’t dream, don’t imagine a better future. That’s the British way. A minor reshuffle isn’t going to change anything in a marked deck of cards. The game is still rigged against you.
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