Corbyn’s Defeat has Slain the Left’s Last Illusion
Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
- Total Posts: 8,834
This was an election of two illusions. The first helped persuade much of the British public to vote last week for the very epitome of an Eton toff, a man who not only has shown utter contempt for most of those who voted for him but has spent a lifetime barely bothering to conceal that contempt. For him, politics is an ego-trip…a job he is entitled to through birth and superior breeding…. The extent to which such illusions now dominate our political life was highlighted…with a jaw-dropping comment from a Grimsby fish market worker. He said he would vote Tory for the first time because “Boris seems like a normal working class guy…”
The real revelation of this election, however, has been the BBC, the most well concealed of all those illusion-generating machines…. The BBC’s lack of adverts, the apparent absence of a grubby, commercial imperative, has been important in persuading us of the myth that the British Broadcasting Corporation is driven by a higher purpose, that it is a national treasure, that it is on our side… In this election, the BBC cast off its public-service skin to reveal the corporate Terminator-style automaton below. It was shocking to behold even for a veteran media critic like myself… Now the BBC is a mirror of what our hollowed-out society looks like. It is no longer there to hold together British society, to forge shared values… to create a sense – even if falsely – of mutual interest between the rich and the workers. No, it is there to ring fence turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism, it is there to cannibalise what’s left of British society, and ultimately, as we may soon find out, it is there to generate civil war…
The second illusion was held by the left. We clung to a dream, like a life-raft, that we still had a public space; that, however awful our electoral system was, however biased… we lived in a democracy where real, meaningful change was still possible; that the system wasn’t rigged to stop someone like Jeremy Corbyn from ever reaching power….But most importantly, we turned a blind eye to the social changes that 40 years of an unchallenged corporate-sponsored Thatcherism had wreaked on our imaginations, on our ideological lives, on our capacity for compassion.
As public institutions were broken apart and sold off, the public realm shrank dramatically, as did our moral horizons. We stopped caring about a society that Margaret Thatcher had told us didn’t exist anyway… Nonetheless, we have the future on our side, dark as it may be. The planet isn’t going to heal itself with Johnson, Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro in charge. It’s going to get a lot sicker, a lot quicker. Our economy isn’t going to become more productive, or more stable, after Brexit….The corporate party Johnson’s victory has unleashed is going to lead, sooner or later, to a truly terrifying hangover….We will once again be offered a “choice” between the blue and the red Tory parties…. Labour’s mass membership will desert the party, and it will become once again…as empty ideologically and spiritually as it was until Corbyn sought to reinvent it.
It may be a good thing if this coup happens quickly rather than…keeping us trapped longer in the illusion that we can fix the system using the tools the corporate class offers us... We must head to the streets… to reclaim the public space, to reinvent and rediscover it. Society didn’t cease to exist. It wasn’t snuffed out by Thatcher. We just forgot what it looked like, that we are human, not machines. We forgot that we are all part of society, that we are precisely what it is. Now is the time to put away childish things, and take the future back into our hands.
December 18, 2019 at 2:52 AM #239641StockholmerParticipant
- Total Posts: 502
Grimsby, wot a shithole!!!
One of my old mates married a bird from up there (her fam is very well-off, local industrialists, they met at LSE), and hated it so much he moved his whole family to Spain even though it cost him him and her a massive chunk of her family business inheritance (her cunt of a father wrote her out of the will.)
December 18, 2019 at 5:33 AM #239727The Red MenaceParticipant
- Total Posts: 1,080
Yall still think a MoveOn-sponsored ‘event” where you chant a little and wave a sign around is going to upturn this system?
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