The system doesn't work for the majority of people—Labour must seek to unite themby James Schneider / February 12, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Jeremy Corbyn’s tribal takeover
In its 2015 manifesto, the Labour Party included something called a “budget responsibility lock.” This committed the party to, among other things, cutting the budget deficit as quickly as possible were it to win power. Though it may not seem like it on the surface, this manifesto pledge shares something in common with the chants of “Tory scum” by far-left activists heard outside the Conservative Party conference last year—both the pledge and the chants were made by people who don’t have hope for a better world.
If we want to build a more equal and democratic society, Labour must be much more ambitious. To get there, the party mustn’t abandon its principles—far from it. But we must leave behind our old way of doing things. We must abandon nostalgia for the post-war economic boom, along with aggressive chants and arcane arguments. None of those things will appeal to the low-and-middle income Tory and UKIP voters who the Party need to win over. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party allows us to think big about a positive future and to plot a path to it.
This week, People’s PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) launched. It is a project developed by the East End branch of Momentum (the campaign group affiliated with Jeremy Corbyn, of which I am a member). At our first event, 1,500 people crowded into an East London mosque to hear Guardian columnist Owen Jones, academic Layli Uddin, and the Daily Mail’s Peter Oborne talk about history, politics, South Asia and Englishness. Here we saw a glimpse of the future. Jones spoke on the English radical tradition from the Peasants’ Revolt to the present day, Uddin spoke on the legitimate anger of the oppressed, and Oborne on the emergence of the political elite and how it undermines democracy. These three perspectives are clearly very different, but they are all highly critical of concentrations of power at the top of a society.
To bring these strands of righteous anger together we must start with what they have in common—a hatred of corruption, corporate power, our political-economic elite, and…