On July 21st Jeremy Corbyn overwhelmingly won the endorsement of the Kensington Labour Party in his bid to become Labour leader.
With more than double the number of votes secured by the second-placed Andy Burnham, Kensington followed the trend set across Britain of seeing Corbyn as the best bet to challenge the Conservative’s so-called austerity policies.
Before the vote, the Ealing North MP Steve Pound spoke to the CLP, urging party members not to vote for a candidate that “makes you feel better” i.e. Jeremy Corbyn. Pound told members to avoid backing “a comfort blanket” candidate. The “comfort blanket” of Corbyn’s policies that Pound was referring to are:
· Affordable housing through a rent cap and the building of social housing
· Implementing a much higher minimum wage
· Tackling homelessness and destitution
· Opposing Tory cuts to public services
· Repealing university tuition fees
· Sticking up for human rights at home and abroad
· Rejecting racist anti-immigrant rhetoric
· Protecting the environment
· Higher taxation of those earning over £100,000
· Closing tax havens for the mega rich
Here is the problem with the Labour of Pound, Harriet Harman, Liz Kendall and all the others. They see that aspiring to a society in which everybody benefits and participates, based on compassion and not greed, is the way of weakness. They emphasise that Labour must make “tough choices” and embrace a policy known as “austerity”, a word the political class use because they cannot say “impoverishment”.
The “tough choices” are tough for us, not for them. In the process of denigrating the needs and wishes of most people in our society they seek to further disenfranchise those who no longer differentiate between the political parties. Pursuit of this right wing agenda is rapidly making Labour irrelevant.
Further attacks on the poor at home and joining in with America’s wars in the Middle East are choices, there is nothing inevitable about them. The popularity of Corbyn’s message shows that the public knows this.
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Tom Charles is a freelance editor, proof reader and writer living in Notting Hill. He has written on Middle East politics and is Assistant Editor of the Journal of Palestinian Refugee Studies. He also blogs at https://urbandandylondon.wordpress.com