What is happening within the Labour party is much bigger than Corbyn, it’s much bigger than the Labour Party. Within Labour we are witnessing a break down of the Thatcherite consensus which has dominated the Labour party since the days of Blair and New Labour, alongside this we are witnessing a backlash against Neoliberal ideology and Thatcherism in wider society. Corbyn is the figurehead, or the representative of this change and his opponents in and outside the Labour party believe the maxim “cut the head of the snake” but the paradigm shift that is occurring cannot be stopped so easily.
When Thatcher got elected, many said she couldn’t do it, when she became PM, people didn’t believe it. Yet since then, we have seen a huge shift in the political consensus to the right, in fact the One Nation Tory ideology that Thatcher effectively destroyed became irrelevant. She managed to shift our politics so far to the right that people even buy the lie that left wing politics can never win an election (if you repeat a lie often enough…). This has been the generally accepted view since the eighties, coincidently there was a huge back lash against this shift to the right, sadly ending in the defeat for the left. The war however is far from over, and we are now witnessing a realignment, politics much like a pendulum is swinging back the way it came.
The establishment political, media and business have joined together in an evil triumvirate of ideological power to try and preserve the system that has enriched them, or as Chomsky puts to “manufacture consent”. They do not want the change that is coming, hence their alliance in shutting Corbyn down. They are going with the old narrative that left is unelectable, they are fighting back to protect neoliberal ideology. The power of Thatcherism is waning, and the confidence of the public in the establishment is breaking down. The media is losing its power to the internet, and the rising tide in anti-establishment sentiment because of the banking crisis, the expenses scandal, cash for questions, corrupt tax dodging business practices, all of these have crept up on neoliberalism, slowly but surely eroding peoples confidence in business as usual, in the generally held paradigm espoused by the establishment.
In a post Blair world the Blairites have become the dinosaurs, they have become the fossils, an insult so readily dished out at socialists and the like for just not “modernising.” In a scandal ridden world, where the new norm has become corruption, in a world after the expenses scandal, the bankers crash of 2008, and the ever widening income gap, their ideas and arguments seem alien to our generation. We are the products of the failure of neoliberal ideology, and we are open to something else, we haven’t lived in a world where socialism, or left wing politics has been in the mainstream.
It has been over thirty years since a left wing alternative was put to the electorate, in fact since the Thatcher years we have had an unbroken line of Thatcherism, Neoliberalism at the heart of our government it festering like a poison at the heart of our politics. Many people alive today myself included have never been presented with typical left wing arguments, they have become the ‘new’, they have become fresh, because neoliberal has become stale, and we have not been offered a credible choice for decades. This isn’t just happening here in the UK, it is happening all over the west, look at Sanders in America, and the agents of neoliberalism are becoming ever more desperate and dangerous, because it is happening on the flip side too, look at Trump and Farage.
People are crying out for change, we have had the occupy movement, we have had waves of protests, and unrest around this country and the wider world, the political landscape has shifted vastly, the rise of the SNP, the shadow of UKIP and Brexit. In a world where so much has changed since the Blair years, how can people think “business as usual” can win the day? This belief completely flies in the face of the problems the Labour party was facing prior to Corbyn becoming leader, it completely removes the party from its recent history and the context of where it finds it self.
Thus the ideological war which many believed to be over, the end of history, the fall of the Berlin Wall, has come out of no where to frighten the establishment inside and outside the Labour party. They have completely and utterly closed ranks in order to conserve the ideological consensus they have worked at over the last thirty years. If a left wing leader does win a general election, the narratives they have built up to protect neoliberal ideology will come crashing down. They lose justification for their arguments, and it is they who will be pushed into retreat. We are witnessing the desperate lashing out of its advocates, whether they are being directly pushed by their ideology or on a more subconscious level, because they are in a fight for their survival. If they lose within the Labour Party, an opposing ideology will start being presented in the chamber, if they lose a GE, a new ideology will start drafting policy.
While the Labour party is the main focus of this war of ideas, it is only one battlefield, and on a wider level what happened with Corbyn’s election is just a wider indicator of the paradigm shift which is happening to the wider public. So even if Corbyn is toppled, even if they put a neoliberal business as usual stooge in, they cannot stop the march of history, it has become too big now. So whether it happens inside or outside the Labour party, a big change is coming, and it is one that is going to realign our politics. We can either ride that wave and fight to create the kind of world we want to see, or we can get dragged along by it.