How is it possible to cut down saplings before they’ve even been planted? Well apparently in the magic money tree orchard in the realm of quantitative easing it is not only possible, but it is essential. Why is it essential? Because if you don’t keep filling the fruit baskets of capitalism then it will disintegrate. It may do this in any case if society as a whole fails to deal with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may be that the current round of lockdowns works perfectly, the R number reduces, hospitals are able to function effectively, employees go back to their old ways of working, bankruptcies are reversed, people stop dying, the pubs reopen and we all sing We’ll Meet Again as we get blue blind paralytic drunk at the greatest national celebration since the end of the second world war. In my view this is as likely as The Snowman surviving an after hours lock-in at the local sauna.
You can see the fear in Rishi Sunaks eyes as he extends his furlough scheme until the end of March next year. How can this possibly be enough whilst the schools are still open? Will the economy be able to expand in any meaningful sense over this winter? Entrepreneurs appear on our screens bleating about their pain with not a single word for those now imprisoned within an unfair and vicious benefit system who are expected to continue searching for non existent jobs on a paltry below subsistence income with no access to furlough schemes. Schools are moving into ridiculous scenarios where full time teachers are absent due to infection and year 12 and 13 pupils become increasingly indisciplined as supply teachers and assistants lose control. To call what’s going on a lockdown is absurd, viruses pay no heed to school gates, there is significant evidence from epidemiological experts across the globe that pupils are spreaders. It cannot be justifiable to put educational staff, pupils, parents and the public at risk.
We have to watch as the policies from the different governments in the UK chop and change with such a plethora of rules and regulations. Confusion has ruled throughout the life of the pandemic to such an extent that it’s hard not to believe that such chaos is deliberate.
Then, the spindly spad with the giant black rucksack hit the news again, briefly. The master of Tory mayhem has had some kind of falling out with the leader with the haystack on his head and 24 hours later Cummings went. Nobody it seems is indispensable, even if they believe they are.
Meanwhile, over on centre ground, a different bucket of mackerel sits on the table awaiting beheading and gutting. The Labour Party heirarchy have decided that now is the time to implode whilst they still have time before the next general election to sweep the mess under the carpet. The continued belief in the mythical broad church by so many Labour Party members is utterly astonishing. Let’s recap a little here. The election of Ed Milliband annoyed the extreme centre in Progress to such an extent that they deliberately hung him out to dry in the 2015 general election campaign. When he duly lost that election and resigned as leader they were cock-a-hoop and held a Progress leadership slate video conference which was disgusting. Of course there was no talk of the left as the Campaign Group were seen as an insignificant rump. When Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring he was not taken seriously. The centrists didn’t mount a serious campaign on social media, Corbyn did, largely through his son Seb, who managed his media campaign. Jeremy was the only candidate to put a join the Labour Party button on his web page. This was a master stroke as tens of thousands did and duly voted for him, leaving Mandelson and his Progress cronies in total disarray, and filled with rage at the failure of their slate. Clearly they were left behind by the Corbyn online campaign and the sheer volume of Jeremy Corbyn mass meetings across the UK. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership the extreme centre began to seriously organise against him. Jeremy of course had hundreds of thousands of supporters and they duly defeated the chicken coup. The left in the party consisted of around four hundred thousand comrades, many of whom had rejoined for Jeremy. What I personally found difficult to come to terms with was the way in which Momentum set themselves up as the voice of the left and then behaved in an exclusionary manner throughout the following period of Jeremy’s leadership. Momentum never had more than thirty thousand members at it’s height and yet behaved as if they were the left in the party. This has led to a real problem both at leadership level and throughout the party in my view. Jon Lansman created a fiefdom that I and many other leftwing comrades just couldn’t buy into. Many local parties saw massive increases in membership levels but somehow that massive increase was not turned into mass action campaigns in local communities, too much attention was paid on how to fill positions within the party. The whole thing felt like a massive NUS conference. I won’t discuss my feelings about what happened at local level, suffice it to say I and others were never completely happy whilst we were in the party. What is happening now is tragic but not unexpected. It feels very similar to when the Militant Tendency and other left groups were expelled by Kinnock. I came back to Labour for Jeremy, who is an old friend and comrade of mine. He is being treated in an appalling manner both by Starmer and those “left” opportunists around him. There is no way back for him, and nor me. I am happy in Left Unity where we are small but solid in our politics. Now the attacks have widened, CLP Chairs and Secretaries along with leftwing branch activists are being suspended for daring to discuss Jeremy Corbyns suspension. The extreme centre are even now using keyword algorithms to trawl through leftwing Labour Party members social media accounts for evidence of support for Jeremy Corbyns position on anti-Semitism. Such chicanery is worthy of an insane headbang session in the oval office of the White House. I am not alone in my despair at the actions of the extreme centre in Labour. There will be a plethora of books written about this time I’m sure. Meanwhile I will work with like minded comrades to foster socialism in what time I have left. As for Cummings….. he’s yesterday’s chip paper already.
Harry Rogers, musing in the yellow room, 15th November 2020