Wednesday 16 September 2015

Hypocrisy trumps honesty

One of the things that came through loud and clear from Corbyn during the leadership election was that he doesn’t do personal.  He really doesn’t seem to care that much what people think of him at a personal level, and he wants to talk policy rather than personality.  It is, I suspect, a significant part of what won the election for him.
In the light of that, what can we make of the frenzied reaction of the press to him refusing to sing ‘God save the Queen’, and attacking his mode of dress?  Three things, it seems to me.
Firstly, his political opponents – including, or perhaps even especially, those in his own party – are deeply uncomfortable with discussing policy.  There are probably several reasons for this – including that they’re not used to thinking in terms of policy, and much more accustomed to voting as they’re told, and that they are probably (and rightly) afraid of losing any intelligent argument around policy.
Secondly, it makes for easier headlines.  There’s a lot less work involved in writing a press release or tweeting a negative and highly personal attack than there is in preparing a serious response to policy; and what passes for journalism finds it easier to write big screaming headlines in response.
But thirdly, and most importantly, there’s a less obvious effect at play, and that is an attempt to impose, or at least reinforce, the boundaries within which politics is conducted.  And that includes preventing or suppressing any serious debate about policy which might expose the fact that there are alternatives.   There’s a mindset at work for which ‘being different’ is inherently dangerous, even if the differences are not as great as they're portrayed. 
Corbyn could, of course, simply compromise and fall in with convention, which is what I’m sure many of his so-called colleagues will be urging him to do.  Hypocritical, of course, but it’s what they seem to want.  I doubt that it will make much difference – they’ll only find more and more things to criticise unless and until he’s brought completely back into line.  And parts of the media are not averse to making things up if it suits their agenda.
But for me, there’s something very sad about a political culture which would find complete and obvious hypocrisy more acceptable than honesty and consistency.  That, though, is the Labour-Tory consensus in which we live.


Pete said...

Perhaps I am being unfair to Jeremy Corbyn but this seems so much like history repeating itself. I remember that socialist firebrand Neil Kinnock, the working class warrior. He won the heart of the Labour grass roots with his uncompromising criticism of the way things are done. He wanted a fairer and more just society, passionately recording his working class origins and principles. With Michael Foot as his mentor and his friend, George Wright, secretary of the Wales TUC, he followed their lead on devolution. Especially George who, with Dai Francis devolved the TUC.
Then he saw the view from the top and threw everything away to get there. He reformed the Labour party laying the foundation for Blair. On devolution, George Wright said that Neil stabbed him in the back. I heard him say it and I would stand in court and repeat it. The man who, at meetings I attended, encouraged Trotskyists to join the working class party, promptly expelled them when they started to win the argument inside Labour.
Today, here comes Jeremy Corbyn, waving the banner of the old left. Resonating with the grass roots of the Labour party and saying all the right things. I am waiting for the next great betrayal, in the meantime his message of hope might well be the delusion that keeps the Welsh people supporting our own poverty.
Here we go again.

Spirit of BME said...

Mr Dixon, all your posts about Brother Corbyn (BC) have been on the money.
The reaction I enjoyed most was the Press and his inability to sing the “National” anthem, but to do so you have to be an Anglican Christian, as it is a monarchist anthem based on political and religious ideology; it is not designed to be an all-encompassing and neutral declaration that is accepted by all.
Little BC is not a member of the Church of England (C of E) and does not believe in any God and that knocks out a large part of the English population. As the C of E (a self- styled church) right to bestows the legitimacy of the monarch`s powers and privileges, that knocks out Jews, Catholics and Muslims.
In Wales there is no Established Church (unlike Scotland and what is left of Ireland) and so the Church in Wales has no privileges above and beyond the Non-Conformist churches and that knocks out the Welsh population, as they view the C of E dunking of Holy oil on her head as nothing but part of the Anglican voodoo, from a church which created by Act of Parliament rather than by an act of God.
So, what is left? - Not much I fear. I suppose he could have la- la` ed it, but if everybody who was not a card carrying member of the C o E did that the words would be drowned out.
The sad part of it all, an opportunity was missed by BC and the self-serving media, to raise these issues, or is he being remoulded to serve the State?