Labour: betrayer of the working class

In backing Remain, Corbyn has turned Labour into an authoritarian tool of the establishment.

Brendan O'Neill
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Topics Brexit Politics UK

Jeremy Corbyn and his cheerleaders conquered the Labour machinery four years ago with a promise to return the party to its radical, socialist, working-class roots. What have they actually done? Made Labour into the party of the establishment. Made it into a political instrument for the preservation of the status quo. Made it the backer of an oligarchy – the European Union – that is defined by its censorious hostility to socialist policies in its member states. The Corbyn movement has made Labour into a party not for the working class, but against it. Against its own traditional support base; against the people who were the backbone of the party for decades; and against the thing that these people are more likely than any other social constituency to have voted for: Brexit.

Labour’s confirmation today that it is a party of Remain is not just a tactical move or a tweak in strategy, as many are claiming. It is far more significant than that. It is the end of an era. Or at least it confirms the end of an era that has in fact been a long time coming. It confirms Labour is no longer the representative of people who labour, but rather has become an outfit of the metropolitan middle classes and the woke bourgeoisie, the vast majority of whom oppose Brexit. This is far more significant than Tony Blair’s ‘Clause IV moment’, when, in 1995, then party leader Blair replaced the constitutional clause committing Labour to the socialist ideal of the common ownership of the means of production and replaced it with talk of tolerance and respect. Because the Corbyn movement has not simply trashed Labour’s socialist ideals, but the very thing upon which such ideals were traditionally based and which make such ideals possible to pursue in the first place – democracy; the engagement of as many people as possible in the political process.

Labour’s official embrace of Remain is full-on. This morning Corbyn himself, previously said to be reticent about backing a second referendum, says Labour policy is now to demand a second referendum that includes an option to remain on the ballot paper. And, he says, Labour would campaign for remain. Think about what this means. Labour will defy the largest act of democracy in UK history. It will campaign for the overthrow of this democratic act. It will happily defy the 17.4million people, which includes an estimated four million Labour voters, who backed Brexit. It will betray the historically massive bloc of voters who supported Brexit which, according to every serious statistical breakdown, contains a disproportionate number of working-class voters. It has positioned itself against democracy.

And if the left isn’t for democracy, what is it for? The origins of the left are in arguing that ordinary people ought to have a right to a say in political affairs, to shape and determine their political surroundings and everyday lives. From the Peterloo Massacre to the Chartist uprising to Sylvia Pankhurst’s radical cries for female suffrage and socialist democracy, every significant left campaign of modern times has been devoted to expanding the democratic ideal; to involving as many people as possible in decision-making processes that were previously considered the preserve of the well-educated and the aristocratic. In devoting itself to overturning a radical act of democracy, a vote for democracy, Labour tramples over this tradition and positions itself as the party of the new globalist elites rather than the majority of British voters – a party of the few, not the many. Many of us have said this for years, but others will now surely realise it too: Labour is in no meaningful way a left-wing party or a party of the working class.

It has been claimed for years that, whether you agree with Corbyn or not, you have to admit he is at least a man of principle. We now know how untrue this is. Under pressure from the woke middle classes who make up the ranks of Momentum, and from a trade-union movement which has become utterly cut off from its working-class members, Corbyn has ditched everything he ever believed in. He has ditched his longstanding Euroscepticism and his determination to preserve Tony Benn’s legacy of radical English democratic ideas. He has betrayed Labour’s own 2017 manifesto, its working-class voters, and his own hero Benn, whose sceptical, democratic legacy he has now killed and buried in return for the flimsy backing of the entitled, irate metropolitan defenders of the status quo. Corbyn’s legacy will be the destruction of Benn’s legacy, and for what? For the pay-off of a few more months of power at the top of the Labour Party. He is the most unprincipled, unscrupulous, power-hungry politician in British politics right now – and that’s saying something. RIP Labour.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Shirley Versace

11th July 2019 at 10:25 am

The establishment of a second USSR, the EUSSR is well under way. The degree to which a deep state stooge like Corbyn actually understands any of this is open to question.

Communism (Socialism) has always been international in its scope and ambitions, ever since the Wall St. bankers bankrolled and engineered the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia. Socialism on the national level (and yes, that includes German National Socialism ie. the 3rd Reich) was only ever a stepping stone to the fully fledged international variety aka Globalism-Communism, under the international network of Central banks, with it’s central locus at the BIS in Switzerland (established by Nazi Banker and President of the Reichsbank under Hitler, Hjalmar Horace Greely Schacht).

Corbyn is merely fulfilling his role blowing smoke for the time being, until the ethnic vote is sufficiently preponderant, such that the concerns of the traditional white working classes can be ignored altogether. At that point, the state will turn overtly totalitarian. The legal framework, political culture (PC) and infrastructure (cameras and cyber-snooping) are already in place.

The entire Communist-Socialist boondoggle is nought but the reinstatement of the Spanish Caliphate of the 8th-15th Century, but this time, on a Europe wide basis. This is why the Communists/Globalists (Mogherini, Merkel, Macron etc.) are so keen on open borders and mass Islamic immigration. Corbyn’s task is merely to blow smoke on the working class beehive to keep them bamboozled long enough so that the project can be completed.

Like I say, it’s not clear whether Corbyn understands any of this, or whether he is just some hapless operative who obeys orders because of the horrific amount of “Kompromat” that his handlers have on him. I’m guessing the latter. He doesn’t strike me as a man who understands much of anything. He mostly looks bewildered and tired. Kompromat, baby.

Jerry Owen

11th July 2019 at 1:55 pm

Welcome back Shirley !

Hana Jinks

11th July 2019 at 2:55 pm

It would be disingenuous to call it anything bar the eussr a t this point.

They are going to use 5G and the ‘internet-of-things’ to not only deem whether our thoughts are sound enough to have a bank account, but also to exploit the climate-hoax through ‘smart’ metres and the such. Every single one of us will be forced to pay tithes at the green-nazi altar. Every unit of energy we consume will be monitored.

I think that they’re all only in it for the money and earthly recognition.

John Millson

11th July 2019 at 8:46 am

Can only agree: we should not have another referendum. Given the UK hasn’t exited the EU yet it would be undemocratic. I say this as an erstwhile remain voter.
But it’s the very thing which spiked drools over – direct democracy – voting fetishism, deciding all aspects of our lives, like we are in some sort teenager adventure gang-club or godawful commune – which has given the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn and indirectly, his deluded, infiltrating puppeteers.
If only more members (‘remainiacs’) were themsleves more ‘democratic’, had helped the facilitation of a grown-up, sensible Brexit, and not the racist chlorinated one, which we appear to be heading towards, with the collective gammon of England calling the shots.

Jerry Owen

12th July 2019 at 9:05 am

‘Collective gammon’ , would you care to expand on that insulting comment ?

Genghis Kant

10th July 2019 at 3:44 pm

Tom Watson realises that while Labour remains under Corbyn the UK must stay in the EU, as the EU’s rules are the only thing that will prevent Corbyn and McDonnell totally destroying the UK economy.

Jerry Owen

10th July 2019 at 4:22 pm

I think the EU’s rules are destroying our economy anyway.. our fishing rights for starters, the inability of our country to trade with whom we like under our own trade deals is another example of the EU stifling our economy.
I’m sure Corbyn & Co will mange to destroy our economy with or without the EU’s help.

christopher barnard

9th July 2019 at 10:48 pm

The working class is betraying itself by continuing to vote for Labour.

Christopher Tyson

9th July 2019 at 9:43 pm

There was a Q&A where I work, with one of my senior managers. The question of diversity came up and I suggested that there was too much of a focus on diversity. I said I did not support black history month, but I thought it was okay for people to support it in their own time, and I didn’t see why it should be supported in the work place. I’m black and my manager is white. She replied that she thought the policy was good and support for black history month, this was good for diversity and helped to make people feel at home. That was the end of the discussion. Odd that this white lady should over rule me so blithely? No it isn’t. She will have her own black diversity consultants and advisors and they will give her guidance and confidence. So decisions that affect all black people are made behind closed doors between self-appointed community leaders and white business and political leaders. This is profoundly undemocratic, it is corrupt and scandalous and it has been going on in the UK for 50 years and is regarded as the norm. There is amongst black people a misguided sense of loyalty to other black people which means that there is too little criticism and accountability of black political leaders and diversity technocrats, this allows these charlatans to prosper and they really are beginning to form a black aristocracy many receiving honours from the (white) state. They feel no need to respond to my criticisms, they are way too important for that, some irony there? Not really, these people are frauds and snobs, my tone may sound shocked but really none of this really surprises me anymore.

Christopher Tyson

9th July 2019 at 10:01 pm

Post now copied to right place, can be deleted here.

Hana Jinks

11th July 2019 at 8:57 am

Christopher.

What an interesting post. Thanks.

Jerry Owen

10th July 2019 at 4:25 pm

Your senior manager is a good example of the inverted racism within themselves in that they honestly believe you need them to promote you because of your skin colour .
They are patronizing and feel ever so superior.

Neil McCaughan

9th July 2019 at 8:55 pm

A curious end for old Corbyn – to be just another Blairite stooge, a feeble old man singing from Mandelson’s hymn sheet.

Richard Austin

9th July 2019 at 8:08 pm

I have to say this is the best political commentary I have read in years. Seriously excellent, inciteful writing which grabs the feel of how let down so many people are. To be betrayed is a dreadful thing but to be betrayed by those who claimed to stand by you, stand for you, protect you, is Labour today.
I can only hope the North, where I live, wakes up to what Labour today is and shuns them. The lions do not deserve such jackals.

David Etherington

9th July 2019 at 6:49 pm

At the last election It should come as no surprise that an estimated 65 percent of ethnic minority voters opted for Labour. They know that with that kind of support they can write off the Northern (and Southern) working classes.

Lee Hallam

9th July 2019 at 6:20 pm

The middle classes took over Labour a long time ago, for years they oversaw it with a view to serving the workers priorities, but that started to change in the sixties when social liberal causes that had little support among the working classes. It had transformed into a party with little interest in what working class people actually wanted before Corbyn took over. To be fair to Corbyn it would have taken a man of greater drive than Corbyn, and with supporters who backed that aim. He had middle class youngsters who neither liked nor understood the working classes.

As for Corbyn, I don’t think he actually understood socialist economics, or quite why he was opposed to the EU, they were positions he adopted from Benn wholesale, as a hard left package. His interest and principles have always been in revolutionary liberation movements. Preferably safely abroad. It’s stubbornness not principle that made him hold out against Remain for as long as he has.

Christopher Tyson

9th July 2019 at 5:55 pm

In 2016 the Conservative party was split on Europe , David Cameron was unable to extract compromises from the EU so he went to the people, he announced a referendum, we could call it a ‘people’s vote’ if you like. To paraphrase Theresa May ‘nothing has changed’. Those calling for a 2nd referendum simply want to overthrow the result of the first one. The Remainers have never spelt out their vision. Clearly they favour closer union with the EU, the direction of travel is towards a United States of Europe. The Remainers are in fact saying we can never leave the EU. It will never be any easier to leave. The Brexit vote was a votes against closer union with the EU forever. This was a big decision and one that Brexiters made knowing that there is likely to be a price to pay. The Remainers talk about damage to ‘our’ economy. I think of Tony Blair and his property empire, Nick Clegg with his £million facebook salary, John major personal banker to the royal princes, Michael Heseltine and his £200 million business empire, Ken Clarke and his directorships, Gordon Brown and his 60K a time after dinner speeches, the multi-millionaire Gina Miller, woman of the people and icon of the black community, I know it’s vulgar to talk about money, but it is no surprise that these people favour the economic status quo. Disruption is a perfectly reasonable aspect of capitalism, if the market is crowded it is perfectly reasonable to attempt to bring down your rivals. ‘Our’ economy is sluggish and moribund. Until the powers that be recognise that capitalism can no longer function without massive state support, it is the system that we are left with. Those of us who have little or no stake in the existing system may be willing to take our chances with a destructive assault on the economy. There are many reasons that people have for leaving the EU, however, those who claim that this will destroy ‘our’ economy need to start explaining who they mean by ‘our’ and to be more precise about what it will mean for ‘us’ rather than what it will mean for themselves.

James Knight

9th July 2019 at 5:46 pm

Corbyn has turned labour into the UK version of Syriza. All he does is provide a radical left-green cloak to push through an unpopular austerity agenda based on the EU and neo-liberalism. The living embodiment of “for the few not the many” and exactly at the time Brexit affords an unprecedented opportunity to challenge the Thatcherite doctrine that There Is No Alternative that exemplified the Blair/Cameron along comes Corbyn to act as the useful idiot of neo-liberalism.

Jerry Owen

9th July 2019 at 5:43 pm

The Labour party is now really the internet party of the white, middle class, middle England, woke student identity politiking brigade. Their hippy sixties CND parents hanging on in there ( ER blockades anyone ! ) to rekindle some sixties nostalgic memories.
They are trying again but this time without the hindrance of the working classes who preferred by and large Mondeoism to Socialism.
Time to repeal voting rights for workers.

Jane 70

9th July 2019 at 4:38 pm

Labour- ‘ for the woke, but not for you’.

John Spud

9th July 2019 at 4:33 pm

Nothing will change because the Labour loyalists in the North whose Dad voted Labour would still vote them if they were lead by Ian Huntley. That’s what we need to sort out: Pathetic tribalism among so many British people.

Ian B

9th July 2019 at 3:57 pm

As ever with Corbyn Labour you have to read between the lines.

If there’s a no deal or a “Tory Brexit” it wants a referendum with remain as an option.

If in power it wants to negotiate its own Brexit – no mention of a referendum with that, strangely,

Magic Granddad just can’t quite bring himself to let go of his Euroscepticism.

gershwin gentile

9th July 2019 at 3:48 pm

BON thinks that the Labour party has never betrayed the working class before. Ahhhh bless his little cotton (but not historically well researched) socks.

BON, ever heard of Aberfan?

Stef Steer

9th July 2019 at 3:44 pm

I do wonder if they genuinely think to themselves, “we know whats best for you” or whether they actually think “we know you are stupid and easily emotionally manipulated and shamed and we are gonna use that to get what we want” probably in a moment of doubt the former but most of the time the latter. Either way this is an authoritarian party that really doesn’t care what voters think and deserves to get punished at the ballot box.

Steve Roberts

9th July 2019 at 3:31 pm

This is an historical moment – not necessarily for many of us who have been aware of the entire history of this party and its previous betrayals going back almost to its inception – that like the elite reaction to the referendum result is now out in the open, undeniable except of course to the very biggest of political parasites that will cling to the L.P. whatever it does.
Where are you “radicals” you “democrats” now ? there is no hiding place any more, nor is there any hiding place for those that wish to patronise those that cling to this treacherous party. Lets stop the pussyfooting broad church radical nonsense, the L.P has declared political war on particularly the working class, one of our tasks now must be to put the lid on the political coffin of the L.P. and bury it as far down as possible. Disagree ? Don’t like the tone , a little too much ? Why ?

Richard Austin

9th July 2019 at 8:43 pm

Well said

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