pseudomonas: Ostrakon against Themistocles. (ostrakon)
[personal profile] pseudomonas
So, I think there is a bit of discussion at cross-purposes going on in the UK. I have seen a lot of discussions that consist of one person saying "Labour led by an extreme left-winger might not be ideal" and another saying "but his policies are by and large pretty sensible and hard to disagree with"*. This can go on for a long time because they're both right.

Jeremy Corbyn is no fool. He sensibly has played the game as intended - the policies that he has proposed during the leadership contest place him enough to the left of the other contenders to make it clear that he's more socialist than them, but not really much more than that - why would he want to? I am not faulting him for this, it's what I would have done in his situation too.

The question remains though - over the past four decades of his political career, he's espoused positions far to the left (or more extreme/radical for those that aren't strictly left/right issues) of those that he's proposed so far in the leadership campaign and subsequently. There are three possibilities.

■ He has moved with the times and is now more moderate than he once was.

■ He still believes in these positions, but does not intend to pursue them in the foreseeable future (possibly for pragmatic reasons such as desire to win votes)

■ He still believes in these positions, and once his role is more secure (or once Labour is in power) he is intending to install them as official Labour policy.

So, it's clear that the discussion I caricatured at the top is between someone who believes (c) and someone who believes (a) or (b). Me? I don't know what to think. I don't think he's so incredibly guileless that he's incapable of holding a belief without mentioning it; time will tell. I think it's good to note that this uncertainty applies to those who approve of the more extreme positions as well as those who disapprove — even if he's (a) or (b), some of his support will rely on not disillusioning people fervently hoping for (c). And it's important to recognize that not all his critics are necessarily assuming (a).

*I disagree with some bits that I shan't discuss in this post, but it's mostly a fairly standard centre-left programme.
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