Thursday, 8 December 2016

Corbyn sells out as the Union crumbles

Representative democracy is endangered.  There is exquisite and painful irony in the way in which, even as the Supreme Court deliberates on the extent to which an unelected dictator can arrogate powers under the cover of the Royal Prerogative, the official Opposition leader and many of his party have cravenly surrendered their right to oppose, the right to challenge and their political tactics.  Each time his apologists plead for the bestowal of the benefit of the doubt, it becomes clear that Labour's alleged leaders are now the willing stooges of a government without legitimacy and without a programme.

Given May's treachery and unfitness for office (last week's New European contained an enlightening and harrowing account of her contempt for constituents who might disagree with her), this is the act of a rat.  Assimilation of opposition parties into a hegemonic dictatorship was a feature of post-war Eastern Europe, most notably in the shotgun marriage between the KPD and the SPD in the Soviet occupation zone, and May has clearly learned much of her behaviour and almost all of her values from Stalin.

Corbyn was elected as an alternative to the managerialist politicians and the new right who captured the Labour Party between 1994 and 2008.  He has never lived up to this hype, and there will be a lot of discontented fair-weather followers as his true nature becomes clear.  As for those in his party with an understanding that politicians are there to shape and influence public opinion, rather than be bellwethers in the context of the fascist definition of "democracy" that May and her mountebanks perpetrate, I suspect that now is the time for them to examine their conscience.

Not merely is his approach ideologically bankrupt, it is also inane and insulting.  Given the attention being paid to the Supreme Court this week, it was suicidal to table an amendment that in effect gave May and her Goebbels-lite apparatchiks an opportunity to crow that the Commons had endorsed Article 50 being triggered on her terms.  An amendment with strength, for example requiring not merely a plan but an assessment of options, with costs, advantages, disadvantages and risks set out to inform Parliament, would have been clever, as it would have shown up the complete inanity and ineptitude of the "rainbow Brexit", where the destination is either somewhere beyond it, or managed by the denizens of a 1970s children's programme.  Labour walked straight into the trap, and condemned themselves as a consequence.

This has been allied to an upping of the rhetoric around the Liberal Democrats, doubtless as part of the fear that support in England will recover as Labour's mendacity is revealed.  The half-sentient Shadow Attorney General, the meaningless Richard Burgon, is a case study in the arrogance that has cost them dear - claiming that the Liberal Democrats are untrustworthy because they formed a Coalition with the Tories is risible and pathetic when he and his party have rolled over and had their collective tummies tickled by a seditious government.  Whatever the rights and wrongs (mostly the latter) of the Coalition period, at least it flowed from a specific agreement rather than a fatal combination of Stockholm Syndrome, arrogance and tactical ineptitude.

Meanwhile, it is clear that the unravelling of the legal and democratic framework in the UK is a primary objective of this government.  Watching the figure of Lord Keen, the Tories' Advocate-General for Scotland, implicitly denying the legitimacy of the 1999 Scotland Act and the rights of Scotland to even the current levels of self-determination was gruesome.  Quite apart from being the kind of disgusting caricature Tory who presided over the demise of the Scottish party, his breathtaking denial of any of the promises bestowed to win the 2014 referendum should form all those of concern for the future of Scotland to draw conclusions about the Tories that will not rebound well on their shrill banshee leader, whose constant pursuit of publicity is based on neither skills nor integrity.

If this is the case for Scotland, the consequences for Northern Ireland do not bear thinking about.  The Tories fudge behind the Sewel Convention, which they claim only applies to domestic law.  Quite apart from the impossibility of distinguishing between EU, British and devolved competencies, this stores up a major constitutional crisis, as at the moment of the triggering of May's pathetic Great Repeal Act, all the issues suddenly become domestic and Sewel applies.  Whatever harlequinade May and her law officers cook up there is a disaster waiting to happen that will prolong and deepen this unnecessary constitutional crisis.

Yet where has Labour been?  There are many honourable exceptions in Parliament and in the party, so it is not a simple matter of condemning them.  Nor is it simply a matter of opposing the process, but it is now time to articulate that there is an existential crisis between law, the balance of power and the rights of citizens, and a fascist clique who are determined to usurp and subvert the state for their own ends.  It is beginning to look like a parallel to the grievances of the American colonists of the 1760s and 1770s, and the consequences thereof.  Now it is about defending the enlightenment and the ability to shape power.  This should have been a reflex from Corbyn.

The febrile nature of politics makes prediction difficult.  The parties and individuals who defied both May and Corbyn have made a start - the crisis is across traditional allegiances and nations.  A popular insurgency against the forces of darkness, based around a recognition of the common foes and perils, is now the last hope both for those who do not want the nations to slide into disputatious anarchy, and for those of us who still retain any vestigial optimism about the human condition.

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