The year is 2016, exactly 32 years since the passing of Orwell’s authoritarian future. But while the year 1984 is best personified by the momentous miners’ strike and the tragic selling-out of this strike by the proto-Blairite faction of the Labour Party, 2016 will hopefully be remembered as representing the nadir of the Blairites dystopian regime.
Labour may not run the Government, but they still control the financial affairs of more than 100 councils across the country. But ever-keen to maintain their Blairite orthodoxy of failure and austerity, these Labour councils have remained steadfast in their commitment to the class warfare being under-backed by their big business benefactors.
The Tory government is waging war on the public by decimating local council services, and the opposition party — the party of the people, the Labour Party — has not responded. Labour councils have categorically failed to fight back, instead choosing to wield the axe on behalf of their erstwhile opponents.
Moreover, no matter how reluctantly such Labour Council’s brandish the executioners axe on their constituent’s necks, it is clear that what those same people will always remember are the Blairite faces who for all intents and purposes wilfully enforced destitution upon their cities.
The real social catastrophe here is that the present leader of the Labour Party is a principled socialist who opposes austerity and is backed up in this position by the vast majority of his own party (hundreds of thousands of members). The Orwellian twist is that the vast majority of the councillors and MPs who dominate the internal machinery of the Labour Party are vehemently opposed to the socialist politics of both their leader and most of their members.
In Liverpool, a city that in previous times led an inspiring and successful struggle against Thatcher’s brutal Tory Government, is tragically now being led by a Labour Council that proposes to raise Council Tax by a massive 10%! Instead of refusing to carry out the Tories murderous policies, Labour’s Orwellian solution to the colossal funding cuts facing their city is to promote a tax that disproportionately punishes the poorest in society.
Not wanting to be outdone by Liverpool’s doublespeak-solution to cuts, Leicester city’s Labour-run council have entered new realms of spinelessness. Last week Leicester Labour MP Jon Ashworth announced to some dismay that Leicester “is in the top 20 local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty in the UK with 35.9% of children in poverty after housing costs.”
Leicester’s Labour Council has outdone even the Tories in conjuring up a new toxic solution to this problem by enacting policies that ensure that many of those same children are punished further still. Presently 19,809 of the poorest households in Leicester are already being targeted by Labour by having to pay 20 per cent of their Council Tax. So if that was not enough, the Council are now proposing to raise this figure to 30 per cent — which of course will only serve to engorge the numbers of children confined to poverty.
What cannot be in doubt is that this state of affairs simply cannot continue for much longer, and thankfully the public are already fighting back, regaining confidence in spite of the repeated misleadership shown by Labour councils across the country.
In the face of this swelling tide of anger – illustrated by the growing influx of socialists within the Labour Party’s ranks — last week Leicester city’s Labour council were forced by the public to abandon their attempt to close a vitally needed public library.
Yet adamant not to acknowledge the hope that was represented by a powerful display of people-power, Leicester’s Labour council initially explained that although they had said that the proposed closure of the library was going to save them money, they had been mistaken. After they had “looked in detail” at their initial proposal they came to opposite conclusion that “it didn’t make financial sense.” Instead of celebrating people power, they attempt to undercut the growth of such resistance by resorting to Orwellian accounting practices.
But such tactics will no longer wash with the public, and if such apathetic Labour politicians continue to travel down their own disempowering road of futility, only one thing is certain: the Labour Party will consign themselves to political irrelevance. But this need not be our dark future, as bright horizons of resistance have been opened up by Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise assumption of the Labour Party’s leadership.
The only question that remains is whether Corbyn and his supporters who completely dominate the Labour Party in terms of numbers will act in a decisive fashion to reclaim the party as a home for socialists: to fight for a party whose elected representatives are truly willing to pose a working class alternative to the Tories, thereby releasing the Blairites from positions of undue and often undemocratic influence.
Whether Corbyn can be pressed into taking such actions will ultimately determine whether 2016 is remembered as the year that marked the end of Corbyn or the end of the Blairites. I am hopeful for the latter.