Saving socialism?

The biggest political laugh of the day is that there’s supposedly something secretive about the Saving Labour campaign. Whatever your view about Jeremy Corbyn, nobody can doubt that a large swathe of the Labour movement is out to get him, with constant charges about incompetence, unsavoury contacts and a lack of vigour in opposing anti-semitism and attacks on women. Nobody can accuse his Saving Labour enemies of being shrinking violets.

No, it’s not secretive, but what exactly is it trying to save? If it’s the Labour Party, then the impulse is understandable, but the bigger question remains: what is the Labour Party for?

We’re sufficiently long in the tooth at Wink to remember the early days of the welfare state, so that there seems nothing outlandish or revolutionary, let alone scary, in the kind of policies Corbyn espouses: higher taxes for those who can afford them, a better funded NHS, some nationalisation and so on.

It seems to us necessary that he wins the upcoming election, not because he’s the epitome of the Great Leader, but so that the party is forced to decide what kind of future it wants to have. Owen Smith has his virtues, but if he wins he’ll find himself helplessly tugged in all directions – by the right-of-centre MPs who see him as a safe pair of Blairite hands and those on the other side tempted to trust in his newfound leftwing beliefs. We’ll have fudge and more fudge.

Saving Labour is a worthwhile objective, but saving socialism is the fundamental challenge.


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