Labour and Democracy: A bad romance
I have a hunch re the Labour Party and in particular Jeremy Corbyn at the moment; during the run-up to the election, if Jeremy Corbyn drew breath in a slightly odd fashion it was the subject of intense mainstream media scrutiny and criticism. However, the General Election changed all that, now, he can seemingly do no wrong, in fact, he is displaying disturbing signs of being wrapped-around in Teflon, nothing thrown at him seems to stick. It is his opposite number, Mrs May, who has suddenly started suffering from the reverse King Midas effect, far from turning to political gold, everything she touches turns to something much more brownish in colour and distinctly….well….smelly. So, as you read this bear that in mind, because no matter how valid it is, no matter how it points to deeper truths about the left in general, all the latest media hoo-hah, regarding the Labour leaderships love-in with President Maduro of Venezuela, it won’t make a blind bit of difference to Labour’s poll ratings.
Maduro called a vote to elect a Constituent Assembly to re-draft the Venezuelan Constitution. You have to admire his dash with approval ratings of 20%, calling a poll and expecting a good result and it shouldnt be surprising that as many as nearly 5 million voters are alleged to have appeared out of thin-air. Theresa May must be musing on what may have been if she had possessed that kind of power this June but, then again, knowing her luck even phantom voters would have probably voted for Mr Corbyn. Obviously emboldened by this stunning victory, Mr Maduro promptly took a leaf out of the Momentum playbook and started sacking dissidents within the regime, to add ontop of a general campaign of violent intimidation and wrongful imprisonment. Forget the shameful disregard for democracy for a minute, one has to wonder what the Labour Party in this country, noted for its consistent attack on the Conservative governments lack of compassion for the poor, finds so admirable about a country where:
So dire have things become under the successor [Maduro] that children compete for food scraps with stray dogs in restaurant bins. Many Venezuelans have fled abroad. The rest struggle in increasingly squalid conditions. Infant mortality has risen sharply over the past year, as has malnutrition.
However, as is always true in really-existant leftist utopias, it is not all doom and gloom:
Yet for the governing circle the good life goes on. Renowned for its succulent steak, the Amazonia Grill was packed at lunchtime on Wednesday with members of the ruling elite and their bodyguards.
Maybe these are the kind of restaurants where Mr Corbyn and the Labour glitterati are hoping to be invited in the near future; that is if they can square the potentially tricky circle of supporting Comrade Maduro against a socialist opposition.
The fact is that hatred of democracy is grafted into the left’s political DNA and I should know having spent the first half of my active life active on the far and Labour left. It has something to do with it’s prioritising of the collective over the individual. Once you wander down that road there is some logic to regarding democracy at best as something that is to be endured, maybe manipulated in your favour and eventually dispensed with – all in the service of the ‘greater good’, of course. This authoritarian drift has definitely got alot worse since its infatuation with Islam has taken serious hold but be under no illusions this tendency was always there – you only have to think of Stalinism and read Animal Farm at least once to see that. What should really be worrying us is that Labour is so popular and does seem so immune to criticism. We are, in my opinion, on the cusp of a Labour government and how long after that, will the horrors on the streets of Caracas, which seem so far away now, move much closer to home???