Dear Jeremy Corbyn
Saturday 12 September 2015 14:12
Dear Jeremy, I’m writing to tell you how delighted I am that you have won the Labour leadership – and so decisively too. It may come as a surprise to you to know that I and many many of my friends here in Ireland have been watching this contest with a mixture of hope and trepidation, but perhaps part of the explanation lies in the fact that my two sons and their families both live in England (and are among your supporters).
So part of my hope is for them, for an end to the brutal hegemony of the Tories. They work in education, the NHS and heritage and I don’t need to tell you what the Tories have done there. With you as lead of the opposition, they will have someone to fight their corner at last. I am convinced that you stand an excellent chance of being the next Prime Minister, for all the reasons that you outlined in your victory speech about the rejection of austerity, the privatisations, the inequality and the greed, as well as the fact that you and your politics represent a decency that British people believe in, young people in particular.
But I am also hopeful as an Irish citizen and a socialist. You are, above all things, a socialist and an internationalist. At a time of stupid economics which is dragging us back to pirate capitalism, to a time before all our hard-won rights, your economics is intelligent and forward-looking. Despite what the right-wing press would have us believe, nationalisation and government led investment is the only engine that will pull us out of this self-made financialisation trap. We don’t need more CDOs, or whatever new ‘financial product’ the bankers dream up; we need houses and roads and trains and windmills. I think it’s rich that economics journalists whose regard Adam Smith as an authority accuse you of having an outdated economics.
And it’s not just the UK that needs change. Europe needs to escape from the neoliberal nightmare. I believe that you are the kind of person who can energise the Left within Europe. I hope you will take steps to contact other left-wing movements like Podemos and Syriza. I hope too, that you will work constructively with the Green Party, with which you share many policies, and even with the SNP, to form a strong opposition.
I hope also that your win will energise us here in Ireland and show that parties with an intelligent analysis can actually make a difference. In short, I’m hoping that a ‘left moment’ of solidarity and intelligence is happening after the bleak individualism and elitism of the past thirty years.
Trepidation too. There are those within your own party who will seek to neutralise you. But more importantly, the destruction of Syriza at the hands of European technocrats and right-wing politicians is a cautionary tale. Their analysis of what was wrong with Europe made sense too. The imposition of further austerity on Greece proved that the Euro-Right would not accept a proper left-wing government at any price. It also proved that the protection of elites, even of elite egos, was more important than proper planning and thinking.
For that reason I fear that those same European elites will do their damndest to neutralise you. I can envisage an unholy alliance between Murdoch, the right-wing of Labour, the Euro-Right, the City and the Tories, to wreak havoc on your term as leader.
Still, with the people behind you, there is strength. And that is what I most wish for you, Jeremy Corbyn: that you may stay with the people and bring the people with you. A mass movement led by a part of principle is capable of achieving a very great deal because hope and Politics are natural comrades. And that’s how I feel today, on the day of your election. Hopeful. Today marks the return of Politics to the United Kingdom. I wish you every success. For our sake and for yours, don’t let the bastards grind you down.