Sunday, 17 July 2016

Dear Jeremy Corbyn

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

You would doubtless like to see [1] a Labour Party that espoused good Socialist principles, [2] that advocated them clearly, [3] that attracted gifted men and women to the party, [4] that motivated them sufficiently to dedicate a couple of years of their life to fighting an election, and [5] that won over sufficient voters in the United Kingdom to win a general election. Should any one of those let you down, you will be ineffectual. 
You are thrilled to find the wave of enthusiasm for your stance on Iraq, Trident, and Austerity that swept you to the leadership of the Labour Party in September 2015. On that basis there are some grounds for thinking that your stance might win a majority in the event of a general election, and no doubt you would like that put to the test. But, as Bismarck  shrewdly said, "Politics is the Art of the Possible". An idealist would doubtless stick to "the truth" even when no one listens, and no one follows. But the pragmatic dictum is nevertheless true to the extent that what actually happens is not achieved by the ineffectual idealist, but by the effectual realist; either a high-minded realist, or a low-minded realist.
To win a general election you need 650 loyal and able candidate MPs, and 10 million voters in the country. What is needed is idealism plus management skills, plus analytical power to calculate the effect of policy options, plus energy, rhetoric and luck. So, there is work to be done. Do you need help? Are you making good use of the available talent in the Party?
Has Labour a policy on:
Quantitative Easing?
Sale of council houses?
Proportional representation?
Worker participation on boards (Mitbestimmung)?
High-Speed rail?

Ownership of rail and telephone networks?
Grammar schools and Academies?
Curtailing the scope of the NHS so that it can achieve its aims?
Reforming the tax system along the lines of the Mirrlees Report?

Yours sincerely, Ian West
Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire.

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