By Arun Srivastava
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised to “put power in the hands of workers” if the party wins the next election, including setting up a new enforcement agency to boost employment rights. He has also set out the four pillars of a “sensible” Brexit deal he would negotiate with the EU.
Promise to raise these two abundantly makes it explicit that Corbyn is sure of his becoming the prime minister and Labour party forming the government. These two points also make clear that at the next week’s party conference the cadres, members and the activists will launch a bid to shift the party’s position towards campaigning to remain in the EU.
Notwithstanding the stand of the senior shadow cabinet figures — John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson and Nick Brown — who have made it clear that they would campaign to stay in the EU bloc regardless of any Brexit deal negotiated by Labour, Corbyn is also contemplating to make a tactical shift to remain.
Writing in the Guardian, Corbyn has made his determination clear to seek a better Brexit deal from the EU, which the party believes it could negotiate quickly based on conversations already undertaken with Brussels. He wrote: “A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections.”
Corbyn also projected Labour as “the only UK-wide party ready to put its trust in the people of Britain to make the decision”. He said; “Labour is the only party determined to bring people together. Only a vote for Labour will deliver a public vote on Brexit. Only a Labour government will put the power back into the hands of the people. Let’s stop a no-deal Brexit — and let the people decide.”
Out of the 90 motions, connected to Brexit, tabled by local parties ahead of the conference in Brighton, which will begin on Saturday 21 September, around 81 called for Labour to explicitly support remain, while there were none opposing a second referendum which included a remain option.
Before going to polls Labour is also undergoing an ideological image makeover. To accomplish it Labour activists are planning to adopt the most radical set of ideas, precisely leftist ideas, ever proposed at party conference, later this month as they try to shape the manifesto for an expected snap election. The votary of this ideological tactics are the younger leaders and activists of the party.
Young members believe Corbyn has allowed radical ideas to flourish, beyond traditional areas. After decades of rightwing dominance, a transatlantic movement of leftwing economists is building a practical alternative to neoliberalism.
Significantly the leftwing grassroots group Momentum of Labour has announced it is backing a zero carbon target by 2030 as part of a Green New Deal agenda. If passed the target will be Labour’s most progressive green policy and among the most radical of any European political party. In the UK other political parties commit to net-zero by 2050.
This has been happening when the mass Labour membership is notably more remain-minded than the party’s official policy, with one survey from January saying 72 per cent sought a second referendum, and 88 per cent saying they would back remain if one was held. The party would also adopt a resolution which would demand abolishing private schools and ambitious climate change targets.
The new leftwing economics wants to see the redistribution of economic power, so that it is held by everyone – just as political power is held by everyone in a healthy democracy. True enough the opponents of Corbyn are scared of his becoming the prime minister. If somehow Corbyn grabs the power he would implement his leftist policies which are against the interest of the rightist parties which have been talking in the terms of racism and ultra-nationalism.
In the past, centrist British governments tried to reshape the economy by taxation and by nationalisation but this was not enough to boost and promote the interest of UK. The earlier governments tried to replace a private-sector management elite with a state-appointed one driven by employees and consumers, a sort of non-violent revolution in slow motion, but this could bring about a fundamental change in the work culture. The efforts to persuade centrist politicians to drastically reshape the economy could not take a substantive dimension.