Corbynites aim to undo the 1980s

Corbynites aim to undo the 1980s

Reliving the 1980s: Corbynites’ Dream and Challenge

“I really advise my colleagues in the press corps to listen to the conference. It’s a breath of fresh air and reminds me of 1980.” Tweeted by Paul Mason, this statement garnered a fair share of ridicule at the Labour conference in Brighton. However, it inadvertently reveals the Corbynites’ obsession with the 1980s. For these young activists, who birthed long after the miners’ strike, the 1980s symbolize both a challenge and a template. They yearn to reverse the course of history, taking charge of a new era built on ideologies that sharply contrast those of Margaret Thatcher. Nevertheless, before we delve into the Corbynite agenda, let’s explore the significance of this bygone era.

A Harsh Clash of Ideologies

The 1980s were defined by fierce ideological clashes, bitter industrial disputes, and a decimation of the middle ground. This tumultuous period witnessed the privatization of crown jewels, such as the utilities and British Rail, by the Thatcherites. Market reforms reshaped the nation, dismantling the collective bargaining rights of unions and introducing an internal market in the National Health Service. Furthermore, a wave of council house sales privatized public housing, vastly transforming the social landscape. Inevitably, the North suffered while London and the South thrived due to Mrs. Thatcher’s deregulation of the financial-services industry.

The Corbynite Blueprint

Equipped with the fiery spirit of Thatcherism, Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle yearns to adopt similar tactics, advocating staunchly for the working class. They understand the power of the “ratchet effect,” wherein every step toward nationalization sets a precedent for further intervention. John McDonnell, the brains behind the operation, authorizes a growing collection of policy documents which delineate the blueprint for change. Corbynites realize that tackling opposition from both moderates within the party and external forces requires meticulous planning, akin to Thatcher’s strategies.

Lessons from Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher meticulously planned her tenure, mounting a defense against resistance from within her party (“the enemy within”) as well as trade unions. She skillfully maneuvered loyalists into key positions, kept coal reserves stocked to thwart miners’ rebellion, and staged “war games” to anticipate potential crises. The Corbynites embrace Thatcher’s methods, preparing to wage a similarly hard-fought battle against an establishment poised to resist their radical reforms. Through the restoration of trade unions’ powers, they aim to mobilize a reserve army of workers who will take to the streets in support of fundamental changes.

Exploiting Elective Dictatorship

Unlike many other countries, where the power of the executive is curtailed by checks and balances, the British system allows governments with a solid majority to wield significant authority. Thatcher made full use of this “elective dictatorship” to impose her radical agenda. The Corbynites, too, will exploit this power, encouraged by the belief that breaking away from the neoliberal consensus can address the pressing issues faced by the British people. Private homes instead of council homes, efficient transportation, and economic growth become viable possibilities when the shackles of the Thatcherite consensus are shed.

Reliving History or Reversing It?

The 1970s witnessed the post-war consensus crumbling under the weight of strikes, stagflation, and widespread discontent. The 2010s witnessed a similar breakdown, this time of the neoliberal consensus. The financial crisis obliterated the hope that turbulence would eventually yield a higher standard of living. Margaret Thatcher argued that only by breaking away from a failed consensus could Britain deliver what its people truly desired. Today, Jeremy Corbyn stands as a formidable candidate, leveraging the same maneuver to solve the nation’s pressing issues.

Brace for a Conflict-Ridden Future

Amidst the energy and enthusiasm on display during the Labour conference in Brighton, it becomes increasingly essential for the country to prepare for a potential repetition of the conflict-ridden history of the 1980s. The shoe might now be on the other foot, with the Tories’ present disarray and the Corbynites poised for an ideological resurgence. As they eagerly breathe new life into the 1980s, the nation must brace itself for a new chapter in British politics. A chapter where the clash of ideologies and bitter disputes will shape the destiny of the United Kingdom.