Jeremy Corbyn and the left
Sir, – Kathy Sheridan’s accusation that Jeremy Corbyn has historically taken the easy option of avoiding positions of responsibility, in order to remain in a comfort zone of protestation, is typical of the type of commentary on this topic since the UK election was called (“May and Corbyn – two sides of the same coin”, Opinion & Analysis, June 21st).
The fact is that Jeremy Corbyn has been pretty consistent in his politics throughout his career as an MP.
What your columnist seems to ignore is the fact that during Tony Blair’s stewardship, Labour took a significant shift to the right in order to ingratiate itself with the neoliberal zeitgeist that pervaded in the years following Thatcherism. This “third way”, where there was a naive expectation that the markets would develop some degree of social responsibility, meant that the ideas espoused by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn became increasingly marginalised. The idea of him having a position of responsibility during these years was not realistic but he maintained his positions throughout despite repeated derision.
Recent years have demonstrated that what was actually naive was the delusion that corporate interests had any interest in a social dividend. The austerity that came from the socialisation of private debt was a stark demonstration of this reality. When the opportunity arose for Mr Corbyn to step up, he took it on, and his performance during in this recent election has demonstrated that he is indeed capable of performing at this level. His message, like that of Bernie Sanders, has resonated with vast numbers of those disenfranchised by years of failed economics.
The assertion that he would not be able to deal with the responsibility of governance seems to have been made in the context of operating within the confines of the ongoing orthodoxy of economic austerity rather than a return to more socially responsible policies, including real accountability for the corporate sector. I have no doubt that should Mr Corbyn come to power, the full weight of the market would be thrown against him and that he would come under severe pressure to compromise his core beliefs. However, I believe he would put all his energies into improving social justice and equality, and would not shirk from that responsibility. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Why does Kathy Sheridan feel the need to defend Theresa May’s decision not to visit Grenfell Towers in the aftermath of the terrible fire there, and to criticise Jeremy Corbyn’s wholehearted response? Does she not believe that people can put aside personal interests and security and truly empathise with the victims of such a tragedy? And what has Theresa May being a vicar’s daughter got to do with it? Surely you would think she would be the first to offer her help and a listening ear?
She also makes a sneering reference to our politicians. In the 32 years I have been resident in Ireland, one of the things that has impressed me most is the availability of TDs to their constituents, and how very hard any TD I have met works for those same constituents. – Yours, etc,