Today's headlines will surely carry a bevvy of negative headlines surrunding Jeremy Corbyn. After all, the day does end in a "y". Behind the ongoing media circus of braying playground bullies posing as journalists, the government, and the increasingly hapless, and mystifyingly ambitious Chancellor took another bruising. I advise you now, to go to the Tower of London as quickly as you can if the newspapers fail to find fault with Corbyn for Gideon's systemic failings. For if such a spectacle comes to pass, the ravens will surely fall from the Tower walls in shock, and the kingdom will undoubtedly fall. Waking up to the news of the most welcome developments in parliament yesterday, this was my reaction:
Now, the above tweet may not win me any awards for tact from the prigs and the politically hawkish, but it does kind of some up the entire approach of the government to taxation, and the welfare state. George Osbourne yesterday had to stand before the commons and announce that he was climbing down over the issue of cutting tax credits, at the same time admitting implicitly that he had made a monumental miscalculation in pursuing such an ideologically acerbic policy. Of course, he, and Conservative Party activists and spin doctors will try to speak in terms of "doing the poor a favour", but the truth is plain to see. However, despite this representing a huge scalp in the fight to repel the worst effects of blind austerity, Osbourne will forever fail to admit that he got his numbers wrong on the policy. The move to cut tax credits was only ever attempted as a mechanism by which the tabloid press could make hay with the 'pro-worker' policies of the tories, whilst the fiscal impact of raises to the minmum wage could be significantly emoliated for lobbyists representing major employers. The facts bore out the truth, again and again. Cuts to tax credits would only serve to make the disadvantaged worse off. A number of independent reputable institutions and economists warned Osbourne of the perils of his policy, but he only listened when he realised that he had erroneously relied on members of the Lords to back him up in further readings of the legislation.
So what was it that made George so reliant upon the "ayes" and the "noes" of the "other place"? Normally, he would have been able to count on a healthy supply of opposition MPs to shoehorn austerity through the commons, guided by a blinkered and jumpy Labour Leader more frightened of Rupert Murdoch's ire than the prospect of condemning generations of children to compounded poverty and hopelessness. So what is different this time? Politics, is changing. Admittedly, that change is manifesting itself at a painfully slow pace, but it is manifesting itself, in the same way that a container ship changes course in choppy seas: Slowly, grudgingly, and with huge clouds of mud dredged left and right. The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell spoke with a knowledge and a passion that belied the painfully short period of time he will have had to read the Chancellor's proposals, and the associated statistics. He displayed the type of economic acument that Osbourne could only dream of, again showing up the Conservative leadership as being clueless in the art of understanding things you cannot buy, class being one of them.
Osbourne and Cameron are still struggling to master a strategy of how to effectively tackle an opposition under Jeremy Corbyn who are not cowed by the childish outbursts of a recalitrant press. They have attempted to smear, to lie, to castigate. Only a few flecks of mud have stuck, and even then, only in the eyes of the ardently right wing, and the gullible. Corbyn meanwhile, has showed himself as unwilling to change his political approach, despite occupying high office. He has been relentless in campaigning, not just on the tax credits issue, but also by providing a presence, and a moral commentary of why government policies are so wrong, so counterproductive, and so damaging for those who need the protection of government the most.
This of course, is the difference between the tired, beige strategies of previous opposition leaders, and those of the present Leader of the Opposition. He has exposed starkly, two of the largest misnomas currently bouncing around within the nation's political psyche: That the British public is largely right wing in tendencies, and that the groundswell of popular support propelling Corbyn and Labour to ever greater popularity and legitimacy, as the providers of a viable alternative to feckless austerity and tax relief for the wealthy is born from a rush of socialists and commies coming out from their hiding places. The British public are generally quite left wing in their instinctive beliefs. It is only after they are spoon fed the scare stories, twisted slants, and propaganda of massed media that they reject what they are told by billionaire press barons, what are supposedly the aspirations of the left. Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are enjoying a massive rise in popularity, because they have an appetite to OPPOSE, to REPRESENT, to CAMPAIGN, and to speak up for those in the crosshairs of government policy, not those cheering on the tories from the sidelines.
Today, I am sure that poorer families will breathe a sigh of relief at the news of this U-Turn. The battle however, is far from over. The tories are still determined to use the deficit as a cloak for their assault on the welfare state. Corbyn and McDonnell, will have to use every ounce of political nouse that they possess if they are to sustain their positive effect to date upon parliamentary scrutiny from the front bench, and indeed upon a party that was tired, irrelevant, insular, and increasingly arrogant in it's approach. So whilst Corbyn counts the legions of new party members he has attracted, I would advise George Osbourne to lock himself away in his office, and perhpas recount his "friends" in the lords and the commons who are still willing to back his increasingly transparent, and wayward agenda. If I were to race across to the Tower of London this morning, (and let's face it, the UK press are so predicatable that I will stay in Yorkshire and instead tut at yet more twisted reporting!) would also advise the Yeoman of the Guard to conduct a headcount of the ravens. One prominent Tory summed it up succinctly, employing the words of Lyndon B Johnson: "You gotta know how to count"