“In these times I don’t, in a manner of speaking, know what I want; perhaps I don’t want what I know and want what I don’t know.~
• Marsilio Ficino, The Letters of Marsilio Ficino, Vol. 3
Si, no o quizás?
I read this morning a really good article in the Spanish newspaper El Pais, about Jeremy Corbyn and his chances of winning the General Election. It doesn’t say anything new about how minimal those chances are, but more interestingly it does not understand how he is still so opaque about the issue that will shape the UK in the years to come: Brexit. Unsurprisingly, I completely agree. After listening to him on Tuesday in Manchester during the launch of his campaign, I was quite surprised to see how little he spoke about leaving the EU, compared to how much effort he put in connecting with his hard core labour supporters with measures more in sync with the 1970’s. I am not questioning these proposals just yet, but I do wonder why he almost ignored Brexit.
Before you jump to any conclusions, I am a long life PSOE (Spanish socialist workers party) voter so all this talk of repairing the NHS, social care and school funding with the addition of renationalising the railways and Royal Mail is wonderful music to my ears, but all these things cost money and at this moment in time, with Brexit fast approaching, common sense tells me money does not grow on trees. So leaked manifesto aside I still do not know what Corbyn really thinks about Brexit. He did close to nothing during the almost one year of referendum campaign and still never gives a clear yes or no answer. I understand lots of his voters voted to leave and he needs to please all of the sectors within his party but now it is not the time to have it both ways. I am sure you all want to hear what exactly he will do if he becomes a PM in terms of negotiations with the EU. The country needs hope in a better future for all, not made by a ‘charlatan’ but an assertive ‘I know how to’ kind of guy.
I am not saying anything new. Look around in Europe and see how socialism is showing worrying signs of becoming an irrelevant ghost of the past. All the Labour parties have chosen candidates very loyal to the old values but in reality they do not connect with their voters whose living conditions have changed and do not feel represented. Look at France or Spain. The PSOE is struggling to be the second political force and being back in power, unless they join forces with other parties, it looks like a fantasy. All of the socialist parties across Europe during the 90s adopted more neo-liberal policies, killing their own identities during this process. I blame Tony Blair and his third way for this. They have never recovered their lost identity and they are paying the price now.
This General Election will have vital consequences in the near future for the Labour party and if they do not do well I am not sure Corbyn will keep his seat. Labour needs new blood more in sync with the times we are in. He is admirable but too stuck in his own ways. So stuck I am surprised he has not even considered to offer an open hand to the other parties, such as the Lib Dems who do not want hard Brexit or Brexit at all. After all, as noble as his ideas are, the reshaping of the UK will not start until Brexit is finished and all the parties have one thing in common: beating Ms May. No use of all these dreams if she remains in power, in an even more comfortable position.
“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” said Sylvia Plath. So true in politics, don’t you think? Hasta la proxima amigos.