Austerity always was a lie and the preparedness of Labour to buy into self-flagellating nonsense was a crime against the vulnerable. The Labour Right sold their souls. The Labour Centre became accomplices.
I voted for Corbyn because he is not a liar and he is not a crook.
If Corbyn had not appointed McDonnell, it would have been claimed that he was stabbing an old mate in the back. If he had not appointed Burnham, he would have been accused of pursuing divisive grudges. If he had not kept Hilary Benn, he’d have been accused of sacking a moderate whose father he hero-worshipped. As it is, he ended up effectively making Angela Eagle the supernumerary deputy leader that Tom Watson had publicly stated he would like to share the job with.
(I for one had assumed some such deal with Angela Eagle after her HuffPo piece a couple of weeks ago which I read at the time as a letter of application in spite of the fact she was standing against Watson.)
Further, of course, he needed a Shadow Chancellor who has not just consistently rejected the Austerity narrative but who was critical of some of the poor calls Gordon Brown DID make – I speak as one with a fair amount of time for many of the calls Brown made…He needs a Shadow Chancellor who will be rude to George Osborne and to whom Osborne can’t simply bluster at.
I think I am correct in saying that this is the first Shadow Cabinet in history with gender parity. That ought to be the story.
Let’s be absolutely clear because this is important.
I accept that the argument that appointing at least one, and preferably two, women to the traditional ‘high offices’ in the Shadow Cabinet would be both desirable in itself and in terms of perception is a respectable feminist position.
I just don’t think it is the only respectable feminist position given 1. the fact that several leading women contenders for such officers had both explicitly recused themselves and also had a history of serious complicity in the austerity lie, the benefit scroungers lie, the bogus asylum seekers lie and the War and 2. the austerity lie in particular has been used in ways that impact particularly hard on women. Fighting that lie, and war with Syria, have to be priorities for the Shadow Cabinet and should be priorities for feminists.
If the long-term consequence of New Labour is that in order to be in striking position of high office almost everyone had to make horrific compromises and women and other marginalized groups had to be seen to do so more enthusiastically than anyone else, that is a condemnation of how New Labour worked that should not be held to the account of those who opposed it, took the consequences of opposing it and are now overthrowing it.
I hope that Jeremy Corbyn’s argument that ‘high offices’ is an old way of looking at things with which he will have no truck is something he holds himself to and that he means it when he says that eg Education and Health ought in the modern world to be as important as any other Cabinet posts.
It is absolutely right that feminists be concerned about the ‘brocialism’ issue and equally absolutely right that they weigh it with other aspects of the interests of women.
Let us wait and see and not do the Tories’ – or New Labour revanchistes’ – work for them.