Parliament (2)

Faced with a new right wing cabinet promising a ‘social agenda’, we must have an idealistic socialist Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. Our society needs this to represent the rights of the workers and fight for equality and social justice.

But let’s not kid ourselves that this will be an electable body nor a credible parliamentary opposition.

Yes we have poverty in the UK and there is a need to hold unscrupulous employers to task, but the business of running the country takes place in Parliament and there must be a credible opposition to the Tories.

With control of much of the media, electoral boundary changes, the rise of the SNP and UKIP, it is difficult if not impossible to see how we can have a ‘Labour’ government any time soon.

But that doesn't mean we have to have a Conservative government.

In the mayoral elections, Sadiq Khan won London for Labour with a ‘soft left’, pro-business and aspirational message.

Ideologically, Khan is a social democrat and seemingly so are the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

The interesting point here is that the PLP is by definition representative of the electorate.

I can fully understand how supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are upset about the way he has been treated but the democratic process that made him Labour leader is at odds with the democratic process that put the majority of Labour MPs into the House of Commons.

The definition of Social Democracy according to Wikipedia is:

“A political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving collective bargaining arrangements, a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions.”

We’re not talking Blairites; that failure of the egos was the equivalent of dodgy property developers covering up the cracks with coats of paint and scenting a house with the smell of fresh bread and coffee.

What the large majority of fair minded people in this country want is some sort of ‘social democracy’ that can provide governance to keep the extremes in check.

Society needs extremes, it needs ‘outliers’ to push the boundaries in both directions but, again by definition, extreme cannot possibly include majority.

Paul Mason suggests that the Labour Party should, “function as a coalition; the centre left accepting the left’s right to lead; the Corbyn camp ceding control of some policy areas to bring talented former ministers back to the front benches.”

Whether this can happen within the confines of the existing party is doubtful and we might have to accept the need for a new ‘soft-left’ of centre organisation that has a memorandum of understanding to jointly provide a credible opposition to the Conservatives and one day to govern the country.

By Nick James, Founder of Fresh Business Thinking