Jeremy Corbyn – and making the impossible, inevitable

Jeremy Corbyn – and making the impossible, inevitable

Date: 18 September 2015

That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”

Milton Friedman, leading thinker of neoliberal economics

There are times when politics is turned on its head. In these times, what were previously considered radical ideas become mainstream. What was once regarded as set in stone, suddenly becomes fluid.

Last weekend, Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. For many years, Jeremy has championed the campaigns of Global Justice Now and dozens of other campaign organisations. He has spoken out against injustice and given huge amounts of his time and energy to bringing the voices of the oppressed and exploited into parliament. His election was unexpected, but should give all of us hope that large numbers of the British public don’t go along with the ‘received wisdom’ of our age; they want something different.

We hope that Corbyn’s front bench will listen to our campaigns and will take up our policies. But we also know that a small group of people, with views sharply at odds with the political and media elite, cannot bring about change on their own. What they can provide is space, to allow us to as citizens to better represent our views and build for change.

This has been an incredible year of ups and downs. The campaign against TTIP has caught the public imagination and we’ve made the deal one of the most toxic issues in the EU. Despite strides forward, the European Parliament voted to support the deal two months ago. We keep going. Greece’s people voted against the prolongation of a depression caused by free market economics twice this year. Yet their wishes have been disregarded and their suffering continues. We keep going.

The outpouring of support for a change that surrounded Jeremy Corbyn’s election is the latest sign that 35 years of free market fundamentalism is reaching its limits. But we have already seen the barrage of fear and hatred unleashed against a politician who dares to question austerity, privatisation, nuclear weapons and NATO.

We don’t know what will happen in the months ahead. But we do know that a space has been created to voice a different opinion and have it listened to. There is a time when alternative ideas which were previously thought ‘untouchable’ can be aired, and people can come together to influence things. We will try to push open this space still further. 

No one party has a monopoly on truth or the whole answer to our problems. We will continue to work with all the parties for a diverse and democratic path to build a different world. But the space we have been given by Corbyn’s election to push the policies and visions we have campaigned on for many years is precious, and needs to be utilised and protected from those who would like to close it down.

For too long, mainstream political debate has been carefully restricted so as not to challenge the power of big business, ‘the market’ and global elites. People have been encouraged to believe that there is no alternative. Mainstream politics has been driven by fear and has engendered selfishness. We have an opportunity to change that. To speak with hope. To convince people that the can take control of the policies of this country. There is an alternative. Things can get better