By Tommy Sheridan
Jeremy Corbyn launched his general election campaign with the passion and assuredness of a man convinced that the socialist principles of fairness, justice, peace and social equality are shared by the majority of human beings across the UK. For decades I have waited on a Labour leader to call out the obscene inequalities of wealth and power which stalk and haunt every part of Britain and refuse to be part of the cosy Establishment consensus that demands elections are about nuances and peripheral matters but never about real power and the socio-economic system that imposes great wealth cheek by jowl alongside great poverty.
In one statement Corbyn articulated the hopes and aspirations which the trade union and socialist pioneers of one hundred years ago carried in their hearts when they formed the Labour Party in 1918. Referring to the Johnson decision to press for a December election for the first time since 1923 in the hope that many potential anti-Tory voters will be deterred from voting by the dark and wintry conditions Corbyn said:
“Even if the rivers freeze over, we’re going out to bring about real change for the many, not the few.” https://labour.org.uk/press/jeremy-corbyns-first-major-speech-of-the-general-election-campaign/
At last we have a Labour leader prepared to call out the British Elites and Establishment and hold them responsible for the social and economic crimes they commit with wanton abandon because they possess the arrogance and sense of privilege belonging in the wealthy millionaires club bestows upon them.
The millionaire and billionaire tax evasion which denies several billions to the health service and education systems every year; the abuse land ownership, much of it inherited at birth, to rip off tenants desperately struggling to pay rising rents on low and stagnant wages; the polluting of and endangering the environment in pursuit of maximum profit displaying blatant disregard for climate change warnings and concerns; and the use of unacceptable employment practices like employing workers on insecure zero hours contracts, paying inadequate wages and imposing Victorian era working conditions to squeeze outrageous profits from their labour.
Jeremy Corbyn displayed courage and conviction by the bucket load when he name checked and outed the Duke of Westminster as a rogue landlord; Jim Ratcliffe, owner of INEOS and Britain’s richest individual, for environmentally dangerous fracking and tax evasion (by living on a luxury yacht throughout the year), Mike Ashley of Sports Direct as a disreputable millionaire employer and parasitical owner of Newcastle Football Club and Richard Branson, the PR savvy billionaire who makes millions of pounds from NHS privatisation schemes and suing the publicly owned health service when he loses out on private tenders https://www.rt.com/uk/430468-branson-virgin-sues-nhs/.
Most courageous of all was Corbyn’s calling out of the billionaire media magnate Rupert Murdoch who has in the past used his powerful media outlets like the Sun, News of the World and Times to publicly destroy politicians who dared to oppose him and his daily promotion of lies, distortions and racist and sexist bile designed to divide communities and turn diversity into a problem to be countered instead of a virtue to be fostered.
Murdoch is nowhere near as powerful as he once was after he was forced in July 2011 to close the News of the World in a storm of outrage generated by the revelation that they had hacked the phone of a kidnapped and subsequently murdered school girl in pursuit of a story. That illegal hacking critically hampered the desperate police search for the girl https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/may/01/milly-dowler-hacking-rebekah-brooks.
Since that disgusting revelation his company, News Group Newspapers, who owned the News of the World, has been forced to pay out up to one billion pounds in court settlements and legal fees to the victims of the illegal and immoral phone hacking that his staff were regularly engaged in. Now his other title, the Sun, faces bruising court battles for also being involved in criminal phone hacking activities as alleged victims, including some who have already successfully sued the News of the World, hope to prove that the Sun newspaper was also guilty of the crime https://www.bylineinvestigates.com/murdoch/2019/10/25/exclusive.
Many politicians with progressive platforms in opposition to Murdoch’s sexist, racist, anti-immigration and anti-trade union agenda have refused to stand up to Murdoch in fear that he may turn his newspapers against them. Instead of cowering before Murdoch and his reactionary press baron billionaires Corbyn has called them out. That’s what makes Corbyn the real deal when it comes to challenging the elites who comprise the British Establishment:
“And whose side are you on? The billionaire media barons like Rupert Murdoch, whose empire pumps out propaganda to support a rigged system. Or the overwhelming majority who want to live in a decent, fair, diverse and prosperous society”? https://labour.org.uk/press/jeremy-corbyns-first-major-speech-of-the-general-election-campaign/
Jeremy Corbyn posed the key question throughout his speech ‘Whose side are you on? He spoke up for ordinary families, young and old, black and white, employed and unemployed. He sought to highlight the fact that the real dividing line in society is not between Leavers and Remainers in relation to Brexit but between the Few and the Many in society as a whole, the Haves and Have Nots, the Powerful and the Powerless. It was an incredibly sincere oration laced with concrete policy measures that would fundamentally challenge the inequalities in society and make millions of ordinary citizens better off.
I am a socialist who believes passionately in fairness, social justice and waging war on poverty and inequality not on other peoples across the world. I was inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s presentation and the policies he outlined. I sincerely hope the citizens of England and Wales listen to what Corbyn has to say and examine his manifesto. He would make an excellent Prime Minister and has earned te right to be given a chance to govern. However I am also a passionate believer in an independent Scotland, an independent socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic to be precise. Towards that end I will be voting for the SNP in Scotland and encouraging others to do likewise.
Scotland is a country. That is the starting point in my argument. The SNP are not a socialist party and don’t stand for many of the policies Corbyn promoted today. That is true. Yet many of those policies are already implemented by the SNP in Government. Free prescriptions, no tuition fees and free elderly care for instance. They also share the same steely determination to keep the NHS public and free at the point of use in contrast to Boris Johnson and his plan to open it up to Trump’s corporate vultures. The SNP are a left of centre political party who also stand for Scottish independence. That is why I will give them my vote on December 12th.
Voting SNP will not hamper Corbyn’s quest for power as every Tory eliminated in Scotland to make way for an SNP MP is a vote that Corbyn’s Labour can rely on for progressive policies and public sector investment. SNP MPs will vote for a Corbyn budget and unleash better life potential for millions in England and Wales. In return Scotland will not be refused it’s internationally recognised democratic right to hold another independence referendum in August/September of next year.
Some socialists in Scotland and across the UK will criticise me for refusing to back Corbyn in Scotland. They are entitled to their opinions. Those from England and Wales are disadvantaged by being unaware of just how useless a bunch the Scottish Labour leaders are. They are certainly no Corbyn enthusiasts and most of them are so steeped in the British Union and the crime of uniting with the Tories in the 2014 anti-independence campaign that they will never again regain the trust of working class voters and communities.
I’m for socialism and independence. I oppose the monarchy and the European Union. I despise poverty, obscene inequality and nuclear weapons None of the parties in the December election articulate all of my views but the SNP comes closest despite its EU and NATO allegiances. It’s SNP for me in Scotland and an appeal to all in England and Wales to vote for Corbyn’s Labour.