Springingtiger's Blog

The Times They Are A-Changin’ Corbyn Says So (and Corbyn doesn’t lie)


I watched Jeremy Corbyn politely and courteously knocking all Andrew Marr’s questions for six while remaining relaxed and casual. One thing he said particularly made me prick up my ears and that was, “The times they are a changing”, which is of course, a Bob Dylan song. Andrew Marr who had just been made to look somewhat shallow after admitting that all his opinions were formed from reading newspapers, needless to say, did not pick up on the implications of the remark. In that one line Corbyn demonstrated why he commands a huge following among ordinary people and the young, many of whom have probably never heard the song and certainly weren’t born when it was written. However the words of the song speak directly to the world we live in now.

What the song said back in the Sixties and Corbyn is saying now is that the world has changed and the old certainties no longer apply. There are many among Tony Blair’s disciples like Angela Eagle who think that by dishonestly manipulating rules the status quo can be preserved. Recent events around the world show they are wrong. Unlike many of his opponents Jeremy Corbyn has been an active participant in the movements that transformed society in the second half of the Twentieth Century, unlike the ‘critics who prophesize’ with their pens Corbyn’s eyes are open and he is picking up on the signs of change. The song is not only a song of revolution, but of hope and vision. Corbyn is declaring that he, of all politicians is offering hope because he has a vision that a better future is possible a vision that Angela Eagle’s campaign launch shows she is utterly lacking.

The Brexit vote has revealed that the division between generations so much remarked upon in the Sixties is greater than ever with a very real resentment from the young of an older generation who after dismantling the welfare state, devaluing education, wrecking the economy and destroying employment prospects and rights have now taken the country out of the EU. The younger generation felt European, they felt at home in Europe and now something that they saw as full of promise has been stolen from them. Alone among senior politicians, Corbyn reaches out to the young. Mothers and fathers throughout the land criticise and can’t understand that their interests, aspirations and beliefs are not those of their children, but Corbyn realises that the young demand a voice and a politics that comes from a better future rather than the ‘business as usual’ promised by Eagle and the establishment. The young and disenfranchised look at the Blairites and the Tories and fail to distinguish any difference between them, whereas in Corbyn they see a man who stands, as he has for decades, like a bulwark against a corrupt and oppressive establishment. Whereas the right insist on adhering to the same practices that have allowed the rich to get richer at the expense of the majority, Corbyn is prepared to try something different, to hand power over their own lives back to ordinary people.

The politicians in Westminster and the money grubbers in the city have been so busy feathering their own nests that they have failed to see that outside a battle is raging. Where they do notice protest they either ignore it or use the forces of the state to suppress it. They ban demonstrations from Westminster bridge, put gates on Downing Street, outlaw Trades Union activities, baton charge and ‘kettle’ protestors without regard to their safety, allow the security services unfettered access to citizens private communications, employ venal journalists to propagate the establishment’s claims rather than investigate and challenge them. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, ultimately apply to much pressure on society and it will explode. When that day comes it is the politicians and businessmen and their allies who will be swept away by the flood.

What Corbyn offers is a real alternative. Not only a kinder politics, but a participative politics. It is no accident that he has built the Labour Party into the largest popular political party Britain has ever seen. Unlike his enemies in the Parliamentary Labour Party, Corbyn is offering ordinary people the chance to participate in the government of their country. Millions of Leave voters voted ‘to get their country back’ and now the Conservative Parliamentary Party, mostly Remain voters, have appointed a Prime Minister without any input from the electorate, a Prime Minister who campaigned to remain in the EU. We know from research that much of the Leave vote was motivated by a sense that Westminster ignored ordinary people. It is to this discontent with the establishment that Corbyn speaks. One of the PLPs criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn is that he was not unquestioning in his support of the EU. His stance was clearly that the EU requires radical reform and it is best to stay in and fight for them, it is a stance that many Leave supporters share. Corbyn’s vision for Europe was one based on social justice rather than greed. However the British people have spoken and unlike other politicians Corbyn puts the will of the people above the interests of career politicians or the profits of financiers. The economic problems caused by Brexit are already leading the establishment to demand further austerity, and let’s not forget Angela Eagle and most of the Labour rebels refused to vote against austerity measures, Jeremy defiantly voted against. If Brexit does cause economic damage, under Corbyn Labour would fight to share the burdens equitably rather than accept disproportionate austerity, whereas Angela Eagle’s record suggest she might complain, but would than abstain and allow the Tories to do what they liked. Since Corbyn became leader Labour has been actively opposing the government and the establishment for the first time in years.

Look around the world, we’ve had a rise in peoples movements, even in the USA socialism is no longer a dirty word. Ordinary people are demanding a voice everywhere and in Britain only Corbyn (and in Scotland, Sturgeon) is prepared to give them that voice.

“Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside ragin’

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’” (Bob Dylan)


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[…] of days I have written a couple of posts about the Labour leadership crisis, about Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn. I would love to make this the last for a […]

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