The Point
Last updated: 30 July 2017.

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General Election 2017? Tommy Sheridan reminds us there is much to be cheery about

While there are - and will be - many articles on socialist media analysing why the SNP lost seats or how the Corbyn movement builds from here, Tommy Sheridan writing in the weary hours of Friday morning after the UK General Election, reminds us there are many reasons to be optimistic. 

 

REJOICE, REJOICE, REJOICE

As a committed socialist all my adult life it is essential to develop the ability to see the positive in all situations and remain optimistic about the future. This morning, tired and bleary eyed like many thousands of others, I strongly suggest we have much to celebrate and rejoice about.

Blairism is finished. The election of Jeremy Corbyn, a real and honest socialist, to lead the Labour Party, twice, was a challenge to Blairism. The dastardly attempts to undermine him and force him out of office from his enemies within were the unprincipled actions of the Blairite old guard and clique. They failed. They were injured. They secretly hoped Corbyn would fail miserably. They toured TV studios and courted journalists everywhere like a dark cloud trying to undermine the man and his ideas. This morning they stand exposed as sick bystanders whose time has passed. Corbyn and his radical socialist manifesto is what inspired the 10% increase in vote share despite the obscene and hysterical campaign of the British media and Establishment to demonise him.

Corbyn and socialist ideas won last night. Blairism is finished. Rejoice.

May is politically finished. She is now damaged goods. Shorn of political authority and credibility. She may try and cobble a lame duck government together with the support of the right wing DUP but she is in reality finished. Her tactical nous, personal talents, ability to lead have all now been put under the microscope and the result is abject failure on all counts. From a parliamentary majority to a shambles of a campaign during which her exposure guaranteed even more lost support, May is now on borrowed time. She is a cold, callous, cruel and calculating politician on the Tory right and her standing is now in shreds. June really was the end of May. Rejoice.

UKIP, the media-promoted bunch of bigots and bumbling racists, has been decimated. They now muster less than 2% of the popular vote. Their regular reserved chair on prime programmes like Question Time must surely be over for good. Their poisonous attempt to divide ordinary communities along racial lines and blame immigrants and immigration for the problems caused by an economically rigged and unfair system designed to benefit the elite and impoverish the rest is now lying in ruins. These horrible racists are finished as a political force. Rejoice

Despite the disappointment of Tories winning seats in Scotland the dust will eventually settle and anyone with an operational brain cell will have to admit that the main party of independence in Scotland actually WON the election in our country. In the history of the SNP before 2015 the largest number of Westminster seats they had ever won was 11. Last night they won 35 seats. It is their 2nd best result ever. They won more seats than all the rest added together. They will now be a reduced force in Westminster but a potentially influential force. They as a party cannot any longer oppose austerity cuts in words but implement them locally at council or Scottish Parliament level. If the SNP wants to retain loyalty from working class voters it must promote defiance of Westminster Tory cuts and not compliance with those cuts any longer. Independence as an aim and a means to delivering a better and fairer Scotland is not defeated. Far from it. Young people in particular want an independent Scotland but for the SNP to remain the vehicle for independence they must be more defiant and radical and less compliant with cuts. Class politics is now firmly back on the Scottish and UK political agenda. That class concern will eclipse the constitutional question for a while but the 35-strong group of SNP MPs simply can't do anything but support a Corbyn-led minority government and display complete and utter opposition to the continued governance of the Tories. Scotland voted decisively anti-austerity last night. Defiance of austerity is now the order of the day. Rejoice.

Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and their election campaign team have fought a simply incredible election and delivered a political miracle in such a short space of time. From 24 percentage points behind and a minus 40 popularity rating, Corbyn, in less than 7 weeks, has taken his radical and socialist manifesto the length and breadth of the UK and received a warm and enthusiastic response. Socialist ideas and socialist policies are firmly back onto the political agenda and the neo-liberal nonsense of privatisation, public service cuts, low wages for the poor and low taxes for the rich is now blown asunder. Politics has changed for the better. Jeremy Corbyn is the most radical and left-wing leader in the entire history of the Labour Party and he has secured a brilliant result in the face of incredible barriers both from within and outwith his party. What a brilliant achievement. Rejoice.

Whatever the next few weeks and months hold, and I would not rule out another general election which Labour will win, the idea that Tory austerity will be meekly accepted any longer is gone. Hardworking public service workers within the health service, social care, local authorities and other essential services will no longer accept that they, the low paid, students and pensioners should pay the price of economic greed and incompetence of the rich and their political friends. Austerity will now be fought tooth and nail with a renewed vigour. Trade union leaders not up the fight should prepare to step aside. The political landscape across the UK is now changed. The rich will have to not just start paying their bloody taxes but paying considerably more, so ordinary folk can have a secure and decent standard of life. At long last the carbuncle of an expression, 'the working poor' will be challenged and hopefully removed from the dictionary forever. No one in work should ever be poor. Real and living wages must now be the norm not the exception. Sharing out the vast wealth of society is an idea whose time has come. Rejoice.

The great Muhammad Ali once said, "Inside or outside the ring there ain't nothing wrong with going down. It's staying down that's is wrong" That is the spirit that underscored Jeremy Corbyn's campaign. Those who believe in socialism, fairness, public services, peace, trade union rights, independence and internationalism have much to rejoice about this morning. Thank you, Jeremy Corbyn. You have brought honesty, integrity, intellect, compassion and radically just and fair ideas to the political table and you have been rewarded with mass support. You are a credit to politics.

Tommy Sheridan

External links:

Bella Caledonia

Bright Green

George Monbiot

Green Left

Greenpeace

The Jimmy Reid Foundation

Laurie Penny

New Left Project

Newsnet Scotland

Richard Dawkins

Scottish Left Review

Socialist Unity

UK Uncut

Viridis Lumen

Wings Over Scotland

Word Power Books