A Jewish academic nails the problem with the centrist reaction to Corbyn’s election result

Jeremy Corbyn

From the moment the BBC announced the results of its exit poll, it was clear that the establishment in Britain would seek to destroy ‘Corbynism’ on the back of it and take Labour back to the ‘centre ground’. But a Jewish academic and media activist just nailed the major problem with that position.

You lost

Justin Schlosberg is a senior lecturer in Journalism and Media at Birkbeck College, University of London. He’s also on the Co-ordinating Committee of the Media Reform Coalition. In response to the push for a return to centrism, he posted the following on Twitter:

As Schlosberg says, the case for centrism is smashed by the election result. The Liberal Democrats, for example, totally failed to attract enough people to a centrist cause to make any meaningful headway. Also, the MPs who defected from Labour and the Conservatives to stand on a more centrist position lost their seats. Furthermore, in Scotland, the SNP gained a number of seats. The SNP’s policies are more aligned with those offered by Jeremy Corbyn in this election than with centrist ideas.

Read on...

So these election results make the case against centrism, not for it.

You backed the other side

Schlosberg also pointed out:

Those who want to yank Labour back to the centrist days of Tony Blair have been a source of many of the attacks on Corbyn’s Labour. And, of course, Britain’s mainstream media outlets have been more than willing to spread those smears around. So the academic argues they paved Johnson’s “road to victory”.

And as he says:

At least Corbyn kept his seat. And his integrity

Corbyn certainly does still have his integrity. He’s held onto it through four years of vicious attacks and smears from the British establishment. That’s something he will never lose. Destructive centrists, meanwhile, wouldn’t know integrity if it smacked them in the face.

Featured image via Only Zoom/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Personally mlk described one of the main problems with centrists what he called moderates in his letter from a birmingham jail, I’ve read similar critiques from suffragettes especially in regards to herbert asquith and lloyd george too.

      ‘I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection’.


    2. Labour, SNP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and Green seats add up to nearly 260. That’s 260 constituencies which voted for distinctively left-of-centre parties. Hardly a disaster for the Left. 70 seats short of a majority. 59 seats have been lent to the Tories by people like the man from Doncaster just interviewed on Radio 4 who says he may well vote Labour next time. Take a look behind the headlines and the rhetoric and who has suffered the disaster? The country, of course, but the Tories too. They have ostensibly offered public spending munificence but are committed to no tax increases. Leaving the EU will shave a few percent off GDP. That will reduce Treasury receipts by a few billion. Where is Johnson going to find the money? Behind the flummery, the Tories are offering more austerity. Johnson claims to love buses, but where is the funding for public transport? The Labour point is correct: given climate change, the bus fleet has to be carbon neutral. What is there in the Tory manifesto about this?
      It won’t be long before disillusion sets in. Those 300,000 folk in the north who gave Johnson his majority will get their exit from the EU, but they will find their hospitals still under pressure because the real terms funding Johnson is offering will not solve the crisis. Those voters have put leaving the EU before renewing the NHS. Out of the EU we will be a little poorer and significantly weaker. Immigration from the EU may fall, but overall immigration won’t. Those voters, like the rest who have put their faith in leaving the EU, will find their expectations frustrated. Johnson has effectively rid his party of its Left. There is real disaster looming for the Tories. Especially if Labour sticks to its left of centre guns. Those suggesting we should return to the Blairite doctrine of taking the politics out of politics only reinforce the stupefaction which has led to people losing their political orientation. The central intent to democratise the benefits of civilisation must remain. That means transforming the culture. The vacuous doctrines of social mobility and meritocracy must be replaced by a commitment to democratic equality because huge differences of wealth undermine democracy. Johnson is committed to inequality. It is his doctrine. It is what the Right of the Tory party believes in. Therein lies his peril.

    3. Centrists want their cake and eat it. It’s time they were rejected for their fundamental dishonesty.

      Equality, fairness and justice for all mean nothing if you assist in its delay because you pretend half a loaf is an achievement for others when you already have a whole loaf. It isn’t, it’s just letting people starve a little slower.

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