Jeremy Corbyn’s positive vision of a better, more equal Britain cuts right through identity politics, writes DENISE CHRISTIE
THE clear and convincing message delivered by Jeremy Corbyn to the Scottish Labour conference on Sunday was the need for radical redistribution of political and economic power across Britain.
Jeremy once again provided a searing analysis and critique of an unjust, unequal and often callous system.
However, he didn’t just criticise at Perth on Sunday, he also offered the type of progressive and socialist vision that got him elected (twice) and saw Labour membership rocket to over half a million people.
People understand Jeremy’s message to be true. That it is class and not identity that still has the greatest impact on most people’s lives, curtailing and limiting as it often does people’s horizons, aspirations and life chances from birth. Class knows no boundaries and unemployment, poor housing and poverty pay are as visible in Glasgow as they are in Grimsby.
They know, as Jeremy outlined, that the economy is rigged and privileges the few over the many and that it must be challenged.
Jeremy was 100 per cent correct in saying the Tories claim they want to take back power from Brussels and that the SNP wants to take power back from Westminster.
But neither of them wants to take economic power back from multinationals or big business and, in fact, Theresa May’s government seems intent on handing power to a despotic US president.
Neither of them wants to change and transform the economy in a way that ensures no-one and no community is left behind.
The positive vision offered by the Labour Party through a people’s constitutional convention cuts through identity politics.
Jeremy’s vision of political and economic power which is genuinely redistributed from owners to employees, from landlords to communities and from bankers to people is a vision that is supported throughout the party.
Labour sees federalism as the way to achieve this vision.
The Red Paper Collective has been championing a radical federal vision for Britain for over five years.
Red Paper member, economist Lesley Brennan, a Dundee Labour councillor, delivered a fantastic socialist speech at Scottish Labour conference outlining how there must be a radical federal structure to ensure that the nations and regions have the powers necessary to bring about political responses to meet local needs.
This requires three things. First, a federal solution for Britain which decentralises power so that local matters are decided by local government elected by and known to the local people who will be directly affected by those decisions, rather than by remote Westminster MPs.
Second, a redistribution of wealth and power so that we can rebuild a socially just country based on a strong economy in every region and nation of the country and not just in a few affluent areas.
And third, co-operation and solidarity between all the parts of the country, which means the pooling of common resources to make sure that there is more equity.
Jeremy was also on the button when he made clear on Sunday that only the Labour Party is truly committed to the redistribution of power and wealth in a way that no other party will even consider, let alone achieve.
And only the Labour Party is committed to redistributing more power and wealth across our nations and regions via massive investment from the creation of a national investment bank, with Scottish, Welsh and regional banks to support investment-led growth.
It’s this radical Labour programme that is needed more now than ever.
The shadow chancellor John McDonnell, along with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn, will be in Glasgow on Saturday March 11 at the Royal Concert Hall for a conference entitled The Future of the Scottish Economy.
This is part of a series of public events around Britain to broaden the debate around economics, designed to help democratically develop policy from the bottom up.
Austerity is a political choice, not an economic imperative with both the Tories and the SNP at the forefront of it. The only anti-austerity party with the vision to change direction is Labour.
Labour is certainly up for the fight but in order to win, it must be united for a fairer society.
The first ever Labour MP Keir Hardie once said: “Socialism offers a platform broad enough for all to stand upon.”
It’s the Labour Party — the party of labour, of the trade union movement, of internationalism, of diversity and of aspiration — that must build that platform and it must be broad enough so that workers, carers, businesses, students, nurses, teachers, firefighters, pensioners and families of all ages and backgrounds can all stand shoulder to shoulder.
Jeremy showed again on Sunday that despite the attacks, the vilification and the setbacks, he is the only party leader developing that broad platform necessary to radically transform our society and provide hope to the millions struggling under an increasingly unfair and unequal burden.
Denise Christie is regional treasurer for the Fire Brigades Union Scotland