We all love Owen Jones, right?
Here’s an example of why.
‘Tax avoidance is robbery, regardless of what any silver-tongued outrider of the corporate world tells you. Companies depend on the labour of their wealth-creating workers: a workforce expensively trained up by a state education system, kept healthy by state healthcare, and whose low pay is subsidised by the state.
The private sector depends on a bailed-out financial system, state-funded infrastructure, state support for research and development, and a law and order system to protect them and their property.
Companies that depend on state largesse and yet refuse to contribute are, well, scroungers. They deprive the state of revenue as politicians justify the biggest cuts for generations on the basis that there isn’t enough money. They gain a competitive disadvantage over mainly smaller businesses who cannot afford armies of accountants to exploit loopholes. They ensure the rest of us pay more taxes. As I say: robbery.’
Wow. Thats telling it like it is.
But like all love affairs, it can give joy and pain in sometimes equal measure. Here he is getting things wrong.
‘Frustrated [Green] party members often berate me for backing policies on social justice, tax justice, public ownership and workers’ rights that they loudly champion, all the while trying to lobby a Labour leadership that hardly seems receptive.
The reasons for this division on the left are straightforward: many of those who resist the Greens’ flirtations have a commitment to the labour movement, to working people collectively organising for change, and an understanding that – as things stand – a general election represents a choice between a Labour-led and Conservative-led government.’
Why is this so wrong?
1. To suggest that only Labour supporters have a commitment to the Labour movement suggests Owen doesn’t understand either how broad the labour movement is, or the Green Party commitment to supporting it.
2. It is absurd again to suggest that only Labour support working people working collectively for change. How many Labour Party MPs will be on the picket lines with our NHS staff tomorrow? I tell you now, there will be plenty Greens.
3. This is the biggy.
After the Rochester bye election, William Hague was saying precisely the same thing. ‘Come the general election, the electorate will have to decide who is going to be Prime Minister, David Cameron or Ed Miliband.’ It is this arrogant reduction of the arguments in politics which have left voters infuriated. The old parties have been found out. It is a choice increasing numbers are saying they will not make. It makes no difference, they believe, to their lives.
We think that too. If you want real change it is not honest to say a vote for Labour will achieve it, and voters know that now. The right wing of Labour are delighted to have Owen Jones, and others, making out that Labour is a proper place for radical votes. It wasn’t under Blair and Brown, and it certainly isn’t under Miliband.
Its no good Owen Jones and William Hague beating the same drum. Voters are moving to a different rhythm. Owen should get with the beat.