Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour now stands “on the threshold of power” as Labour continues to lead the polls, and the likelihood of Labour winning the next General Election is most certainly very possible.
How will Corbynism change Britain? What policies will help Corbyn stamp his mark on British political history and society?
A one Margaret Thatcher certainly changed and helped shape British political history and society. From her sweeping privatisation to sales of council homes, crushing the Trade Unions and shaking the establishment of the City of London with the ‘Big Bang’ – opening the City up to everyone, helping her create a new elite of Neaveau-Riche Thatcherite faithfuls.
Corbyn, a man of the old left, will naturally look to reverse her legacy. From sweeping nationalisations, perhaps halting or at the least restricting sales of council housing (though it might be too risky as it’s a popular policy and therefore be avoided). Tuition fees will be scrapped, there will be strengthened Trade Union rights, and the creation of homes and creating jobs for the future. Corbyn will push to end austerity and invest into the country, increasing the role of the state. He will reverse the back-door privatisation of the NHS and restore it to being fully publicly run, hitting two birds with one stone in terms of recking PFI’s of Thatcherism and New Labour.
Most of these resemble the legacy of Clement Attlee and his first Post-War Labour Government. The Labour Party of then is remembered for creating the NHS, but also for building homes and creating lasting jobs.
Will Corbny will be remembered as Attlee is?
Or will his legacy resemble Fraçois Mitterand, the French Socialist President of 1981 till 1995 – his legacy is dubbed as ‘Generation Mitterand,’ not only because a generation grew up under him in the Elysees Palace, but because the youth enjoyed many benefits under him (due to increased spending in education and health) and continued to benefit after his term ended as he introduced the famous French 5-week paid holiday. However, will Corbyn fall into the same trap Mitterand did? By end of Mitterrand’s first term in office, the Socialist Party had abandoned socialist policies in all but name and essentially had adopted free-market liberalism – resembling a soft-version of New Labour, but without privatisation.
Will Corbyn simply “take the country back to the 1970s” as the Telegraph suggested, creating a Trade Union in every work place? With 3 day word weeks and massive strikes, the winter of discontent and Edward Heath’s famous speech of how “we are going to have the hardest Christmas we have known since the War” – the 70s can have a bad legacy. Despite all that though, Britain’s were, according to the BBC in it’s programme on British life of the 70s (called “Back in Time for Dinner“), it did state the Britain were the happiest people on the planet, and due to the countless Trade Unions of the day, most workers had more disposable income as they had a bigger ‘slice of the cake’ with strengthened workers rights and negotiating power.
Whatever the legacy, Corbyn and his popular policies will turn the tide of Thatcherism and crush her legacy. A different way of doing things is possible, and can happen in Corbyn’s Britain.
by Berk Bektas
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