Small change

Islington North used to be the sort of quiet Labour safe seat where the staff could weigh the Labour vote and all go home. The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Corbyn has turned it into a place where national politics is played out.

With his campaign as an independent candidate (noticeably, he has not used his ‘Peace and Justice Foundation’ to create a new party, nor joined in with any other left party), Corbyn was early out of the blocks with leaflets delivered by volunteers: ‘Corbyn, an Independent Voice for All of Us’.

This was his chance to put out an uncompromising personal manifesto, freed from the shackles of Labour Party compromise. But the only time socialism is mentioned in the whole leaflet is an endorsement from a member of the Jewish Socialist Group, though only in that group’s name. Given how central Corbyn’s support for Palestine is in his personal politics (to the extent that it was the core of the antisemitism smear used against him) this is the only reference to the Gaza conflict, and it is a reference only to Corbyn’s call for a ceasefire.

The list of policies (broad strokes as befits a leaflet) are for a more equal society, housing for all, a greener Islington, fully public NHS and peace and human rights. No mention of common ownership of the means of production.

Of course, a well-established candidate has the right to stand on their record; and Corbyn does, listing the campaigns he has been involved in over the years, like standing up for the local hospital, saving the number 4 bus, and turning a disused space into a park. All laudable local things.

It is a failure of an opportunity to make a case for socialism if that was his priority, and what we are left with is a clear case that what Jeremy Corbyn has always stood for is campaigning for small changes. Win or lose, this leaflet is his political testament.

P. S.

Next article: A socialist future? ➤

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