It wasn’t anything George Osborne said, I’d actually expected far worse.
It wasn’t even the fist pumping of Iain Duncan Smith, like a teenager who’d just groped his first boob.
What bothered me was that in presenting a budget so unequivocally blue as to make Pantone question their primary colours, they’d still somehow managed to out-Labour Labour?
They’d been to the reclamation yard, rummaged through the rubble of the infamous tombstone and pilfered the best bits for themselves.
Now I’ve nothing against a good policy crossing political lines, but there was a time when Labour policies were so far removed from Tory ideology that to reach them would induce travel sickness. They were radical and progressive. Inclusive with a social conscience. They were everything this budget wasn’t.
Because here was a budget that made millions of the working poor poorer. That betrayed public sector workers and the young. Took money from those too sick to work and gave tax breaks to the rich. A budget so inherently unfair and yet still it had Labour on the back foot.
Lost in the centre ground, confused by which of the welfare cuts the electorate had supposedly chastised them into supporting.
It’s enough to make you choke on your own despair, and yet strangely I’ve never been more optimistic.
Because while those at the top are searching their souls and checking if they can claim for political self-harming therapy on their expenses, a social movement is building beneath them.
A movement based on hope over fear. On fairness and equality.
Step forward Jeremy Corbyn. Or rather, shuffle forward unassumingly, as is his want.
Anyone who follows me on Facebook will know my timeline has become little more than an ode to Jeremy Corbyn. What can I say, other than it’s possibly the strangest man-crush I’ve had since Matthew Kelly, although the less said about that the better. I know, clearly I have a thing for older men with beards.
You see, maybe I’m deluded, but I refuse to accept that as a country we’ve made a collective lurch to the right. I refuse to accept that the majority of us truly believe that welfare and immigrants are the cause of all our woes, or that austerity is our only redemption. And I refuse to accept that a confident Labour party, true to its roots, is somehow unelectable.
I want a party that opposes austerity and instead invests in infrastructure and education, science and technology.
That’s proud of its trade union links and its support of the public sector.
That bestows the same free University education previous generations have benefited from onto those yet to come.
That invests in social housing and introduces a rent cap on private landlords.
That moves the narrative away from welfare benefits and onto corporate benefits.
That will close tax havens, tackle evasion, and make those companies trading in the UK pay tax in the UK.
That would introduce a genuine living wage.
Bring the railways back into public ownership, and dispose of Trident.
A party that supports the working man/woman as much as those unable to do so, and that will fight against inequality in all its forms.
What I want is a party led by Jeremy Corbyn, because these aren’t Marxist ideologies, they’re the bedrock of everything Labour should be about.
Now I expected Jeremy Corbyn to be derided in the right-wing press, but the behemoths within his own party who are joining in the attack would do well to remember what party it is they joined, and more importantly who it belongs to. Thanks to one member one vote it’s not, and will never be again, just a vehicle for the political elite to gain power.
They might not like it, but what Jeremy Corbyn prescribes may just be the foundation of a progressive, electable movement that changes politics for ever. One based on hope and aspiration, fairness and equality. That puts principles before PR, and deeds before rhetoric. A movement that not only enthuses disaffected Labour voters, but millions more beyond.
Momentum is building but we mustn’t let it slip. It’s time to take our party back, and I’m more than a little giddy at the prospect of doing so.
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