At first glance, the outlook for British progressives is dim. Nevertheless, offering this week’s Working-Class Perspective, Tim Strangleman sees some signs of hope for the future of working-class people in Great Britain.
So where is the optimism there, you ask? Well, here is the thing: both Smith and Eagle before she stepped aside have taken more progressive stances on issues such as ending austerity, tackling social inequality, and being more critical of corporate excess. Indeed, on substantive issues, they seem to support Corbyn’s platform. Where they disagree is on his leadership. In many ways Corbyn could be read as a John the Baptist figure, ushering in a new progressive left-of-centre politics. In the last leadership election, he stood out as the anti-austerity candidate uniquely prepared to resist the further marketization of British society and deeper cuts to public spending. Though heavily criticised by his opponents, Corbyn has in a year dragged the debate onto a far more interesting and progressive terrain. Because of this, Labour party membership has expanded rapidly, with numbers climbing to over 515,000 and counting, making it the biggest left of centre political party in Western Europe.
The renowned Working-Class Perspectives blog is brought to you by our Visiting Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year, John Russo, and Georgetown University English professor, Sherry Linkon. It features several regular and guest contributors.