My book, published at the end of August last year, less than nine months ago, was born out of anger and literary challenge.
My heart sank when Cameron pulled off the coalition agreement with the Lib Dems in 2010 and then passed the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, virtually guaranteeing him five years to embed his destructive brand of Tory misrule. I began my collection of newsprint recording this Conservative vandalism and my understanding deepened. How could I best share my insights into the travesties that were unfolding year on year in this second decade of the 21st century? I was in no doubt that the damage was deliberate - and terminal for some. It would be an extraordinary political challenge to reverse this monstrous accumulation of measures designed to keep and augment wealth and power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.
What a jolly good wheeze - this governing game is fun!
Austerity, as Jeremy Corbyn says, is a political choice not an economic necessity.
Serendipity played its part. I had picked up from my bookshelf, to read at long last, John Bunyan's 'The Pilgrim's Progress'. I did not share the author's 17th century devotion to evangelical Christianity as a belief-system - but I was gripped by the power of his faith and the skill he showed in weaving his narrative tale of a Pilgrim's journey through a troubled world in order to find understanding and salvation. Bunyan uses the figure of an Interpreter to help unfold the truths of the Christian religion. Well I could use a similar device to help communicate my sense of the political calamity that had befallen our nation and people. I could write a 21st century update of Bunyan's classic, creating a
secular pilgrim who traverses the social and political landscape of our land today in order to find an answer to the question: Why are so many people suffering? And then I could tease out what needs to be done to change that state of affairs.
That solution is presented in my book as Socialism. What do I mean by that term? It's the kind of political system that I heard Jeremy Corbyn describe as 'socialism for the 21st century' as he went on to flesh out that socialist vision in his Labour Party's Ten Pledges. These were to be basis for the 2020 General Election manifesto. Or for an earlier election, if it was called for political advantage by the Tories using the small print in their Fixed-Term Parliaments legislation.
|Jeremy Corbyn - speaking truth to power - speaking for the people|
And so we are where we are - near the beginning of a relatively short snap election campaign in the Spring of 2017 following a blatant attempt by the new prime-minister, Theresa May, to augment her own power base by taking advantage of opinion polls that suggested a potential massive majority if she went to the country now. 'Strong and stable' sound-bites repeated ad infinitum. As opposed to the 'chaos of coalition'. Not a reference to the misgovernment between 20100 and 2015, surely? And above all, rubbish the man the people can't trust to be PM. Too old, too weak, too extreme.
When my book was first taking shape in written draft form through 2013 and 2014, I gave it the title 'Deception'. It was apparent to me that the people of our land were now subject to systemic deception through the agency of politicians and the media, acting in the interests of the wealthy and powerful who were riding the tide of neoliberalism. Ever since the late-1970s, unregulated market capitalism had been rolling back the advances of the post-war movement towards greater equality and redistribution of wealth in the interests of social welfare and the greater good of humanity.
|Truro demo against Trump's visit to the UK - early 2017 - my first speech, ad-libbed, on request from Red Robbo - wonderful to be an activist again!|
Some of my early readers of this first draft cast doubt on the suitability of that title. When Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Labour Party after Ed Miliband's Labour Party was defeated in the May 2015 general election, I re-joined the Labour Party - and gave my draft the new title: 'The Road to Corbyn'. But it is still very much a tale of deception. And we as an electorate are still being subjected to a flood of deliberate distortions designed to screw up our thinking so we can't see that Jeremy Corbyn as a person - and his policies - are not projected through a veil of distortion. His political vision - my political vision - more than survives any deception test. His policies are in the public interest. They are popular. And they threaten the power of the wealthy and powerful.
Are you surprised he is subject to such abuse? .