Fraser Nelson and his writer Ross Clark claimed improbably “Glastonbury wouldn’t survive a a Corbyn government.” There’s a paywall, but to save you the unlikely subscription the argument is “Blah blah, Cath Kidston wellies, yer da Iron Maiden reference, blah blah blah”.
Nigel Farage led the charge as the English right burst into an online collective death-rattle:
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 24, 2017
Of course Shelley ‘s Rise Like Lions is more of an anarchist classic than a Marxist one but lets not confuse the right when it’s in full-on foaming-at-the-mouth meltdown mode.
As a million young people Google ‘Marxism’ for the first time the culture wars in Britain spilled out across social media.
This sort of coverage of the Labour leader addressing huge crowds caused the inevitable apoplexy against the BBC and much online gnashing of teeth.
“Glasto” may be staggering along like a remnant of a genuine counter-culture, mired in lifestyleism and awash with more New Age merch than you can shake your Dream-Cather at, but it exists and it is huge and the right don’t own it and that makes them angry.
The London Economic talks of “Astounding footage and photos from Jeremy Corbyn’s speech of hope & unity at #Glastonbury”. while the Brexit Right can barely contain itself …
Last night @Nigel_Farage dreamt of roaring crowds and heady, strange music. And in the small hours he woke, alone, silently sobbing.
— Chris T-T (@christt) June 25, 2017
The Express chipped-in with “LEFT-WING LOVE IN: BBC savaged over Jeremy Corbyn ‘hero-worshipping’ at Glastonbury”, while The Sun (not toxic – remember folks) goes for the double-whammy:
“LEFTIES SICK SNUB – Jeremy Corbyn turns down another offer to join Armed Forces Day in favour of Glastonbury”:
If the Pyramid Stage as a space for an emerging English Left Populism seems odd and misplaced, it’s no stranger and has far wider appeal than Colonel Ruth’s efforts to capture the Armed Services vote, or whatever her latest bizarre bout of narcissism was supposed to be.
There are many problems with Corbyn’s politics.
His and his party’s (several) stances on Trident is incoherent, morally and politically. His attitude to Scottish independence is incompatible with his worldview about liberation and self-determination and democracy. His party infrastructure is at peace but is still groaning with ideological conflict. But there’s still much to learn from a Scottish perspective and much to be positive about.
Labour have successfully married party and movement in the face of relentless media hostility, utilised practical popular radical policies and avoided the pitfalls of relentless personality politics.
They have re-written the rule book that all politics must suffer ‘triangulation’ and that bland centralism is the only way to win politically.
All of these lessons and shifts open up space and possibility for the independence movement, and if Corbyn continues to gain momentum within his own party, the space for negotiation around both independence and WMD may open up. This is far more likely than under a Miliband leadership or a Conservative one collapsing in on its own self-inflicted Brexit Death Cult..
Corbyn’s Labour party are a phenomenon and the Yes movement should understand it and work with it. The potential to find cross-party / no-party unity at Faslane next month for example is obvious. The potential to unite and attack a damaged lame-duck Prime Minister is also clear.
Conservative forces are in retreat. They are about to be driven off the Cliffs of Dover in their own white van, past the Theresa May sculpture and into their own early grave.
If anybody was in any doubt about the potential success of the Brexit negotiations, events of this week will have put-paid to that. As Iain Macwhirter has laid out:
“Holding the security of three million people hostage was about as stupid an opening gambit in negotiations with 27 countries as it is possible to imagine. It particularly antagonised Eastern European nations like Poland, who were supposed to be Britain’s allies in Europe. Theresa May has had to give in and accept that EU citizens can remain in Britain indefinitely. But she has already caused huge resentment and anxiety among those living here. They understandably want more security than the UK Government is prepared to concede. In particular, they want to be under the protection of the European Court of Justice, rather than the UK authorities, because they no longer trust us. Britain is again scoffing at this and saying: we are taking back our laws and our borders and you can jolly well accept the rulings of our courts. But since we’re signalling that, for trading purposes, the UK will remain under the jurisdiction of the ECJ, EU citizens are understandably asking why their security should be less worthy of protection than wine or jam.”
Conservative hegemony over Britain is collapsing.
This is an extinction event driven by forces of culture and age and technology. You can watch them splutter and squeal online. You can watch it on your much-hated public broadcaster. I think it’s worth the licence fee.