Friday, 22 July 2016

No more heroes anymore

This post is to do with the Labour Party, but I want to start off by talking about driving instructors.

It's a nalogy, you see, although I'm sure there are better nalogies around.

To be a good instructor, two things need to be in place:

1. you need to know your subject.
2. you need to be able to put what you know across to someone else.

If either of these are missing, the quality of tuition will lack something. Neither, on their own, suffice. I suppose the same applies to most jobs.

I've just started finding work for one of the people I've been giving instructor training to. I have a responsibility towards her, and I will do my best over the coming weeks to provide her with the work she needs. In return, she will give me money. The relationship between driving schools and the instructors that work under their auspices is a little bit complicated. When you work for a school, it's as if the person or organisation that own the school is your boss. This is partly true. The School can stipulate certain things. How much to charge. How to conduct lessons. What to wear. Being self employed, the instructor can acquiesce, or they can find another way of generating work for themselves. But they are self employed. They pay the school they work for to provide the pupils they need. So in a sense, she's my boss. It just doesn't feel that way. She's on a trainee license, but so far, the couple of people I've been able to pass on to her seem happy enough with what they're getting. She'll get better and more confident with what she's doing as time goes on, but there is a point here. The name doesn't matter.

People who want driving lessons just want to know the person sat next to them is competent. True, sometimes people phone me because I taught their friend/sibling/etc, but generally, they've got in touch because I'm showing up on their web searches, and my website says I'm a good instructor (well, duh!). Paul Sharp the person just isn't that important.

Neither are politicians (or rockstars or writers for that matter) It's what they believe, and how effective they are at bringing what they believe into effect that matters. I suppose if I lived in North Korea or some other place and time, this would be a seditious point of view.

So to Jeremy Corbyn, and the movement that has coalesced around him.

Today, someone sent me a link to a New Statesman article.

It makes uncomfortable reading for anyone that wishes to dismiss any attacks on Corbyn as ideologically motivated. After reading it, I went to the TheyWorkForUs website, which details the voting records of MPs.

On the whole, her voting record is on the progressive side of things. So for me, her opinion carries some weight. Corbyn might be ideologically closer to me than almost everyone else in parliament, but that doesn't mean he's an effective party leader.

I'm not a Corbynista. Not wholeheartedly anyway. Yet I've joined the Labour Party, and shelled out an extra 25 quid so that I can vote to keep him as party leader. Not because of Jeremy Corbyn, but because of what he represents.

I first joined the Labour Party back in the mid 1980's. I quickly became involved in the more radical side of things. With the Miner's strike, The Poll tax, and the Liverpool City Council dispute, there was a lot to get involved in, and it was the activists on the Marxist end of things that were actually doing something about it.

Being honest with you, I got as far as about page 4 of the Communist Manifesto before putting it down with a yawn. Still, the far left were organising, marching, putting leaflets through letterboxes, engaging, fighting! That was enough for me. And we had some victories. The Poll Tax battle was largely won, mainly through the actions of grassroots activists. The Liverpool City Council won concessions, at least while the Government were busy tacking the National Union of Mineworkers.

Labour responded to the rightward shift in British politics by shifting rightward themselves. They closed down the youth section, and expelled a lot of the most active and committed people from the movement in their headlong rush to capture the centre ground. I left the party. It didn't really have anything to offer me anymore.

Since then, we've had a grey consensus of centre right politics for a generation. One lot had a more progressive social agenda than the other, but economically and politically, if you weren't centre right, you were effectively disenfranchised.

The appearance on the Leadership ballot papers of a left wing candidate, and his subsequent election have been a catalyst. Not just for me, but for hundreds, or thousands of people like me, who'd become increasingly cynical and apathetic about politics.

And that's why I've rejoined. Not because Jeremy Corbyn is the new Messiah, but because suddenly there is a mass movement within the Labour Party to wrest control from the right wing.

It's straightforward enough really. There needs to be a left wing mainstream party, as well as a right wing one, otherwise people don't have a choice. If you're right wing, and in the left wing party, you're in the wrong place.

I hope, whatever the outcome of the Leadership election, the thousands who joined will stick with it, and use their voices to change the party from within. We need, over time, to change the stock of MPs, and the people who constitute the internal heirarchy of the Party.

driving lessons in North Wirral? learn to drive in Hoylake? driving instructor in Birkenhead?

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