Weathercocks and Signposts
Normally what happens to politicians is the closer they get to the levers of power, the more attention they get from the establishment.
Sitting in board meetings, appointments with corporate lobbyists, calls from government officials take up a bigger and bigger part of their calendar. All of these people who court them are well informed, and very plausible. They use terms like “inclusive growth” and “economic vision”. But these are slippery terms that hide the truth: power and wealth still concentrated with the wealthy, and still guarded by the establishment.
Some politicians develop their own convictions. Others who stepped up from a general belief in social good find themselves absorbing establishment ideas by osmosis. It’s a slow, subtle shift. They lose touch with their roots, and start to regard party members asking questions as trouble causers. They never really saw the world in terms of class analysis: who has the power and wealth, and how to they use it. They never really understood the difference between socialism and capitalism.
And so their political compass drifts towards centrism. They turn into “adjective politicians”. Every speech is loaded with words like”compassionate” “stronger” “inclusive””visionary”. But once you pass their media coaching, you realise they intend to change nothing. They have become glossy state-sponsored managers.
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell bypassed this route. They had fully formed ideas about real democratic involvement and democratising the economy. They got just as much attention from the establishment, but it wasn’t cosy wooing, it was outright hostility. Media lies, orchestrated attacks from the careerists on their own side, and even state funded social media slurs. The same will happen to me if I’m elected Mayor.
Don’t worry – like Jeremy and John, I come from a place of profound understanding that society needs radical change in ownership and power, and not just a coat of compassion-coloured gloss paint. If I’m elected, I will put my manifesto into practice.