The Outcome of the War

WWI_centenary1_960x640

10th November 2018

The commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice, following the cessation of hostilities in World War One, will dominate the news this weekend.  The focus will be on the personal stories, the human interest angles, the tragic loss of life, all of which must be remembered and marked.  There are civic and political occasions across Europe, which will be the opportunity for the current leaders of European nations to come together.

Activities to mark various centenary events across the whole period of the war have been going on for the past four years.  In spite of this the public would be hard pressed to find the real causes and underlying consequences of a conflagration which took millions of military and civilian lives and devastated thousands more across the world.  They would be even more hard pressed to find any acknowledgement of the crucial role of the Russian Revolution, not only in taking Russia out of the war but initiating the world’s first socialist state.

The attempt to bury the truth in talk of heroism and glory is not new but, in the period between the first and second world wars, there was at least some clarity of analysis within the ranks of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in the form of R. Palme Dutt, particularly in his work World Politics 1918-1936 (Victor Gollancz Ltd 1936).

Palme Dutt in his chapter which considers the outcomes of the war is quite clear,

“The first fact to recognise about the eighteen years since the Armistice is that none of the world problems set by history since 1914 has been solved, many have intensified, and many new ones have been added, while the greater part of the “settlements” which followed the war have either broken down or are in the process of breaking down.”

Palme Dutt, in assessing the world situation in 1914, outlines the growing conflicts between the imperialist powers which had plundered the world throughout the nineteenth century and were now at a point where the division of the spoils could only be addressed by conflict.  Most of the globe having been ‘conquered’ the only way in which to expand was to take from another competing capitalist power.

Capitalist concentration continually requires new markets and a rapidly developing Germany needed room to expand.  British colonialism dominated the globe but this also made it more vulnerable to the rapidly emerging German imperial ambitions.  New markets inevitably meant expanding into British markets and the British would not give up hard won imperial gains without a fight.

While war in Europe raged the real emerging power in the world, the United States of America, stood to one side, confident that its financial and corporate interests in Europe would be defended by the alliance of Britain, France and Russia in opposition to German advances.

The Russian Revolution, set in train in March 1917, marked the point at which US intervention in the war became essential to prop up the Allies and head off a potential German victory.  As Palme Dutt states,

“The numerical and material superiority of the Allies through the accession of America, which finally secured them the victory, was itself the reflection of the revolution.  It was the Russian Revolution of March 1917, with the consequent inevitable prospect of Russian withdrawal form the war and menace of Allied collapse, which was the decisive motive cause behind the American entry into the war, within four weeks of the Russian Revolution, to safeguard its interests already heavily mortgaged on the side of the Allies.”

The punitive reparations imposed upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 did not resolve the issues which led to war in 1914 and effectively laid the basis for the rise of Fascism in Germany and Italy.  The seeds of World War Two were planted the moment that the first war was over.  As Palme Dutt states,

“The treaties of spoliation which followed the war laid the seeds of future war.  At the same time new conflicts in the extra-European sphere came to the forefront.  In consequence, within two decades of the war of 1914 the issue of the re-division of the world had arisen anew in still sharper form.”

The issues present in 1914 and which led to further global conflict in 1939 remain unresolved.  While the world balance of forces ushered in with the Russian Revolution may have changed once again, with the defeat of the Soviet Union, the capitalist class is no more able to agree amongst itself now than it was then.  Tensions within the European Union are one expression of this, with secessionist tendencies likely to grow as the right wing gains more power in the existing bloc.

The United States continues to pursue an undeclared war against Iran while exercising its regional neo-colonial muscle to prevent progress in Latin America.  A US / China trade war is shaping up to threaten what little stability there is in the world economy.  Interventions in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria have not succeeded in stabilising the influence of Western imperialism in the Middle East.  Post Soviet Russia has its own emerging ambitions to regain some semblance of superpower status.

Palme Dutt’s words in 1936, preceding the Second World War, could equally be applied today,

“…the issue of the new division of the world is now definitely in the forefront, alike in respect of colonial territories, of the revision of frontiers in Europe, and of the distribution of power between the main States; war has already begun, not yet on a world scale, but on a regional scale, involving world issues….”

The centenary commemorations this weekend will not be reflecting upon the words of Palme Dutt, or the many others who have warned that capitalism cannot resolve its issues of greater accumulation and competition without conflict.  We could do a lot worse than go back to those words now.  Better still we could act upon them.

 

 

 

Venezuela: Communist leaders assassinated

4th November 2018

 fajardo

Luis Fajardo (centre) and Javier Aldana – murders condemned

Two campesino leaders and members of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) were assassinated on Wednesday in Nueva Bolivia, Merida State.

A press release from PCV Secretary-General Oscar Figuera revealed that central committee member Luis Fajardo had been assassinated along with his brother-in-law, Javier Aldana. According to reports, the two men were making their way home on a motorbike, when they were killed by a burst of gunfire from a moving car.

Figuera added that the party held landowners, as well as corrupt personnel of the National Guardsmen and politicians, responsible for the crime, while demanding that the state carry out a thorough investigation of the case.

Multiple organizations in Venezuela, including the Tupamaros and elements within the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), have condemned the episode and expressed their condolences.

The local branch of the PCV in Merida also put out a press statement on Thursday, recalling that Fajardo and Aldana’s activities in defence of campesino rights had made them a target for landowners and that Fajardo’s numerous public denunciations of the threats made against his life and his family had been ignored by authorities. The PCV called on President Maduro and Attorney General Tarek William Saab to ensure that justice is served in this case.

The incident comes just weeks after a similar assassination attempt targeting Barinas-based PCV campesino leader Robinson Garcia, who came under fire from several motorcyclists on October 9, but managed to escape with his life.

Nueva Bolivia is located in the so-called Sur del Lago region, south of Venezuela’s lake Maracaibo, which extends along the states of Merida and Zulia. Fajardo was spearheading the claims of some 250 campesino families to the Cano Rico ranch, which was being occupied and utilized by the campesinos whilst they awaited legal adjudication of the lands.

The lake region has seen some of the most intense land struggles by small farmers, to which large landholders have responded with deadly force, often taking the form of paramilitary violence. This past July’s Admirable Campesino March, which covered more than 400 km on foot to demand a meeting with President Maduro, presented several grievances from Sur del Lago. In one of the latest examples of violence against campesinos, teenager Kender Garcia was murdered on September 19.

For their part, the Venezuelan communists have also repeatedly drawn attention to the violence taking place in the countryside and what they deem a complicit lack of response from authorities.

Earlier this month, Figuera had called for an urgent meeting with President Maduro in the context of the electoral agreement between the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and the PCV, signed before the May 20 presidential elections.

The communist leader accused the government of not fulfilling any of the agreed-upon points, among them, addressing the campesino demands and putting an end to violent evictions and targeted killings in the Venezuelan countryside.

This article is taken from https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14128

 

A “People’s Vote” for the people?

27th October 2018

BREXIT-VOTE-MARCH-29

 A people’s vote? Protesters in London march against Brexit

Over half a million people descended upon the streets of London last weekend to demonstrate in favour of a vote on whatever Brexit deal is finally agreed, the hidden agenda clearly being to campaign against any deal and force a rethink on the whole Brexit process.  The People’s Vote campaign brings together Tories, right wing Labour, Greens and Liberal Democrats in a coalition of those disaffected with the outcome of the June 2016 referendum.

The organisers have made much of the lack of media coverage, given the scale of the demonstration and have, justifiably, criticised the BBC for its reporting priorities and adherence to ‘balance’, which saw a minor gathering in Harrogate, featuring Nigel Farage, gain airtime alongside the bigger London protest.

However dubious the BBC’s editorial approach, and they do love any opportunity to give Farage airtime, in this instance two wrongs do not make a right.

The People’s Vote campaign premise is based upon the assumption that the EU is a good thing and the equally questionable presumption that a second referendum would lead to a vote in favour of remaining in the EU.

The June 2016 referendum itself, although close, did result in a vote to leave and there is nothing to suggest that the conditions which led to large parts of the country expressing their disaffection and voting that way has changed significantly.  With millions living below the poverty line, public services crumbling, transport infrastructure in disarray and austerity continuing to bite, whatever Theresa May might say, there is nothing to suggest that turning back the clock to the day before the 2016 referendum would improve life for the majority of people in the UK.

On the contrary, 40 years of EU membership, compounded by the 2008 banking crisis has brought the UK and much of Europe, to the position it is now facing.

The People’s Vote campaign reflects much of the post war social democratic consensus that capitalism can somehow be made to work for all of the people, not just the few at the top and, that by clubbing together in an ever expanding union of European states, this goal will somehow be achieved.  Currently on their third tranche of bail out and having to sack thousands of public sector workers in order to meet payments to the international banks, it is unlikely that the people of Greece would agree.

The 40% of young people under the age of 25 who are unemployed in Spain would probably have a different view.

Having been signed up to a failed consensus it is little wonder that voters across Europe are turning to parties which promise to deliver on their behalf, provide easy ‘answers’ to their problems, such as blaming immigrants for lack of opportunity, and generally take a critical view of the EU hierarchies and bureaucracy.

People know from their own experience that their lives have not improved greatly over the past 40 years.  In the UK alone, we have seen the demise of comprehensive education, underfunding of the NHS, the selling off of council houses, mass unemployment, zero hours contracts, university tuition fees.  The list goes on.  Being in the EU has not stopped any of that. Why should people believe that sticking with the same deal will make it better over the next forty years?

If the demagogues of the so called populist parties, such as the Front National in France, the Five Star Movement in Italy and right wing government in Hungary and Poland, are not to consolidate their positions the Left needs to articulate credible alternatives to their views and those of the EU bureaucracy.

The EU will remain for as long as it suits the interest of the banks and corporations which back it.  As we saw with tragic consequences in the 1930’s they are quick enough to change allegiance if they see a new centre of power emerging.  The only way to stop history repeating is to make that alternative centre of power a true expression of people power.  That will take more than a so-called people’s vote, it will take the people demanding a real people’s socialist alternative to the both the EU and the right wing demagogues.

 

 

Brutality of Saudi regime exposed

20th October 2018

bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the mask slips

The toxic Saudi dictatorship, not content with routinely abusing human rights, suppressing democracy, oppressing women and being responsible for the massacre of innocent civilians in Yemen, now appears to be implicated in the assassination of a journalist.  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, friend of Prince Charles, adored by Donald Trump and recipient of millions of pounds worth of UK weapons, is desperately struggling to cover this one up.

Washington Post journalist and prominent critic of the Saudi dictatorship, Jamal Khashoggi, was last seen alive entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.  He has not been seen since.  That was two weeks ago.

The Saudi response has metamorphosed over the past fortnight as pressure has grown upon them to reveal the facts.  At first the Saudis claimed that Khashoggi was the victim of an interrogation which had gone wrong.  Presumably, this was not as a result of him being shouted at too loudly, so the Saudis were implicitly admitting to the use of torture.

Next tack was to fall back on the old ‘rogue elements’ routine, suggesting that Khashoggi had fallen prey to a maverick strand in the Saudi security services, not sanctioned by the government, who just happened to silence one of its most vocal critics.

More recently the Saudi authorities are suggesting that Khashoggi was killed in a fight with an interrogator.  These explanations would be implausible under most circumstances but are further undermined by the evidence from Turkish security, that a team of up to 15 Saudi agents were seen to be entering the Saudi consulate not long after Khashoggi.

The whole affair has had US President Donald Trump desperately back peddling.  On the one hand he does not want to offend the Saudis, as key Middle East allies in his warmongering against Iran.  Trump is also conscious of both US economic interests in Saudi Arabia and the fact that he personally has made a fortune from dealings with the dictatorship.  After all, he may not be president forever and why burn such lucrative bridges?

Quite apart from the scale of UK weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, well documented by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, a wide range of UK companies are implicated in trying to mask the image of the dictatorship, with London being described as “a hub for global Saudi PR and media influence campaigns.” (The Guardian 20/10/18)

The network of companies with their noses in the Saudi trough, either now or in recent years include Freuds, a major PR company and a number of other London based PR firms. The Independent newspaper has recently decided to partner with Saudi publisher, Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) to produce its Middle East editions.  SRMG, which has close links to the Saudi government, has made significant donations of £7.6m to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, in exchange for his advice on the dictatorship’s so called ‘modernisation’ programme.

The furore over the Khashoggi affair is not yet spent but there is no doubt that the Saudis will be doing all in their power to make it yesterday’s news as quickly as possible.  What the Saudis no doubt regard as a blot on their international media campaign is in fact a reflection of the brutality at the heart of the regime.

The Saudi reach into the UK and US state clearly runs deep but the extent of their malign influence needs to be continually exposed.  Immediate support for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade is a start but campaigning for a UK government with a foreign policy not dependent on the sales of weapons of mass destruction would be a massive step forward.

Brazil – Lawfare the new warfare

13th October 2018

Bolsonaro supporters

 Bolsonaro supporters celebrate after the first round in Brazil’s elections

Elections held in Brazil on 7th October have given the candidate of the right wing, the banks and the transnational corporations, Jair Bolsonaro the edge after the first round of voting.  Workers Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, backed by former President Lula de Silva, ousted in a right wing constitutional coup, is still in the race however, giving Brazilians some hope.

Bolsonaro gained 46% of the votes in the first round with Haddad gaining 29% of the share.  As the top two candidates, both will contest a second round run off on 28th October.

On the basis of first round evidence the odds are stacked against Haddad.  Workers Party leader and former President, Lula de Silva, is serving a prison sentence for trumped up corruption charges.  Dilma Rouseff, who succeeded Lula, was impeached in 2016 under equally questionable circumstances.

The Workers Party and Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL), a misleading name given its policies, are almost neck and neck with 56 and 52 seats respectively in elections to the Chamber of Deputies.  However, this slight edge may not benefit the Workers Party greatly, as many of the other deputies to the 119 member Chamber are from an assortment of right wing parties, likely to provide backing for Bolsonaro’s anti-people agenda should he win the second round.

The incoming congress is widely regarded as the most conservative since the end of dictatorship in 1985.

While the tenure of the Workers Party under both Lula and Rouseff did much to shift power away from the corporations and provide opportunities for Brazil’s poor, an incoming Bolsonaro administration would be avowedly free market.  Chief economic adviser to Bolsonaro, Paulo Guedes, is already limbering up to reduce state pension contributions, privatise state owned companies and give greater freedom for the Central Bank to interfere in the economy.

On the plus side Guedes is being investigated for fraud and the many military and police officers in the PSL ranks will not want their pensions affected adversely.  However, this will be scant compensation for the opening up of South America’s largest economy to the many US corporations who will no doubt be desperate to take advantage of a Bolsonaro victory.

The social agenda espoused by Bolsonaro is, unsurprisingly, equally reactionary promising a crackdown on crime, usually a euphemism for more authoritarian measures, and a return to “traditional family values.” He enjoys support from Edir Macedo, the owner of television station Record and head of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, one of Brazil’s biggest evangelical churches.

Haddad who does not enjoy such corporate or institutional backing has been clear that,

“We go to the democratic field with just one weapon — with argument.  We will not carry arms, us no . . . we will go with the force of argument to defend Brazil and its people.”

The campaign against the Workers Party is part of a trend which has been happening across progressive Latin America, dubbed “lawfare.” The political subjection of the judiciary to the right wing has resulted in legal proceedings against a number of progressive leaders of the region, which are rigged beforehand.  The objective is to discredit these figures and the political forces they represent, equating them with common criminals and disqualifying them electorally.

Lawfare is being waged with increasing intensity in the region, accompanied by neoliberal forces that define the new strategy against leftist political movements.  This judicial war represents a serious setback in the pursuit of progressive policies in the countries of the region.

As former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has stated,

“In Latin America, there are no longer solely military uprisings to replace governments, as happened in the past, but now there are coups in court that seek to undermine the progressive groups that have legitimately gained power.”

The chance to halt the tide of lawfare is still in the hands of the Brazilian people.  In two weeks’ time they could cast their vote for Fernando Haddad.  A Bolsonaro government would certainly be a disaster for both the people of Brazil and Latin America.  The odds against Haddad are high, given the current balance of forces, but the struggle is by no means over.

 

 

Sending Out an SOS

7th October 2018

MayQueen

Sending out an SOS – Theresa May dances to the wrong tune

The embarrassing spectacle of UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, sashaying onto the platform for her closing speech to Tory conference last week, to the strains of the Abba hit Dancing Queen, has induced laughter in living rooms cross the country.  As embarrassing images for the Tories go, in a disastrous conference week, it is rivalled only by the sight of great leadership pretender, Boris Johnson, running through a field of wheat, an apparent homage to the only naughty thing his leader can remember doing as a schoolgirl.

That Johnson is a buffoon is well established but, in a party composed largely of buffoons, it is not impossible for the biggest amongst them to rise to the top.  Having said that, Johnson’s fringe speech, albeit to a packed house, was characteristically high on bombast and low on practical actions.

More telling still is the lack of any actual challenge for the leadership of the Tories, either from Johnson or the eighteenth century tendency led by Jacob Rees Mogg.  All of which suggests that the hardline Brexit faction in the Tory party continue to be happy to let May get on with the dirty work of negotiation with the EU while they snipe from the sidelines.

May’s response to her internal detractors this weekend is to pay an homage of her own, to the success and the policies of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.  May is careful to be clear that she does not agree with a word Corbyn says stating,

“Millions of people who have supported Labour all their lives are appalled by what has happened to a once great party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.”

It would be interesting to know in which period of its history May acknowledges that Labour was, in her opinion, ‘great’ however….

The Comment & Analysis piece by May appears in The Observer (7/10/18) under the title Labour voters should look again at my Tory Party, here for the many and purports to be a pitch for the so called centre ground in order to tempt voters away from Labour.

May resorts to the time honoured tactic of raising spurious fears in order to knock them down and set up her own alternatives.  She is forced to acknowledge that “…some markets are still not working in the interests of ordinary people”, an understatement if ever there was one, given the ten years of austerity which have followed the banking collapse and the bailing out of the banks by “ordinary people.”

May claims to want “…to help people with the cost of living” adding disingenuously that “too many people have not had a decent pay rise.”  Perhaps her own party’s desire to drive down wages, reduce trade union influence and encourage a low pay zero hour contract economy might be a factor in this respect?  May seems to be oblivious to the irony.

May does concede that the past ten years have “meant sacrifices for the British people”, although she fails to point out that the sacrifices have not affected those with tax dodge arrangements and offshore accounts.

However, without defining quite where we are going or how we may get there, other than “when we have secured a good Brexit deal for Britain”, the Prime Minister is insistent that “…the British people need to know that the end is in sight.”   If only she were referring to the timescale left for her own government but May has never been blessed with self awareness, otherwise choosing SOS rather than Dancing Queen from the Abba back catalogue would have been more a more apt conference opener.

May further promises to “…build an economy that works for every community”, presumably as an apology for the destruction wrought upon communities across the country, by the devastation of public services to pay off the bankers’ gambling debts. She does not say that of course, she says,

“In the past economic change has left some communities behind.  This time it will be different.”

That May believes that anyone can truly be convinced by this, given the record of her party and government, is remarkable.  She does however conclude with a recognition that unless she attempts to tackle the toxic image of the Tories her fate at the next general election with be sealed.  In a direct reference to the Labour promise to be the party of the many, not the few, May concludes,

“The British people are not bound by ideology and there has never been a time when party labels have counted for less.  This presents an opportunity Conservatives must seize – to be the party not for the few, not even for the many, but for everyone in our country who works hard and plays by the rules.”

That should have tax dodgers quaking in their boots but they will be doing no such thing.  They know that their offshore accounts are safe under the Tories, that corporation tax will stay at tax haven levels and that with enough cash in Tory Party coffers a knighthood or lordship could be a possibility.

May’s article follows revelations earlier in the week that the Tories have been in secret talks with some Labour MPs over voting for a Brexit deal, under certain conditions, rather than risk a government defeat, which could lead to a General Election and a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.  That Labour has such a fifth column should come as no surprise but those who choose to sleep with the enemy should be prepared for the consequences.

Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn for the past three years, have been quite clear that their appeal is to the people, that they will govern for the many, not the few.  May’s advisers have clearly recognised that, in spite of the establishment and media campaign against Corbyn, his approach and polices remain popular.  They are trying you steal enough of the rhetoric to encroach on this territory.  As ever with the Tories, it is nothing but a confidence trick.  They must not be allowed to succeed.

Trust

30th September 2018

jeremy-corbyn-labour-conference

 Jeremy Corbyn – a triumphant speech to Labour conference

Trust is a most sought after commodity in politics.  Trust between candidates and voters.  Trust between colleagues within political parties, particularly if they are in government.  Trust in the system to deliver opportunity and reward for those prepared to work hard.  Peace, health, homes, and jobs continue to be the things that people need now and have needed since time immemorial.  People need to be able to trust in a system that will make these things attainable.

There is a growing narrative on the Left that trust has been eroded over the past decade.  The banking crisis of a decade ago not only exposed the precarious nature of the casino economy of the banks but rubbed salt into the wound, when taxpayers had to pay the gambling debts for bets that did not pay off.

The past decade has also seen the series of scandals associated with TV personalities, their ability to get away with sexual abuse, and the complicity of the authorities in covering up such abuse.  The LIBOR rate fixing scandal, another banking scam, was exposed in the past decade.  Broken promises to address tuition fees for students and a decade of politically driven austerity, punishing the poor while the rich continue to thrive, are part of the legacy of the 2010 – 15 Tory led coalition government.

Sexual revelations have generated the #MeToo movement, seen US entertainer Bill Cosby imprisoned and Donald Trump’s candidate for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, on the ropes over his sexual activities. Trump will no doubt find an equally right wing candidate, should Kavanaugh’s nomination be rejected.  However, as well as the issues raised about how victims of sexual assault are treated publicly, the power of the Supreme Court and its role in shaping life in the US have been questioned.

Who can we trust?

The answer to this question is too often framed narrowly by both academics and pundits.  They will implicitly accept that capitalism, as a system, is worthy of trust and with a few modifications is capable of delivering on the needs of the people.  What is required, such commentators argue, is a rebuilding of trust.  We need to reshape and rebuild trust in the banks, trust in the government, trust in the systems and institutions to provide for the many.

A variant of this debate is articulated by Will Hutton in The Observer (30th September 2018) in setting out the case for “stakeholder capitalism”, described by Hutton as,

“…a self-standing, distinct set of interlinked propositions about how capitalism can be made to work for all, requiring a radical change of mindset from the traditional left and libertarian right alike.”

Hutton welcomes the commitment by Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, at Labour Party conference last week to demand that every company with more than 250 employees allocate 10% of shares to employees, up to an individual benefit of £500 per person.  Hutton however suggest that MacDonnell should go further and,

“…declare that his aim is to create a new generation of British companies whose strength will be built on the new communities of interest between repurposed trade unions, customers and long term shareholders.”

Hutton is arguing for belief and trust in corporations to act in the public good in order to benefit us all.  He wants us to accept that trust in corporate magnanimity, with some modifications to control their excesses, will reshape capitalism for the benefit of all.  The ‘repurposed’ trade union will presumably be one designed to put the company interest before that of employees and avoid confrontation at all costs.

This is the usual sophistry of the soft Left, faced with the prospect of a Labour government which might actually take some radical steps. MacDonnell’s plan is about sending out a message to companies that they will not have everything their own way under a Labour government. They will have to consider their employees, their rights and to a certain extent give them some stake in the company.  However, a few company shares is not the point.  The main beneficiary of the MacDonnell plan will be the Treasury, which will raise an estimated £1.2bn from the private sector to invest in roads, schools and hospitals rather than going into the pockets of shareholders.

Capitalists are not co-operators.  They are connivers and dodgers.  They will pay employees as little as they can get away with, they will pay as little tax as they can get away with, they will play the system for as much advantage as they can extract from it.  It is naïve to think otherwise.  A programme for a radical Labour government has to be about outsmarting the corporations and, in the first instance, harnessing the resources of the state to support people’s basic needs.

That will involve public investment in roads, transport and housing.  It will require the rebuilding of the devasated public sector infrastructure, modernising the communications infrastructure and diverting funding for weapons of mass destruction into socially useful production.

Ironically, for Will Hutton and commentators of his ilk, the real upsurge in trust in recent years has been the growth of Labour as a mass party and the widespread belief in the trustworthiness and integrity of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Some of those who should be Labour’s allies fail to see this but for the enemies of Labour it is clear.  The orchestrated smear campaigns against Corbyn, from press, media, government and the weak kneed within his own party, are all designed to present an image of Corbyn as incompetent and his ideas as unacceptable.

The real lives of people however cannot be manipulated by social media and press commentary.  The reality of austerity, zero hours jobs, spiralling housing costs and dwindling life chances may not be obvious to the friends of Theresa May, or even Will Hutton, but for many in the so called United Kingdom it is the stuff of their daily lives.

Corbyn, in his speech at Labour conference last week, laid out a vision that can begin to shift that balance.  We all need to get behind it.   We need to trust that with the collective will of the people we can make change happen.