I heard an interpretation of the Corbyn phenomenon that the British left is “in love with losing”. But who loves losing?
It’s a question of loving a certain type of losing, namely one which is also winning. The old socialism’s rhetoric was: we’re on the march and we’re taking the money. But that attempt at the collective appropriation of society’s wealth lost.
The current socialist rhetoric is about “principles” and “values”, moving the debate from healthy materialism to shady morality. Socialism now is about the “social conscience”, which judges you like God or the super-ego. Its politics is about placating this conscience and this means losing to the Tories and Tory-lites.
But this is how you lose to your social conscience. It asks, If you believe in the redistribution of wealth, why don’t you just do it? You believe in unilateral disarmament – so why not unilateral redistribution? Why do you need the state to redistribute your wealth? Losing to one’s conscience is intolerable, no one loves this losing, so better keep the money and conscionably blame the Tories and Tory-lites for inequality. It’s a win-win.