I am aware that I have been posing a number of questions aimed at Labour activists over the last few days but that’s because I really do not know a great deal about what the new social movement that Labour is apparently set to become is all about. I doubt I am alone.
Let me continue my theme then, on a pretty core issue. This is the role of the private sector in the economy.
Many Corbyn supporters seem very keen to say that they are opposed to neoliberalism, and believe Jeremy Corbyn will achieve the goal of beating it. It would appear that by this they mean they want a society that is organised with a focus on people and not profit. Implicit in this appears to be a massive antipathy towards anyone who has worked in the private sector, which explains a great deal of the venom directed at Owen Smith.
That sentiment could be entirely consistent with a belief that the old Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution - which sought the common ownership of the means of production - should be restored. If that were to be the intention then this would, in effect, be a statement that the private sector has at best a small role to play in the economy under any future Labour government.
But that’s not what Jeremy Corbyn has talked about when, excepting railways and the NHS, he says he wants partnership with the private sector. If that’s his view then his talk and the walk of many supporting him - who he says will have the real power in future - seem to be inconsistent.
In all this the possibility that the private sector can be embraced but the logic of the Washington Concensus can be rejected does not seem to have been discussed, although this was the agenda that tore the post-war consensus apart. It’s worth checking this issue out, here. Much of my work is in practice opposed to that Consensus. I am certainly not opposed to the private sector per se, or to the making of profit.
This then leaves me confused. Are we heading for socialism, clause 4 style, or not? And if not why do many seem to think otherwise? And what structure for the economy are they now suggesting, because I really don’t know?
And whilst that's the case, and given the power that is to be given to the Momentum led Labour membership, I do not think anyone can really have any proper confidence in anything Corbyn is saying because on one of the most basic questions that could be asked about the economy he, and they, seem to have no clear answers. And that’s pretty worrying, on whichever side of the debate you might happen to be.
Might anyone offer unambiguous clarification?