Yesterday the Independent published an article that claimed Jeremy Corbyn (inexplicably, they seemed to have omitted the customary 'far left' that precedes his name) wished to restore Clause IV, the commitment to “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.”
They published the interview under the not-exaclt-ambivalent headline, "Jermey Corbyn to Bring Back Clause IV."
Clause IV was removed from the Labour Party constitution under Tony Blair.
The Indie interview makes it clear that Corbyn was asked directly if he wanted to restore Clause IV. A direct question. He didn't bring it up himself, he was asked about it.
He said, in response, “I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring clause IV as it was originally written or it’s a different one. But we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.”
I think it is bloody refreshing that he answered the question openly, and didn't prevaricate in a Blairite manner.
As for his answer, he said he wants a discussion about how Labour should approach public ownership - whether it is the return of the old clause IV or a new version. He doesn't actually indicate his preference, or even if he supports either the old or a new version of Clause IV, merely saying, "we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways."
That's a long, long way away from a commitment to “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.”
A statement has been released from Camp Corbyn to clarify his position following the Indie's insanist headline. The Mail, of course, immediately proclaimed this to be a 'backtrack'.
The Blairites and the right are gnashing their teeth like anything over Corbyn's popularity.
They must be frustrated that they can't find any other dirt on him. He's not a hypocrite, unlike Blair; he's not prone to Lear like rages, unlike Brown; even though his climate change denying brother Piers could probably do with a bit of back-stabbing, Corbyn can't be accused of that; and he's scrupulously honest and frugal with his expenses claims.
Even the "terrorist sympathiser" doesn't seem to be sticking. Because, I suspect, most people are happier with the uneasy compromise in Ulster and would probably have had it sooner; and can see that talking to Hamas, like talking to the IRA, might be an unpleasant but necessary step. A bit like talking to the Israeli government, in fact.
They must be fuming.