Kate Hudson interviews Jeremy Corbyn MP on the record of the coalition government, the state of the British economy, and the future of the Labour Party.

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Jeremy Corbyn MPBelow are transcribed sections from the interview by Reality Radio – a new news and political analysis podcast informed by the values of peace and justice.

On whether the coalition government is more Thatcherite than Thatcher:

‘This government has gone for incredible level of cuts in housing allowance, in long term cuts in benefits, in raising unemployment, and huge cuts in capital programmes and all kinds of revenue spending…I think they’ve created in that an incredible alliance against themselves in a way that Thatcher didn’t have an alliance against her until she’d been in office for 7 or 8 years – they’ve done it in 3 months’.

On Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ vision:

‘I don’t think he [Cameron] understands what the voluntary sector is about…it’s highly professional people, locally around here where our offices are for CND, working for publicly funded psychiatric services for people that have suffered domestic violence, violent crime, or asylum seekers who have suffered crimes of war in other parts of the world, they are highly professional people…He doesn’t seem to understand the importance of the social wage in people’s lives, which comes from the health service, it comes from social services, it comes from support from voluntary organisations, it comes from police and everything else. I just think that we’re going to end up with a more divided society’.

On the coalition’s cuts agenda and the economy:

‘What we now have is a government that is going to pay off this huge debt very quickly even though it is considerably smaller than the debt that the country survived on for the previous century and particularly after the Second World War, and at the same time privatise the banks and a lot of public services. So we end up with a smaller, less adequate, less capable, public function, and a break up of a lot of what we’ve come to know as the welfare state’. Goes on to draw parallels the government’s cuts programme and those initiated in Italy under Berlusconi.

‘The purpose of the economy is not to make the rich richer, and the biggest corporations more unaccountable and more powerful, it’s surely to ensure that everybody is fed, clothed, educated, and looked after in ill-health; that’s the basis of any kind of civilised society. So maybe there’s going to be a return to these arguments and values, but this time on an international basis’.

On the structure of the Labour Party and its response to the cuts

‘As ever, the Labour Party leadership is constrained by the fact that before the election Alistair Darling was proposing very large cuts himself, and in proposing those very large cuts himself, he was paving the way for this government, in exactly the same way that the administration of so many public services was always done under the threat of privatisation…And so, Labour have paved the way for a lot of this’.

‘There has to be a change in the Labour Party and the structures…The new leader has got to be the servant of the Party and not the master’.

‘I would have been happier if we’d had a wider choice, and happier if we’d had a process that didn’t involve MPs effectively having a power of veto over who the candidates would be’

‘A lot of the practices in the Labour Party are supremely undemocratic, and it has got to change. If it doesn’t change, then all those new people that have come into the Party are either going to get very angry or go away. Personally, I hope they stay and become active, and force these changes through – this whole issue about democracy and accountability of the Party leadership. I’m often told in Parliament that I’m very disloyal to the Party because I voted a few times against the last government, and I would counter that by saying I am actually extremely loyal to the Party and the labour movement, and attempt to carry that out in Parliament, and I don’t see why the Parliamentary Caucus should impose those rules on me or anybody else; those rules should be imposed by the Party as a whole’

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