IT’S DIFFICULT to pinpoint exactly how “socialism” came to be regarded as a threat to the common good, its adherents compelled to reside in leper colonies and wander the streets shouting “unclean, unclean”.

Jeremy Corbyn is now beginning to understand how successful was the New Labour confidence trick in persuading its members to look the other way even as the party was being hijacked by unprincipled adventurers and privateers. He’s been facing down three of them and their fluffers in the UK Labour Leadership contest.

You can’t really blame the Tories. For centuries they had ordered society in England in such a way as to preserve the ancient privileges and entitlements of the robber barons and aristocrats.

They constructed an empire of slaves in vulnerable lands to feed the avarice of the British rich and created the East India Company, the world’s first state-sponsored pirate group, to maximise the exploitation and to repress any local truculence. Britain was Great then, but only a few must be allowed to experience the benefits.

And so it was only natural that they would boil with resentment and suppressed vengeance when the poison of “socialism” began to infect the body politic with its irresponsible credo of equality. This had resulted in wretched concepts such as giving the scum a decent standard of living, proper pay and an entitlement to good health and education. Soon they would all be living longer, resisting the call to die in wars of empire and demanding equal representation at Parliament.

Their first attempt at kidnapping socialism and blackening its name was to equate it with revolutionary communism.

Useful idiots such as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the 1920s were drafted in to advance the lie. Then Adolf Hitler and the Nazis intervened to make heroes of a generation of working class people who rescued Britain in its hour of need.

And for a few painful decades they knew it would be futile to resist the calls for social change. Soon their cherished universities, hitherto the instruments of maintaining the hegemony of their class, would be over-run with the hoi polloi demanding qualifications and jobs in those sectors that the Tories had once annexed to provide employment for their indolent offspring.

The so-called “Economic Miracle” of Margaret Thatcher, designed to put an end to ideas of community and collectivism, was revealed to have been an empty charade.

It was built on North Sea oil receipts, which were used to pay down the national debt and saw Conservative ministers deploying extraordinary measures to conceal the true extent of the Great Squandering.

This, along with a Gadarene rush to buy council houses, benefitted only the mortgage industry and laid the foundations for unsustainable debt and the widespread malfeasance in the criminally unregulated financial sector.

The chronic lack of social housing and affordable homes we are now experiencing can be traced directly to Thatcher’s door.

The Tories gathered eagerly around her anti-trade union laws, viewing them as condign punishment for the workers for trying to get above themselves in seeking a reasonable standard of living.

THUS, despite the best efforts of the Tories, it wasn’t they who were responsible for rendering socialism a threat to society and the natural British order of things in the cauldron of received wisdom.

The Thatcher miracle lasted only 13 years and caused British society to become broken and to wage war against itself in a way that not even our greatest enemies could ever have hoped for. Her legacy was an obscenity and an affront to human decency: greed is good and the weak must always make way for the strong. Socialism, it seemed, had survived its greatest ordeal.

If socialism was truly to be defeated it would have to be an inside job. Yet not even in their most fevered fantasies did the right in the UK imagine that the job begun by Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown would have been so successfully completed in less than 20 years.

To observe Tony Blair last week, almost frantic with fury as he set about denouncing Jeremy Corbyn, was to see the New Labour mask slip. Blair’s full-time job since demitting power has been to debase the office of Prime Minister by shamelessly using it as a personal collecting tin to shake underneath the noses of shadowy Middle East hustlers.

“Let me make my position clear,” said Blair. “I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned, leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.

“We should forever stand for social justice, for power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many not the few, as our Constitution puts it. But that is not the challenge. That challenge is: how to do it in the modern world.”

Roughly translated Blair said this: “We want lots of social justice, but not in a way that startles the horses.”

Elsewhere in his speech to a Labour think-tank called Progress (no, me neither…), he said: “We live today in a society that by and large has left behind deference, believes that merit not background should determine success; is inclined to equality of opportunity and equal treatment.”

No we don’t. We live in a society that has become the fifth most unequal in the world according to Oxfam; where foodbanks are appearing at such a blinding rate that even Tories are being pressed into opening them and where, in Scotland, 280,000 children are living in poverty.

It is a society that is still underpinned by deference to the Royal Family, to the House of Lords (whose numbers David Cameron wants to increase to 800) and to a system whereby the main levers of power, wealth and influence are still pulled by a tiny elite who attend one of five English independent schools and one of two universities.

Blair was elected Prime Minister by many of the “traditional, leftist” supporters he now despises and who firmly believed that a three-term Labour government would reverse some of the socially regressive measures enacted by Margaret Thatcher.

IN THE run-up to this year’s general election I met a retired baker from the East End of Glasgow and a lifelong Labour member who described his sense of betrayal at Blair’s “squandering” of his advantage.

“We looked forward to seeing him scrapping Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws but instead we watched him cosy up to big business and lift regulations on the financial industry. Look where that got us.” This man voted for the SNP but I feel sure he would be voting for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

The label of choice that Tony Blair and his acolytes inside the party choose to denigrate Corbyn is “hard left”.

It is a term laden with fear and loathing and suggests an anti-democratic syndicalist who would have us all out on the streets hanging burning tyres around the necks of right-wingers. Indeed the normally urbane and witty right-wing columnist Daniel Finkelstein inferred as much recently when he said that governments of the hard left open the door to lawbreakers.

You will never hear Finkelstein and other Tory acolytes deploy the term “hard right”, but what else would you call an administration that indulges in state criminality such as: inducing the police to assault striking miners; inducing the British Army to kill unarmed British citizens during Bloody Sunday; inducing bankers to bring down the economy by allowing them free rein to commit avarice, gluttony and deception on the grand scale; sacrificing brave soldiers in illegal wars?

Jeremy Corbyn is dismissed as hard-left because he is opposed to Trident, seeks a fairer alternative to one-sided austerity and wants the rich to pay all their taxes.

He has been derided for being an “impossibilist” simply for believing in those things that made it possible once for poor people in this country to share in the bounty of the nation. His critics are “susceptibilists”.

If Corbyn does become leader of the Labour Party he will have done so not least because he is simply a better candidate than his three opponents.

He has trounced all of them in debate and exposed each of them as dupes meekly acquiescing in Britain’s social dislocation. Corbyn stands for modern values that are uniting old and young across the world, be they in defence of Greece’s struggle against the banking supremacists or in anger at the inhumane response of the Conservative west to the Mediterranean boat people.

In the film Invasion of the Bodysnatchers humans are, one by one, replaced by aliens who have become exact copies of their hosts, but lacking any human emotions. Jeremy Corbyn has been facing them every day in the Labour leadership contest.