Why Jeremy Corbyn Must Win The Labour Leadership Contest

by Charlie_East_West on July 22, 2015

image

The Labour Party is in an absolute mess. This once proud political organisation currently faces a greater existential crisis than either the Lib Dems or UKIP. It is disheartening for loyal Labour supporters and for any left-leaning voter in the UK.

The country urgently needs an opposition with real clout and heft. As the Tories ratchet up even more cuts to welfare and public services under the fake auspices of austerity, but under the real auspices of free market ideology to turn Britain into a corporate playground – we need Labour to stand up and take the fight to the Tories. Labour has a greater support base than any other opposition party, but they are currently in danger of terminal decline due to dreadful positioning since 2010.

This existential crisis was cruely highlighted in this week’s Welfare Bill vote. 184 Labour MPs abstained from voting. Basically, they couldn’t even be arsed to vote against the Tory plans to slice off another £12 billion from welfare. The Welfare Bill is a huge piece of legislation. Labour buried their heads in the sand. That is an unforgivable neglect of those they are supposed to represent. If Labour cannot even vote against brutal measures of austerity that will hammer the poor, then what is the point of Labour? They are supposed to be the party of the people. Currently, they are not standing up for the people.

The Tories are bastards. They know they are bastards. Labour don’t know what they hell they are, and as such, are letting the Tories behave like bastards. If a bully is victimising someone and you ignore this, the victim will remember your cowardice. Voters will remember Labour’s cowardice in not standing up to the Tories over welfare cuts.

This brings me to the Labour leadership election. What a damp squib of a campaign. We currently have four candidates – one of which sounds like something out of an early draft of a UKIP manifesto (Liz Kendall); two of which are offering nothing at all in terms of a clear vision on the future direction of Labour (Andy Burnham & Yvette Cooper) – all three of these candidates abstained from the Welfare Bill.

What we are left with is Jeremy Corbyn. I now hope Corbyn wins. He is the only candidate who reflects what Labour should bloody well be about.
I would rather have a Labour Party who actually provide real left-wing opposition, than a bunch of Tory-lite Blairites messing around with abstaining on huge matters like the Welfare Bill. Choosing any of the other candidates is like choosing a watered down version of the Tory Party. What is the point in that?

I would rather have an opposition that offers a genuinely viable alternative vision of Britain than a bunch of political drones dressing up the Labour Party in all the wrong neoliberal clothes.

Labour are probably shattered for a generation anyway, so they might as well set about providing a clear and progressive alternative to the Tories. The SNP have adopted a well thought out left-wing mandate in Scotland, and the voters have lapped it up. One of the key reasons for this is that Scotland is a traditional left of centre heartland. Labour used to reap the benefits of this, but have lost their ability to connect with voters North of the Border, largely because they are seen as Tory-lite, Red-Tories – another cheek of the same Tory backside. It has been shown in Scotland, Greece and Spain that left-wing organisations can really resonate with large sections of the public – but only if they communicate the message in a clear, concise and consistent manner.

Blairites are currently howling at the moon for a lurch to the right. If they do this, they will be outflanked by the Tories in the South of England, lose Scotland for a generation and potentially lose parts of the North of England to UKIP. If Labour go with a Blairite candidate who is happy to abstain on the likes of the Welfare Bill then they may find they will lose North England as well as Scotland for a generation. The current collateral damage is then made even worse.

Labour must embrace politics that are true to their core ideological identity. This means becoming a mainstream party of anti-austerity, anti-Trident and pro public services – whilst recognising that enterprise must be given the opportunity to flourish – but only if enterprises behave in an accountable and ethical way.

Blarite commentators have argued that having Corbyn as leader would mirror Michael Foot in 1983. This is a myth. The whole political landscape is different to 1983. In 1983, the public were tired of monopolistic Union power, endless industrial action and badly run nationalised industries. The Thatcherite revolution swept that away – largely because the public decided that Britain needed a chance of direction. Move forward to 2015 – we now have the endless fallout of the financial crash, and heartless austerity that punishes the poor for the mistakes of the rich, and rewards the rich for the mistakes for the rich – and therefore, the country needs another change of direction. A Corbyn-led Labour Party can lead the country towards this change of direction. The Tories did this in 1979 onwards, Labour can do this in 2015 with an alternative progressive pathway for the country to walk down. It appears that only Jeremy Corbyn offers any radical alternative to the Thatcherite settlement within the Labour leadership candidates.

With this change in the political zeitgeist, Labour has an opportunity to reinvent itself as a British version of the SNP/Podemos/Syriza. Considering the credentials of the four Labour Leadership candidates, it appears that only Jeremy Corbyn has the vision to move Labour towards this.

It appears that many Labour supporters agree with all of this. The latest YouGov poll conducted among party members has Corbyn in the lead for the leadership on first preferences:

Corbyn 43%
Burnham 26%
Cooper 20%
Kendall 11%

Jeremy Corbyn has a real shot at winning the Labour Leadership. I hope he does. He might not win the next general election, but that is not the point. The whole point of Jeremy Corbyn is to reinvent Labour as a credible left-wing party of opposition in 2015, a party that is true to its ideological heritage, a party that stands for the people and a party that offers the voters a real alternative to neoliberalism. That is what Labour should always stand for. At least with Corbyn as leader, they have a reason to exist.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Hurrell July 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

You can’t leave the Greens out of this – they are up and running with policies we all need, but are being excluded from the dialogue over Labour v Tories. Can’t you do something to broaden the panorama and show there are viable alternatives based on fair play, compassion, honesty, guts, and a global perspective for all the issues that scare us to death eg migration, pollution, climate change, war, poverty, increasing no of ‘natural’ catastrophic events? A healthy opposition must be shown as coming from all the people working for positive solutions, regardless of party lines.

Reply

Scotsjock July 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

“The SNP have adopted a well thought out left-wing mandate in Scotland, and the voters have lapped it up. One of the key reasons for this is that Scotland is a traditional left of centre heartland. ”

Can there please be an evidence-based assessment of the SNP’s record of Government in Scotland on this blog? They are not left-wing, their record shows that they are mostly to the right of centre, advocating things like lower corporation tax, privitisation of public services, lower spending on health and education (compared, even, to the Conservatives) as well as lower taxation through council tax freezes etc.

When blogs like this one spout out that the SNP are a left-wing party with a left-wing mandate, it adds credence to the misrepresentation the SNP have promoted about themselves through the media in order to gain votes as Scottish voters would never knowingly vote for a party which is right of centre.

The SNP are not socialist. Apart from a few token policies like opposition to Trident, they are not left. They are anything but left-wing.

What they are, is canny operators with a fantastic spin and media operation, and close ties to the media, including Rupert Murdoch.

Reply

Genersis July 23, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I’m voting Corbyn.

He’s the only candidate that(rather ironically) brings something fresh to the table, he’s the only one I can actually see winning some people over, with his passion and charisma(comparative to the other candidates).

Labour’s biggest problem the last five years has been challenging the conservative narrative.
That they interpret voters seeing them as incompetent on the economy as a reason to move rightwards to be more tory, instead of interpreting that it to mean the tories are still painting them as incompetent successfully shows an inability to understand that they could have exactly the same economic policies as the tories and still lose due to being viewed as incompetent as long as the narrative is still not successfully challenged.

They need a master communicator at the top, and/or a lot of friends in the media. Corbyn isn’t a master communicator, but he still manages to far outclass his tepid competition.

Reply

Charlie_East_West July 27, 2015 at 4:29 pm

I agree with all of this. Labour needs a clear line of communication with voters. Unfortunately, this becomes difficult when almost all of the mainstream media have bought into the neoliberal settlement.

Reply

Philip July 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Reading far-left articles one imagines that Britain is populated by only two social groups – the minority filthy-rich and the great masses of the poor. Contrary to left-wing belief the majority of people in Britain are not living off soup-kitchens. We have a very large aspirational section of the population. It’s called the middle class. Unless their aspirations and concerns are addressed Labour will have no chance of winning at a general election. That might be unpalatable to the hard-left but reality was never their forte.

Furthermore, Corbyn is all about wealth distribution but has nothing to say about how that wealth is to be created. Nationalisation won’t generate anything but – to use your words – monopolistic Union power, endless industrial action and badly run nationalised industries. You are right, however, in saying that the landscape is different from the 70s and early 80s. But that’s precisely where Corbyn wishes to return, a landscape of monopolistic Union power.

If Jeremy Corbyn leads the Labour Party then there will, most certainly, be a distinct alternative to the Conservatives on offer to the electorate. The choice will be stark and the result will be a foregone conclusion. Small wonder many Tories desire Corbyn as the next leader of the Labour Party as much as you do. Left and Right seem united on that. But at least you can take comfort in knowing that if needs be you can always move to Greece to live amongst the happily governed of anti-austerity Syriza.

Reply

nino July 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I met Jeremy many years ago and found him an honest principled man with real convictions. If he were to be elected leader we should all be celebrating. Why can the right be thoroughly obnoxious snd be considered electable and an honest left winger be seen as a liability. We like to be conned it seems.

Reply

Charlie_East_West July 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Corbyn’s views are hardly extremist. They are basically an alternative, sensible and progressive alternative to the current levels of “extremism” on the right. Surely slashing £12bn off the welfare budget is hardly the ideological footprints of a Tory march towards the centre ground?

If Corby’s vision of anti austerity, anti Trident, anti Fracking, pro public services and clawing back tax dodgers is extremist, then I am willing to bet that there are a lot of supportive extremists out there.

Such “extremist” views are also recommended within the forum of this blog – on a regular basis!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: