Thursday, 14 July 2016

My Thoughts On Jeremy Corbyn and The Labour Party

My thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn:
I have been trying to understand why anybody on the left would wish to keep Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party when all recent polling shows he is clearly unelectable and will lead Labour to a crushing defeat at any forthcoming general election unless he is replaced. I have been trying to understand why anyone on the left would want to keep a leader who will only help to increase, solidify, and extend the Tories grip on government. These are nearest thing I found to reasons for keeping Corbyn as leader.
1) 'Labour will lose next general election so it doesn't matter who the leader is.'
While it is true that Corbyn leadership has lead Labour to such a low watermark that any new leader will find it hard to make up all the ground lost by Corbyn general elections are not a zero sum game. A narrow defeat where a credible Labour opposition is poised to take over from a Tory govt as its (relative) popularity fades may be able to keep at least some of its worst excesses in check. A Tory govt without an effective opposition is free to run amok and will move further and further to the right as it has already started to do with the new cabinet positions. A heavy defeat for Labour would ensure Tory govt in power not only for the next few years but for decades.
2) 'All the polls, surveys, and feedback from Labour MPs are wrong, and Corbyn will win the general election (the opposite to point 1)'
While recent polls v actual results have been wrong they have only been wrong by a % few points but always in the way they have overestimated the left wing vote and underestimated the right wing vote. In short: Labour's polling numbers under Corbyn are diabolical but in truth are likely to be EVEN WORSE for Labour than they appear to be.
(if you look hard enough you may be able to find an outlier poll with a small Labour lead but please understand that at this stage of the election cycle an opposition party needs to be streets ahead of the incumbent Govt to stand a chance of forming next govt. As we know Ed Miliband's Labour party failed to win last years election: Corbyn's polling numbers are far worse than they were under Miliband)
3) A right wing Labour govt is just as bad as the Tories so we might as will keep Corbyn even if he is unelectable.
A Labour Govt of the relative left, centre, or right is infinitely better than a Tory govt. The last Labour govt which was the most right wing Labour govt there has ever been still introduced the minimum wage, disability rights, civil partnerships, investment in schools hospitals and public services. The only real 'achievement' of the last Tory was making sure the poorest and most vulnerable paid for a financial crisis caused by the bankers. This went hand in hand with the closure of libraries, women's refuge centres & the cutting of funding for almost all organisations that offered support for the most vulnerable in society.
Since the last Labour Govt Labour's center has moved to the left while the Conservative have moved ever further to the right. Even the last Tory govts relatively socially liberal aspect is now dead. The new PM is against gay marriage and has installed a foreign secretary who is openly racist. I personally would prefer a Labour leader from the center left of the party and that is likely to be were any replacement of Corbyn comes from, but quite frankly things are so serious now that I would welcome a new leader from the left, or right, of the party as long as they were competent and would take the fight to the Tories.
The problem with Corbyn is not the he is 'too left wing' it is that he is incompetent. As Owen Jones a natural Corbyn ally puts it:
"There is little point pretending that I have not frequently been in utter despair, because I believe socialism, on the one hand, and competence and effective communication to the majority of people, on the other, are not mutually exclusive."
"there has always been a lack of direction, clear vision or ability to communicate in a way that resonates with most people. The Tories have repeatedly been let off the hook (...) overall most people are at a loss as to what Labour stands for."
Finally: What some Corbyn supporters offered when asked why they wanted to hang on to a leader that was clearly unelectable was not reason but paranoid accusations that any Labour MP, member, or supporter of the party who wanted to replace Corbyn was part of a 'blairite conspiracy'.
Once someone has gone down the 'conspiracy theory' route it is clear they are no longer interested in listening to reason but to be clear: Some in the PLP are Blairites who were never going to give Corbyn a chance and were out to get him for day one (these idiots have only managed to strengthen Corbyn by engendering a siege mentality among his supporters). Some where ideological Corbyn supporters who were always going to support Corbyn however he performed. Most were somewhere in the middle, many were lukewarm supporters who feared he was not up to the job but hoped to be proved wrong and that they would see him rise to the occasion. It is the support of these MPs, from the left, right, & centre of the party, and from all parts of the country that Corbyn has now lost.
The reason they called on Corbyn to step aside was not just his abysmal polling numbers and loses at council elections, or his abysmal performance in the referendum campaign where it had been hoped he could seize the spotlight and make a real connection with voters (Corbyn is obsessed with attending Jeremy Corbyn rallies where he preaches to the converted but seems to have no interest in convincing non Labour voters to switch - which is what a Labour leader must do to win a general election). It was because they been in regular contact with their constituencies and found that most normal voters had no time for Corbyn, not only was he not convincing voters of other parties to switch to Labour but Labour voters themselves were telling them that they would not vote for Labour as long as Corbyn remained leader. These MPs had previously stuck with Miliband despite negative feedback from constituents and regretted it but the feedback from normal voters about Corbyn was much, much worse.
Corbyn ally Owen Jones again:
"We can’t ignore polling that is below what Ed Miliband achieved at the same stage in the electoral cycle – before going on to lose; Corbyn’s own personal rating is now -41, a catastrophic level, with more Labour voters dissatisfied than satisfied. Call the polls wrong [if you want to but] normally when they are, it’s to Labour’s detriment)"
"Socialism without power is slogans: a mild irritation at worst, a source of bemusement at best to a Conservative government that can do as it wishes. "
The Labour Party can achieve nothing unless it is in power. Not winning means a country led by a far right Tory Govt for decades. Not winning is the ultimate betrayal of middle and working class people.
These are serious times and I am feeling quite emotional (and not in a good way) but I feel that any action intended to keep Labour stuck with a leader that is only helping to increase the power of the Tory party is disgraceful.

ps. You can sign up to vote against Corbyn here: