Thoughts on Labour’s leadership

The transformation of the Labour party — into a mass-membership organisation; an energiser of the young and disenfranchised; a prominent force of resistance to austerity; a proponent of significant economic and political change; a parliamentary party driven increasingly by grassroots democracy — has brought its fair share of challenges (and occasional nastinesses).

Truthfully, I don’t know if all of those can be overcome — and I share many of people’s concerns about Labour’s current situation.

But in the end, that process of change is remarkable and hopeful. It paves the way to really meaningful, positive changes in our society, and I think it remains Labour’s best plan for finding renewed significance.

Really, it’s the only plan. Owen Smith’s campaign has been woefully uninspiring; like the anti-Corbyn campaigns last year, it has consisted almost entirely of variations on the catchphrase “Labour needs to win”, with no actual new suggestions as to how.

I don’t doubt Owen Smith’s sincerity or that of his supporters — even when it comes to criticisms of the current leadership, some of which are fair. But this isn’t a choice between Corbyn and absolutely-anyone-else-possibly-including-a-miracle-worker. The alternative is a prototypical politician in an age when one of the few certainties is that people don’t like them.

Especially by comparison, Corbyn’s authenticity and integrity shines through. It continues to counter the idea that all our public officials are, or must be, ruthless, self-serving, disingenuous bastards. It is the hallmark of a better kind of politics and leadership. It is something that deserves support.

The coming months and years will clearly be very difficult for Labour, whoever wins. But while the alternative is so inadequate, and while the potential rewards of a Corbyn-led Labour party and government are so great, this one’s an easy one for me. I’ll be voting for Jeremy Corbyn today.