You Can Support Labour This Election Without Supporting Corbyn, And You Can Win

There are some arguments circulating about how, with an election imminent, now is not the time to criticise Jeremy Corbyn. Lifelong Labour supporters should, were implored, put aside their issues, and just get behind the leadership in the name of beating May and the Conservatives. It sounds noble.

Yet it’s infantile and dishonest, and there are perfectly valid ways of earnestly supporting Labour in this election without hypocritically endorsing a man as utterly awful as Corbyn. Now is the time to recognise this isn’t a presidential race, this ISN’T May vs Corbyn. We live in a local democracy with the choice to vote for the MP who will represent where we live. And here, wherever it is possible, we should be vociferously fighting for our Labour (or Liberal Democrat) candidate.

Corbyn does not deserve support. He will unquestionably lose this election, and it’s frankly childish to delude ourselves otherwise. May and the Conservatives are going to win, and if anything it’s BECAUSE we’ve spent so long focusing on the personalities of two entirely disposable leaders. (Of the last three Prime Ministers, only one has been democratically elected.)

The emphasis that Labour = Corbyn, so if we want Labour we should get behind Corbyn, is complete nonsense, and absolutely guarantees the Conservatives’ victory. As much as *you* may worship at the altar of Corbyn, as furious as you might be with anyone who dares question his infallibility, you must accept that a massive, unscalable majority of people disagree with you and aren’t ever going to be convinced, let alone in the next five weeks. Corbyn will lose, and good, because he’s a stupid and nasty man who would be a terrifying prospect as a leader.

“Oh, but that sort of language doesn’t help!” Yes! Yes it does — in fact, it’s utterly essential. What we need as Labour supporters (and if you’re a fervent Lib Dem as I was all my life until their despicable betrayal in 2010, or even bloody Green supporter, you get included in this “Not The Conservatives” group) who are willing to be honest, to say the truth that Corbyn is a terrorist-sympathising simpering fool, and agree with people that he’s unacceptable. And then, with that common ground, make the argument that this is irrelevant when fighting for their own community, for their own schools and hospitals, for the terrifying climb in homelessness seen over the last seven years, for the poorest and the suffering nearest to them. They need to not have a Conservative representing them, representing those in need, speaking for their friends and neighbours. That they’re not voting against Corbyn by voting Conservative, but only against themselves.

My local MP is Jacob sodding Rees-Mogg, a lazily drawn cartoon of a Tory toff, a man who always looks like he’s wearing a top hat even when he’s not. He turns up to our local church Summer fête, his cartoon Tory children wearing strangling cartoon Tory miniature suits, an imaginary yet undeniable monocle adorning each of their faces. He’s a truly terrible man, possessing a wretched voting record, a virulent climate change denier, locally endorsed by (and unwilling to denounce) chilling far-right groups. So dominant is he here that election guides show a 95% chance that he’ll win in June. Labour oppositions are shipped in, then abandon the area when he wins again.

Our Labour candidate is Robin Moss. He has 92 followers on Twitter, and I’ve never heard of him before. It’s going to be hard work…

He’s a good guy. A local councillor, who spends his days running a youth and community project in Radstock. His wife is a primary school teacher, he works on boards supporting fostering, community projects, and special needs.

Jacob Rees-Mogg went to Eton, Oxford, then worked in the City in icky emerging market financial gunk. His father was William Rees-Mogg, former editor of the Times, and life peer.

If you care about the people who live in North East Somerset, it’s really not a difficult choice.

For so long as North East Somerset’s election discussion is “I don’t want Corbyn as leader” and “Labour supporters must rally around Corbyn at this time”, Mogg is OBVIOUSLY going to win. There’s no doubt about that. No one is going to convince a traditionally Conservative area to vote for Corbyn! Not least if they bloody lying when they try.

BUT, I think it could be possible to convince people to vote for themselves, for their families, for those they see struggling or suffering, for those in need. No, that’s not going to convince NES’s shotgun-wielding farmers. But this is a wildly complicated region comprising the poverty and struggles of places like Keynsham, Radstock and so on.

And YOU live in a wildly complicated region. They all are! And in not one of them will you find a meaningful majority that wants to see Corbyn as PM, and in not one of them will you convince people by lying to them, pretending it’s meaningful or sensible to put aside horror and support Corbyn. But if you show them how THEIR Labour (or otherwise) local candidate would protect THEM, then there’s a chance.

The funny thing being, if that happened enough, the Conservatives could be defeated. They won’t, because for some reason the whole country isn’t going to read this and agree and do it — inexplicable, I agree. But they could be. And when they aren’t, maybe what there could realistically be are a few more areas with non-Conservative representation. It’s worth a try.

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