The moral imperative to win

Ignore the evidence at your peril: Jeremy Corbyn is leading us to disaster, and — more importantly — those who rely on us to ruin.

Our failure to hold on to government in 2010 led to a whole raft of life-changing policies for those who most need our support. The bedroom tax, hitting vulnerable people with higher rent in the homes they’ve lived in for years, is perhaps the most oft-cited example.

Every time someone comes to my surgery, as much as I can help them, I have to also explain why I can’t: the housing waiting list is so long because the government won’t let us borrow prudently to invest in the homes we need; the amount of council tax support we can afford is limited because the government have cut our grant funding to the bone; police numbers in the capital were cut by the Tory mayor.

The people who need somewhere decent to live; the people whose incomes are eaten up by the bedroom tax or zero-hours contracts; the people who feel vulnerable on the streets: there is only so much I as a councillor can do to help.

I didn’t come into politics to not help people.

To change the system — to change the rules of the game — we have to be in government. We didn’t introduce the minimum wage through a Private Member’s Bill. Civil Partnerships didn’t come about after a debate organised by the Petitions Committee. Record investment in schools and hospitals couldn’t be funded by winning parish council by-elections.

Nothing about the polling through 2016 (left) has suggested Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is on the cusp of electoral breakthrough. Very few individual polls have suggested a Labour lead, all in the aftermath of Osborne’s final Budget as Chancellor. But a fleeting single-point lead after a disastrous Budget does not point to an impending victory.

Polling has, on the other hand, suggested that we could see an immediate improvement in voting intention by dumping Corbyn. His personal poll ratings — trust and competence — are the worst of any leader of the opposition at this point in the cycle. The problem is not policy. The problem is not disunity. The problem is that the country do not like him, or trust him.

If we are serious — truly serious — about making life better in Britain, we must aim towards government. At the moment, we are aiming only towards terminal opposition.

Given the dire situation many of my constituents face, and my moral imperative to help them — I cannot, simply cannot, support the continued leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.