Questions all Jeremy Corbyn supporters need to answer
Owen Jones
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Hard to argue with many of the points, but it rather misses a vital one — why Corbyn was elected. It is also a tad lazy at times, for example, Foot was not a ‘disaster’ as leader, it was only recently in a good article that I was reminded that Foot, right up until the Falklands war, was not only ahead of Thatcher, but ludicrously so. We are guilty of talking in Tory terms, ‘Thatcher wiped out Labour with the longest suicide note in history dragging them down’, being trotted out not by Tories but by Labour supporters. Sadly, it was not so. We forget that the Tory govt, again, up until the Falklands war, was the most unpopular since WW2, that they lagged behind Labour (and Foot) in every area. The Falklands war not only got Thatcher out of a hole of her own digging, it also doomed any chance of a Left Wing Labour govt for the next thirty years. maybe for ever…

Back to today, we are still talking in Tory terms. Polls are saying May is more popular that Corbyn, that the Tories are storming ahead, well, what do we expect? The public hate a divided party more than any other single factor — just ask the Tories, it kept them out of power in the noughties exactly the same way it kept Labour out of power in the 80’s. The way the coup was launched was also catastrophic, and the collapse of the shadow cabinet the one single act that has handed such disastrous poll blows to Labour. Think about it, if the public hate a divided party, what the hell must they think when the leader of the party is left high and dry!?

Yes Corbyn is naive when dealing with the press, yes he does need to be more ‘media savvy’, and yes, Labour need to spell out exactly where they are going and how they are going to make a difference. Unfortunately, when you have a shadow cabinet full of individuals who despise the leader, and aren’t afraid to show it, when you have backbenchers running to the press every five minutes proclaiming a leadership challenge is on the way, and publicly drubbing the party’s leadership, it doesn’t make for an atmosphere conducive to setting the stage for a General election, and projecting the party’s vision of the future. Tbh the feeling over the past year as a Labour member, has been one of ‘when is the challenge going to come and who from’? If I’m not re-assured by the PLP’s behaviour, why the hell should the Public be?

The Labour party may well be on the edge of a precipice, it may well fall apart, or the right simply split away, but it’s a battle that had to be fought sometime, and it might as well be now as in the future with the Tories even further entrenched. The right of the party, the PLP, has lurched so far to the right I can’t tell the difference between what they represent and what the Tories represent, and that has been the issue since 2001 when Labour started leeching voters in droves. If they were the ‘old right’ there wouldn’t be such a problem, the two sides have always found a way to get on (barely at times) in the past, but now it’s gone too far, and the PLP has drifted too far away from what the public needs, not just from Labour, but from a credible opposition party.

Finally, we are seeing even here, in Owen’s piece Tory driven ideas. Not that Owen is a Tory, heaven forbid, but the core of the whole piece is; have the left gone too far, are the left being selfish and short sighted, and is Corybn a left wing risk too far? All this is based on a false assumption, that everyone who supports Corbyn is young, left wing and ‘militant’. Well, nice as it is to be seen as ‘young, left and militant’ I support Corbyn and I fit in none of those categories. I support Corbyn because I’m sick of New Labour, tired of the party I have supported for over thirty years being a (barely at times) watered down version of the Tories, and fed up with Leaders too afraid to stand up and say what needs to be said. I am by no means alone among my peers.

The very fact that the majority of the PLP find Corbyn’s views unpalatable, and yet as Owen points out, they are hardly ‘radical’, shows why we have really come to this pass…

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