Are we going to be alright?

 

Hello, my name is Connor. I’ve done a lot of political commentary on student radio and when Ryan told me he’d started Advance Politics and he wanted me to contribute, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

To many of us who have an interest in politics and current affairs, the past few weeks have probably appeared as a bit of a blur. Sitting back and thinking about all that has happened, (Brexit, Cameron resigns, Corbyn doesn’t, BoJo vs Gove, Nigel says Bye Bye) you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve woken up inside an episode of the Thick of It.

But then you remember that Malcolm Tucker would never have stood for all this and the plot lines of the british political establishment are too fanciful even for the writing of Armando Iannucci. No, even the hilariously sarcastic universe of the Thick of It is too sensible to entertain this nonsense.

“Malcolm, did you hear that Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour Leader?”

When trying to process the events of June and July, I’ve found I can only really make sense of them if I compare them to
episodes of Peep Show – specifically, the Grand Finale of Peep Show, which saw David Mitchell and Robert Webb finally say goodbye to Jeremy and Mark. That episode is entitled ‘Are we going to be alright?’.

*PEEP SHOW SPOLIERS COMING UP*

The episode revolves around Jeremy’s unwanted surprise 40th Birthday party, with progressively stranger events transpiring to ruin the ‘happily ever after’ that Mark and Jeremy appeared to be heading for, sending them crashing back down to earth. 10 series of Peep Show end with Mark and Jeremy exactly how they started, mundanely watching television with their lives left just as distinctly average as when we first met them.

peep_show_9-6Jeremy and Mark’s expression on hearing we voted for Brexit

Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar? Nick Clegg’s metaphoric rise, A coalition government, Nick Clegg’s cataclysmic fall, Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn all building towards the turmoil of the past few weeks. Disillusion and disbelief are contagious amongst the electorate – the young loathe the old for voting to leave the EU, the old loathe the long for disregarding their credentials. Scotland is trying to get its coat and leave the party, and Northern Ireland might run off with them. And the commentators and reporters have been spouting their favourite ‘buzz phrases’;

“This is a wake up call for political establishment,”

“Britain will never be the same again,”

“The political landscape has been changed for ever,”

But in reality, we’re just like Jeremy and Mark. We’re lying on the sofa blankly staring at the television, acutely aware that the real world is just as average and mundane as ever. You still need to go and buy milk and bread. The dishwasher still needs stacking. Someone still has to go and walk the dog.

Jeremy: the ultimate everyman?

It’s quite easy to forget all that when you’re reading your 15th article of the day on the dangers of Brexit, or why Jeremy Corbyn needs to stand down. Maybe we need to treat it a bit like alcohol? We spend all of Christmas and New Year drinking far too much and make ourselves feel better by having a ‘Dry January’.

We’ve had a 6 year binge on political weirdness; time for a break I think.

 

There Is No Shame In Standing Down Jeremy

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Labour MP for Islington North Jeremy Corbyn

Less than a year ago Jeremy Corbyn shook the British political elite by becoming the leader of the labour party gaining almost 60% with a promise of honest straight talking politics. However, his first year has not been easy and has faced a huge amount of criticism from the more centre leaning PLP and the media from his opposition to airstrikes in Syria to an unconvincing result in this year’s local elections. But last week may have been the final straw when it comes to his leadership with the political elite being shaken again by the EU Referendum result.

In October of last year, I appreciated the breath of fresh air Corbyn brought to the party and the willingness to take a step away from a Blair/Brown era which had now become a stain on the party. I then joined the party hoping to support this new style which would hopefully reignite the image of the party among the disenfranchised working class. And I have followed the party closely since.

However this resurgence has not been seen in his first year at the helm and he has proven time and time again he cannot keep the peace or deliver any real direction in the party. This was shown during the referendum with much of the electorate not being aware of Labour’s stance even with hard work at a grassroots level and much of the working class north siding with the party which is here to represent them. Also in the local elections we see a changing landscape where labour has a battle on two fronts with the Tories in swing seats but now UKIP in the safe Labour north.

Corbyn may have brought a new type of politics back into the labour party but the same old convictions and criticisms held, with many in the public still seeing the party as irresponsible on the economy, this was magnified by the appointment of his long-term ally John McDonnell who has done nothing to tackle this stigma on the party and also seems to enjoy bringing Mao’s Red Book into the Commons all while not really making his voice heard when it comes to policy either.

That said I do not believe it is right to assert someone of similar politics to Corbyn Is unelectable. I believe there is a place for a more left-leaning labour party in the UK which would be electable, with decent public support for the nationalisation of industries like rail and electricity for example. However, it is clear Corbyn has not only lost the support of his MP’s with mass resignations of key positions and 2 reshuffles in his first year, but support among the membership is also decreasing as a YouGov poll this week found, so even the Jewel in Corbyn’s crown is shining a little less bright.

With all taken into account, I believe the landscape we see ourselves in especially after the referendum result and David Cameron’s Resignation has changed significantly from last year and as a result, we need to review our leadership to give the best possible opposition. Especially with the possibility of an early election, it is important the public does not see the Labour Party as a fractured or even a broken party. Jeremy I applaud the fresh honest approach you have given and the effective opposition to some of the government’s most cruel policies. But you have to admit defeat and understand you have lost support from your party and not gained the required public support we would expect from an opposition leader. We don’t want you to be remembered as the man who split the Labour Party.