First off a big welcome to Advance Politics. We are a new Political blog focusing on everything to do with British politics, watch this space for regularly updated opinion and commentary on all the latest developments in our quickly changing political world. Feel free to comment and get involved with the discussion and don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to contribute.
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.