Why I’m feeling pushed out of The Labour Party

Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn was unsurprisingly re-elected as leader of the Labour Party. With another impressive result, increasing his mandate to 62%. This leaves me personally in a tough position. You see, I am someone many in the party now might describe as a ‘red Tory’ or a ‘Blairite’. The Labour Party has always been a big tent party, being home to all those on the left of British Politics and although we have seen conflict in the past, the party has almost always held strong and united under the common aim of serving the most vulnerable in society.

Now Jeremy has a good heart, he has clear and strong values and although I don’t agree with him on everything, most notably foreign policy and some of his economic views, I feel, like myself he is fighting for the most in need. Where the problems lie are some of the figures behind him. This leadership contest has been the most bruising yet and has completely alienated me from the Party I have supported my entire life.

Momentum started as a grassroots organisation supporting Jeremy’s leadership after his victory first time around, and over the past year it has grown exponentially. Many lines coming out of the group have been extremely worrying. During the back end of the campaign this year where they published a list of MP’s they would like to see deselected and this wasn’t the first time. After the vote on airstrikes in Syria there were many suggestions from Momentum to deselect MP’s who did not hold Jeremy’s view on the intervention. This blatant disrespect towards our MP’s saddens me greatly. Many of these MPs are hard working men and women who have dedicated their lives to the labour movement. Take Liz Kendall, one of the so-called moderates who I’m sure Momentum would love to deselect. This week alongside Norman Lamb and Dan Poulter she renewed calls for a cross-party commission to tackle the horrific funding gap in our NHS. This is someone we should be happy to have to working with us, fighting to keep our National Health Service one of the best in the world, not being set aside as a traitor by our members.

And it’s not just threats of deselection over the past 12 months there have been several claims of abuse on our MP’s. Threats of rape, violence and Antisemitism appear to have become common place. The Labour Party feels like it has been taken over by a mafia gang with the levels of abuse we are seeing. The abuse against women and the Jewish community hits home the most, as we are the party that have always fought for an egalitarian society.

This is definitely not what Jeremy Corbyn would have wanted to bring to the party after being elected 12 months ago but it is definitely his responsibility to stamp out. And we have not seen that from Jeremy, yes he condemns the actions of these certain individuals but words aren’t enough. For The Labour party to be seen as a safe place for all thought on the left of British politics we need him to take action against these groups as ultimately they are acting in his name.

So where does that leave me? A self-described social democrat who wants to fight and campaign for a government with fair policies giving the poorest in our society the ability to prosper, protect our liberties and regulate business in order to help our workers and consumers. All while keeping our people safe and secure. That is a question I can’t currently answer. I want to stay with the party I have voted and supported my entire life, but it just doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Labour’s answer to #sadmanonatrain breaks an illusion

Jeremy Corbyn never seems good at taking pressure from the press. Over the past few days, his bubble has once again burst, and once again Jezza proceeded to just get a bit angry when people kept asking him about sitting on the floor of a train. As it happens, Virgin Trains now find themselves in a bit of trouble for releasing the footage that fuelled these questions.

On a weekly basis, the wheels seem to be coming off poor old Jeremy’s wagon. But despite accusations of support for the IRA, making friends with Hezbollah, or generally being quite far on the left (check out this Spectator blog, it lists them), the bus keeps on rolling. Yet I wonder whether this might be slightly different.

Corbyn has ignited political passions and sparked a revolution (known as Momentum, to you and I). He has sold himself as a principled man, who stands for honesty, integrity and justice; you’d be forgiven for thinking that these values had evaporated from the British political zeitgeist.

Yet suddenly, Richard Branson has released CCTV from one of his trains. The train, allegedly so crowded as to be standing room only (amateurish commuting really, if he wants overcrowding Jeremy should try the West Country),  was so busy he had to sit on the floor. Once there, Jeremy filmed a video, making a point about overcrowding and a need for re-nationalisation of the railways. But, and here’s the big ‘shock horror’ moment, that fateful CCTV video suggested the train wasn’t overcrowded at all

This man who has portrayed himself as a pillar of honesty amidst a murky grey sea of lies, darned lies and expenses, was apparently no better than the rest of them. Not great timing, considering the upcoming leadership elections, but this is just the latest in a long line of issues cropping up in the run up the ‘Smith vs Corbyn’ showdown. There have been accusations of lunacy, discrimination, betrayal and some rather odd policy ideas (plus Ice Cream?).

Anyway, Corbyn’s campaign team seemed rather nonplussed by the incident swiftly labeled #traingate, thought their initial attempts at explanation were a little, uh, odd. “Children are small, they might have been hiding behind the chairs,” they exclaimed. “There were bags on the seats,” they cried.

Too polite to ask someone to move a bag perhaps? That would be music to the ears of Mrs Cameron; perhaps the incumbent Labour leader has suddenly become so British that he’s bound to be found learning the national anthem soon enough.

 

 

 

The Labour Party – An Outsider’s Perspective

Today, the fate of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) was sealed. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s embattled incumbent, successfully fought a campaign in the High Court to win the right to vote in the upcoming leadership election. This all came about when the party’s National Executive Committee ruled that members who had joined Labour after January 12th would be ineligible to vote, unless they paid an extra £25.

This is a key victory for Corbyn and his supporters. He has been able to rally “grassroots” supporters, and generally these newer members are far more likely to support Corbyn than they are to support the welsh challenger, Owen Smith.

An appeal has been launched against the High Court’s decision, so this situation is subject to change. But it’s clear that the problems the PLP is facing are coming to a head.

If this ruling by the High Court is upheld, then Corbyn will undoubtedly win the leadership election. This then creates a very interesting situation – a party leader will be elected with no support from his parliamentary party. There is no doubt in my mind that the PLP will then split irreversibly, with Corbyn’s small band of MPs rallying around whilst the remainder will try and form a new centre-left initiative to face the Tories.

Three groups stand to benefit from this (and neither are Labour); Firstly, the Conservative party will be overjoyed at this news, as unchallenged Tory rule is pretty much guaranteed for at least the 2020 General Election. Second, UKIP will be licking their lips at the thought of snatching up ‘classic Labour supporters’ – the working class Brexiteers who have felt increasingly alienated by the Labour party. Finally, the Liberal Democrats (remember them?) will see this as a chance to snatch the centre-left ground and establish themselves as a serious political party. I for one know many, many Labour supporters who are considering turning to the Lib Dems, should Corbyn win his election.

So Tories in power, UKIP surging in popularity, the Lib Dems resurgent – could the political landscape change so drastically again?

The leadership election is a month and a half away, so I would like to add a pinch of salt with my predictions; these days we should know better than trying to predict political decision making!

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.