From the Leader of hope to a hopeless Leader?
When Jeremy #corbyn rose to power in a wave of optimism driven by the youth, the left-leaning and those who sought real fundamental change in the labour party – however fleetingly – things looked unified the mandate clear. However, as the days and weeks to Corbyn passed, the latent discontent began to stir; one shadow cabinet member after the next came out and resigned to the familiar tune of “he’s not a Leader, he can’t win an election”. Surely though this is a tad incongruous with the occurrences that have been synonymous with the Corbyn movement: he inspired thousands of new members, won the leadership overwhelmingly and has – in recent weeks – fought tirelessly, bravely and with unbreakable determination to hold onto power; serving his inner convictions resolutely.
Too far away from the middle?
The hypothetical point about his general election credentials does however hold more ground; but is far from conclusive. Why though is this the case? Corbyn is a rare thing in politics, a Leader with real fervent political values, views and opinions he sticks to. Contrast that to Cameron who rose to the top through PR roles and a clean-cut appearance and an ability to delegate almost all aspects of decision making; a proven winner of general elections. Conversely, Corbyn can’t and won’t bend his opinions; he’s lukewarm to moderately in-favour of EU membership and hence he campaigned that way claiming the EU was: 7 out of 10. However, he still campaigned in favour of staying in the EU in line with his beliefs. The Labour parliamentary rebels insist that Corbyn’s lacklustre defence of the European Union during the campaign was a big reason for its loss. Is this correct? By refusing to accept controls on immigration, the anti-Corbyn brigade allege, he damaged the case for Remain and thus doomed the cause to its narrow loss and subsequent Brexit. The story goes that by consistently sticking to his core convictions asking voters to focus on issues of housing, labour rights, and austerity instead of blaming foreigners, Corbyn revealed that he was “out of touch” with the core Labour vote in the North of England. This argument is does not hold water. Corbyn got 63% of the Labour vote to choose remain, far outstripping the 42% of Conservative voters who stuck with their Leader.
The Labour Party, and society as a whole, must decide on how much it values serving inner principles and opinions, whether our democracy wants passionate honesty, the ability to go against the grain and the desire to fight for the minority; not the middle ground. If this is no-go in modern politics, if Jeremy Corbyn’s party succeed in taking him down, one must ask what this means for our society; not Jeremy Corbyn. #labourparty