Tuesday, 12 July 2016


If you have been even loosely following British politics, you know of the political chaos. But what's been almost unprecedented is that this chaos has not just been in the party of government, but in that of opposition- in the Labour party.

Essentially, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a revolt from many Labour MPs, as evidenced by heavy defeat he suffered in a vote of confidence among MPs (172 voted no confidence against him, compared to only 40 who backed him). This came just after two-thirds of his shadow cabinet had resigned, too.

However, unlike what these renegade MPs and pretty much all of Britain's media want to tell you, Jeremy Corbyn must stay, and he has the full right to, as leader of the Opposition. Here are my 3 reasons why:

1) He has a massive mandate.

Having won almost 60% of the votes of Labour members in the leadership election that took place just under a year ago, against 3 other candidates, Corbyn techically has earned the biggest political mandate of any Labour leader ever.

Corbyn won the 2015 Labour leadership election
in a landslide, with 59.5% of the vote.
In that election, the hope and the new direction offered by Corbyn to the left of the country, many of whom were disenfranchised by the centre, 'Tory-lite' New Labour created by Blair. Young people, Green party members, people who had just given up on voting altogether- these massive numbers of people were welcomed back to the Labour Party by Jeremy Corbyn. Undoubtedly, these regular, grassroots party members were those who propelled the Islington MP to victory, and would provide massive amounts of support and votes for him should there be an upcoming general election.

Now, after less than a year, to push out their democratically elected leader would be a massive slap in the face of all these people who contributed to the Labour party and voted last year. This would cause people, again, to lose faith and hope in the party, and further splinter the growing left in Britain- effectively wrecking Labour's chances in any upcoming general election.

2) Potential replacements would be highly likely to fail.

Angela Eagle, the Labour MP leading the Corbyn coup.
And there is pretty much no feasible replacement leader that could prevent this splintering from happening. Among the rumoured leadership candidates that were being passed around by the media, current Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is the only guy who could remotely command a bit of Corbyn's support. McDonnell is a man who shares the current leader's views, who is well spoken and a sharp debater. But not only has he repeatedly said he's not going to run in any leadership election, but he has made it clear that he would instead lead Jeremy Corbyn's own campaign to be re-elected if needed.

As for the others, people like current Deputy Leader Tom Watson and Angela Eagle are the most likely contenders to Corbyn. However, these people are regarded by many of the left as Blairites (Eagle more than Watson). This is not just because they voted in favour of the disastrous Iraq War in 2003, and more recently British airstrikes in Syria, but because their policies are far closer to the centre than many Labour members would like, especially in comparison to Corbyn.

Eagle, the only confirmed contender to Corbyn so far, would particularly be likely to take Labour back to being a pale shadow of the Tory Party, and as a consequence, masses of Labour's grassroots support will be disenfranchised and again, chances in any future general election severely damaged.

3) Britain needs a way forward after Brexit.

Brexit has happened- it may be a pretty bad disaster, but there's a 99.99% chance that it will not be reversed. What Britain can't afford to now have is a leader who will proceed full speed towards disconnecting the country from the EU, as the Leave camp leaders desired. Nor can we have someone who tries to cling desperately to the past at all costs. Britain needs someone who can plan a way forward for a post-EU Britain, taking advantage of the benefits there are of being outside the EU* while compensating for the losses. The next PM can't treat the issue as black and white, as almost every politician has in this Brexit campaign, because it isn't one.

Corbyn, however, during the campaign understood arguments of both sides and put forward a nuanced view of the situation. He made it clear he was firmly in favour of Remain, but he was honest and put forward improvements to the UK's relationship with the EU that would need to be made should his side win. This nuance has put him in trouble, however, with many criticising him for being destructive to his own side's chances. He didn't want to play the old style game of black and white politics, and it's hard to deny he didn't suffer because of it.

But now the vote has happened, Corbyn is the best man to take Britain forward- he understands what is at stake now for Britain, and the best way forward now that the country has decided.

It's incredibly important to remember that this whole anti-Corbyn fiasco is about more than Brexit. Since the run up to the leadership campaign, both the mainstream media and the more centre-leaning Labour MPs have had a vendetta against Corbyn that has now manifested itself and become visible. This dark episode has gone to show just how disconnected both the media and the Parliamentary Labour Party are from their grassroots supporters.

And why is this? It's because the establishment is scared. Jeremy Corbyn has gained such momentum because he offers something different to the nation than the austerity, than the foreign military interventions, than the trickle down economics system of the centre and the right that is impoverishing millions at the bottom at the benefit of a few at the top.

Fear of something other than the status quo has made Labour MPs stab their leader, and thus, in effect many of their voters, in the back. It has driven the newspapers, too, to spread pure vitriol in their headlines.

These people, this campaign of fear, this disregard of the Labour membership, cannot be allowed to win. Corbyn must stay. If there is to be a leadership election, he must be allowed to stand and voters must be allowed to give him their support, and, in my opinion, push him to victory.

But the day the man is forced down from his elected position by a group of 172 members of parliament, and this right of the Labour members is neglected, will be a sad, sad day indeed for Britain.
Mohammad M Lone Editor

No comments:

Post a Comment