Corbyn versus Smith: What is Labour's future?

Without honour He has sacrificed the poor for his selfishness

Nothing will better display the vanity of the British left - and the reasons it has long wallowed in futile opposition - than the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn. Unless the polls are wrong, he’ll will win convincingly. But he will lead a parliamentary party that has no confidence in his leadership and he has as much chance of becoming prime minister as Donald Trump has of being guest of honour at a piñata party.

His is a dereliction of duty unprecedented in modern British politics. He is totally without honour. He has sacrificed the poor for his selfishness. His supporters care more about being seen as radical than doing something about inequality, improving public services and changing our democracy. By voting for this incompetent, unpopular and divisive figure against evidence and reason they will become culpable in the sins of this government.

No single act makes a 2020 Conservative victory more likely than a vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Corbynista might just as well save some money and vote for Theresa May.

For decades the Labour left complained about Blairite control freakery. Now dissent - or even mild criticism - is met often with bullying or at worst with misogyny, anti-Semitism and homophobia. After his shabby treatment of his MPs, few will believe a word Corbyn says. His policy agenda is an intellectually-lightweight emotional spasm. Radical he is not. Labour has had some dud leaders but, when he retires to spend more time on Press TV, Corbyn will be remembered as its worst.

Ideas that his re-election will mark a permanent change in Labour are absurd. In 2010, the membership voted for the most right-wing candidate; five years later for the most left-wing. Victories in politics are always fleeting. Parties change. If it survives the general election, Labour will change again. In playing for everything, Corbyn has sown the seeds for destruction. Like Blair ironically.

Oh. Congratulations, Jeremy.

Graham Kirby

Under Corbyn Labour is Not Even Trying to Win Power

I voted for Owen Smith as Labour leader. I did so because he seems like a solid Labour MP and is not Jeremy Corbyn.

The purpose of the Labour Party is to win power and use it to improve the lives of the broad mass of working people. Under Corbyn’s leadership, it is not even attempting to attract enough voters to fulfil that objective.

The last Labour government had a creditable record on improving schools and hospitals, reducing crime and increasing employment - the issues that matter most to working people. But Corbyn still found 428 occasions on which his much vaunted conscience led him to vote against Labour. If someone has 428 points of disagreement with a party, then clearly it is the wrong one for them to be a member of, let alone lead.

Despite all that, I do actually share some of Corbyn’s political and economic views. My dislike of him stems more from his embodiment of the worst kind of right-on, middle-class, London leftiness. Corbyn supported the IRA at a time when it was murdering kids in Warrington. He is feeble on anti-Semitism. He adds credibility to far right regimes in Iran and Russia by making sympathetic appearances on their TV propaganda channels. And he undermines Britain’s security by playing the role of “useful idiot” for the neo-fascist Putin and refusing to show solidarity with our friends who are threatened by Russia.

Corbyn’s juvenile, anti-Western “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” posture does not belong in the Labour leader’s office. Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson would be appalled that this man was their successor. Labour needs a leader whose greatest inspiration is standing up for the working class people of Britain, not the cheap thrill of standing next to violent extremists.

Paul Knott

a movement defined by its grassroots activism

Let’s be honest: Jeremy Corbyn is going to win this leadership election. Owen Smith frames Corbyn as an incompetent, lackadaisical leader who cannot possibly return Labour to government. But Smith also pitches himself as an alternative who is equally as “radical” and anti-austerity candidate as Corbyn. Smith has realised that this strategy is his best bet for overturning another Corbyn landslide. This defines how Labour has been altered since Corbyn took over a year ago.

Corbyn was preceded by an Ed Miliband who criticised inequality and social injustice, yet accepted the basic terms of austerity implemented by the Coalition government. Even before the membership surge under Corbyn the paid up members, not just supporters and affiliated trade unionists, wanted a leadership with a decisive and distinct opposition platform.

The unlikely leader Corbyn, despite his faults, promotes a vision of a more equal and compassionate society, with his openness to adopting universal basic income as official policy exemplifying an agenda that is dynamic and exciting to his supporters. The Corbyn movement can be compared to the rise of Podemos in Spain and the Pirate Party in Iceland, progressive insurgents defined by their grassroots activism.

Where does Labour’s future lay if Corbyn wins again? Some MPs have proposed a split, but this would be a disastrous gift to the Tories in a political system without proportional representation.

Smith is right that Labour should focus on winning elections, but would-be leaders now have to convince a membership who mostly rally around Corbyn’s key principles. With or without Corbyn, the party has to focus incorporating this philosophy into a manifesto, and electoral strategy, that are credible and rigorous enough to make a winning pitch.

Jacob Richardson

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