The Westminster system has been used as a blueprint for democracies across the world, and one of its main components is an opposition that scrutinizes the governing party. For a century, the Conservative and Labour parties have held each other to account, standing up when they think injustice is being done and coming together in times of national strife.
A weak opposition is bad for democracy. Yes, in the short term, it is fantastic for the governing party, but in the long term it erodes the basis of public accountability. A weak opposition allows the ruling government to act with impunity. It also lessens the opinion of Parliament in the eyes of the public. That's why Jeremy Corbyn would be not only a disaster for the Labour Party but for all of British politics.
There are already rumblings of a Labour split if Corbyn becomes leader. The SNP, although relatively powerful given its number of MPs, are not an effective opposition, and will be particularly hampered if 'English Votes for English Laws passes'. Therefore, the Labour Party needs to have a semblance of influence if the 75% of Britons who didn't vote for the Conservative Party hope to be represented in a tangible form. This is especially true when it comes to representing the English. Wales has Plaid Cymru, Scotland has the SNP, and do we really want the English to rely on UKIP?
Labour needs to get its house in order and stop peddling radical socialism. Primarily, this is because it is an unelectable plank. The British public has demonstrated over and over again, that they do not like extremes, be it to the left or right. One only needs to cast a gaze back to Labour’s wilderness years during the 1980s to see how the British public dismisses an opposition that simply touts its ideology while ignoring the good of the country. Additionally, socialism in recent decades has been largely discredited; you only need to look at Greece to see why. When Tony Blair came to power, the central tenet of the Labour constitution, Clause IV, was dropped. This effectively removed Labour’s hardcore socialist aims. Thus, Labour has striven over the past twenty years to combine both social justice and a spirit of capitalist enterprise. Such a strategy made Tony Blair one of Britain’s most electable premiers in history. It is this symbiosis of principle and pragmatism that Labour must regain in 2015.
The Labour leadership contest has been a three month charade. Recently, rumours have circulated that the far left, namely the Communist Party and its cohorts, are encouraging members to sign up to the Labour Party in order to vote for Corbyn. Savvy Tories who see this as the best way to ensure a Conservative victory in 2020 are replicating the strategy. Both are subverting the political process for their own gain. They are also ensuring that the other candidates are completely overlooked. Yvette Cooper has hardly been mentioned in the press, Liz Kendell has largely been dismissed and Andy Burnham has been relegated to second place. The Conservative leadership should denounce this interference by their activists, and the electoral commission should look into the details of Labour’s newest members.
British politics is as much about debate as it is about passing legislation. If Jeremy Corbyn is elected as Labour Party Leader, the debate in the House of Commons will no longer be constructive. Instead, it will be quasi-Marxism vs. social Conservatism. Essentially, the Labour Party will no longer offer a real alternative to the Conservatives. If Labour elects Corbyn it is, in effect, stating that it has no real interest in the occupying 10 Downing Street for the foreseeable future. This would not only be a disaster for the Labour Party, but also for Britain.