It is no secret that Jeremy Corbyn is on track to win the Labour leadership election. The bearded backbencher has proven to be immensely popular with both grassroots supporters and CLPs. However, during the entirety of the leadership contest, I have never been tempted to vote for him. There are five core reasons why I oppose the Corbyn campaign, despite being a Labour supporter:
1. Every poll that questions Corbyn is labelled ‘Tory propaganda’
Applying the same logic universally, could the wealth of pro-Corbyn polls currently circulating be labelled as ‘lefty propaganda’? The atmosphere of suspicion that infuses the Corbyn campaign is extremely off-putting.
Additionally, the Tories are actually desperate for Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party. Therefore, why would they manipulate polls to damage the candidate they so keenly support? The logic just doesn’t add-up.
2. Those who don’t support Corbyn are called ‘Blairites’ and ‘Red Tories’
Corbyn and his supporters are clearly at odds regarding their policies towards personal abuse. Corbyn has adopted a very admirable stance by refusing to attack his fellow leadership candidates, yet his clamouring social media devotees have hurled insults liberally.
In the eyes of some Corbynites, failing to conform to a hard-left agenda renders you a traitor. I don’t consider myself to be overly left-wing, but that doesn’t make me a Conservative. Moderates and radicals should both have a place in the Labour Party.
3. Corbyn’s manifesto, and its lack of economic substance
Corbyn’s manifesto touches briefly on ‘getting the deficit down fairly’, which is commendable, but doesn’t delve into tangible specifics. How can we trust an individual to set-out a credible alternative to the Conservatives when his ideas are so vague? Increasing taxes for the richest is of course a central tenet of the left, but this notion shouldn’t form the sole basis of a party’s economic policy. Corbyn’s plans are so nebulous and unimaginative that I find it hard-pressed to call him a ‘radical’.
4. Corbyn is a relic, not a breath of fresh air
Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to politics is indeed relatively novel. Corbyn fights for his beliefs and talks candidly whenever possible – qualities that distinguish him from most modern day politicians.
However, his proposed solutions to Britain’s problems are not new. His methods have been tried time and time again, often without success. Yvette Cooper had it right when she said that Corbyn was proposing the same old solutions to the same old problems.
5. Corbyn is a divisive figure
The above video shows Corbyn taking on Margaret Thatcher. That clip made me respect him as proud campaigner for social justice. On top of that, Corbyn’s mature, level-headed style of debating makes gives him an attractive public persona. However, even the mention of his Corbyn's name stirs extreme emotions within the Labour Party. Indeed, several members of the Shadow Cabinet, including Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, have refused to work under Corbyn should he become leader. There are rumours that MPs plan to oust Corbyn within days of his election. By pursuing its present cause, the Labour Party risks rupture and electoral catastrophe. We need to be unified in order to win, or merely even to act as an effective opposition to the Tories.
I’d like to point out that, having seen Jeremy speak first hand, I do think he’s a genuine, passionate individual. I’m glad that he’s electrified this leadership race.
However, I do not want Labour to relive past elections in 2020. We should seek to provide the country with a clear, credible alternative to the Conservatives. We cannot win on hazy principles alone. That is something I hope Jeremy Corbyn, and indeed his followers, will come to realise in the weeks to come.