The Corbyn Contradiction

27 Aug 2015



Labour’s ‘change’ candidate lacks original ideas


After the unexpected result of the general election, an overwhelming sense of despair has gripped the young political left. The party worst affected by the defeat was the Labour Party, whose supporters campaigned diligently in the run-up to 7th May in the hope of a victory for Ed Miliband. 


It is so easy, in a time so bereft of hope, to search for a saviour; someone who will fundamentally reform the direction of the left. Yet, by electing Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the Labour Party, profound political renewal will remain an unfulfilled aspiration. Corbyn’s agenda is well-worn; his policies are far from unique.



Example 1: Trident 



"Jeremy Corbyn MP is setting out how under his premiership, the policy of not replacing Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons will be used instead to boost growth and innovation for the British economy, protecting the skills of the workforce.” – Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign website.




"We will decommission the Trident nuclear deterrent system and promote peace-making." – The Green Party's 2015 General Election Manifesto.



Example 2: Affordable Housing 


"His housing manifesto proposes a radical rebooting of home construction permitting councils to be house builders and providers in order to meet the demand for affordable housing in their own areas." – Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign website.




"An affordable home for all to rent or own – by freeing councils to build new homes and introducing regulation of the private rented sector." – Andy Burnham's Labour leadership manifesto.



Example 3: The Iraq War 



"It is past time that Labour apologised to the British people for taking them into the Iraq War on the basis of deception, and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology." – Speech by Jeremy Corbyn.




"Iraq was an issue that divided our party and our country. Many sincerely believed that the world faced a real threat. I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest of decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there. But I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that." – Ed Miliband's first speech as Labour leader.



Thus, I find it difficult to agree that Jeremy Corbyn is a man capable of rejuvenating the British left. So, before you select Corbyn as your first preference, consider this: is he really a new, inspiring politician, or are you just searching for an ideal alternative that, in reality, doesn’t exist? I fear, for many of Corbyn's supporters, the answer is the latter.


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