From the moment Jeremy Corbyn pulled ahead in the polls last summer, he has, to date, survived the unrelenting attacks from the mainstream media for some of the views he has held. Many are surprised he has lasted this long, given the amount of negativity shrouding him. However, what is often overlooked are some of the undoubtable successes he has had during his brief tenure, most notably increasing the number of Labour Party members. Corbyn has also increased the standard of politics by refusing to engage in political point scoring, helping political debates to reach a greater level of maturity and respect.
British politics is suffering. With low turnouts in elections and a growing distrust in politicians and journalists, people are becoming increasingly frustrated with MPs. With lower voting engagement, MPs can never truly be representative of their constituency as they are not representing the view of an average 30-40% of the electorates in their area. Yet, Corbyn has encouraged grassroots campaigning and voter turnout, as well as managing to resurrect these dying necessities making him (and people like him) necessary for the survival of British politics.
Jeremy Corbyn is not perfect. He has made some grave mistakes with regards to handling the divide in the Labour Party, and his leadership is questionable at times. Reports from high ranking members like Angela Eagle, all portray a leader who is disorganised and lacking in authority, whilst others have questioned whether Corbyn actually wants to be the Labour Leader, let alone the Prime Minister. Corbyn could have campaigned more during the EU referendum, but he cannot be blamed for the result. Despite these flaws, he is still the person we need to help rescue politics.
However, since the moment Jeremy announced his leadership bid, he has captured the hearts of core young supporters due to his 'anti-establishment' (but not anarchist) views. He is not a career politician, and has a strong will to stand up for what he feels is right. This is particularly evident in the recent release of the Chilcot Inquiry, where he has remained unwaveringly against the Iraq War right from the outset, unlike many other Labour and Conservative MPs, who have changed their views to suit public opinion.
Since the introduction of opening his Prime Minister's Questions to include questions from the public, Corbyn has shown that he genuinely cares about the state of Britain. Nevertheless, the constant undercutting and internal fighting is reducing the credibility of the party, thus impacting on the polling figures. Corbyn is needed because he represents a new brand of politics – one based on honesty and integrity, something the public feel is lacking, and consequently deters them from voting.
Despite the all the infighting and negativity, membership has still increased. Since the EU referendum the Labour Party has seen 100,000 new members. Additionally, Labour members voted in favour of remaining in the EU to a far greater extent than their Conservative counterparts. This perhaps reveals that Labour were far more convincing with regards to explaining to voters the reasons for Remain. Corbyn did a good job by focusing on the positives of the EU, for example the workers’ rights protection and the environmental advantages of being in the European Union.
Thus, the criticisms leveled at Corbyn are harsh and somewhat unwarranted. Not only is he encouraging political engagement, but he is also appealing to the core vote, meaning the views of a greater variety of social classes are expressed.
Going forward, the Labour Party must unite behind Corbyn. The vote of no confidence shows how out of touch some of the MPs are. Corbyn has pledged to give a 50/50 split between Men and Women in his cabinet. He has allowed the British public to trust him. He has the lowest expenses claims than any other minister. He is an asset to British politics.
We cannot let genuine politicians go to waste because at the moment they come few and far between. The energy with which young people support him is unparalleled to any other MP in British politics and by ignoring this, we risk alienating an already generally disenfranchised group. Yes, some of the advice he has been given by special advisors has been questionable at best, for example his reluctance to state that he was wrong to use the phrase 'friends' when talking about Hamas and Hezbollah, and this must improve in the future. However, the Labour Party needs to now unite behind him, and exploit what is now a divided Tory Party.
The sooner they unite behind Corbyn and sort out their direction, the sooner they will start to see greater public support and success in the polls. Until then, Labour could let Jeremy Corbyn and all that he stands for go to waste, or use him to reclaim Number 10 and save British politics.
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