Ever since the referendum result, the Labour Party has descended into in-fighting and back stabbing.
We should be working for a united opposition against the most right-wing Tory Government seen for decades, still licking their wounds from the bitter EU split. This is a pivotal moment for our country and for the Labour party, and for those who have a vote in the leadership election, we must decide who to support for and why.
The head and the heart come into play when making this decision. I voted for Jeremy Corbyn the first time around. I was enthused by his new, kinder form of politics. When a coup was launched against him I was outraged. The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) decided to unseat him before he’d even been in the job for a year. The year has not been easy, with several by-elections, local and mayoral elections, and of course the EU referendum. One of the busiest years politically for several decades for a Labour backbencher thrust into the limelight to deal with.
Yet, Corbyn has managed to re-ignite the Labour party’s socialist roots, giving a completely different vision to the Conservative Government, unlike ‘austerity light’ we saw under previous leaders. He has helped engage young people in politics, and grow the party membership to the largest it’s ever been. You cannot deny in terms of sparking a political revolution he has succeeded.
Under his leadership the Tories have also been forced to U-turn on numerous key policy pieces like the forced academisation of schools, and cuts to PIP and tax credits. Mine and many people’s hearts tell us to vote for Jeremy, because of the wave of support and enthusiasm he has received from party members and the positive change he has brought to our party.
The dilemma is that we want a Labour Government.
Realistically, with so many MPs refusing to support him, it would be incredibly difficult to get a Labour government. MPs should listen to constituency members and their wishes, however, with laws and real change being conducted mostly in Westminster, the PLP is also of mighty importance. The calls from Corbyn supporters for de-selection need to stop.
We are a broad-church who need to take account of all views. We need to get our focus on becoming a Government in waiting, and also to have a Prime Minister in waiting. In our current state we give off neither of these impressions.
Thus, many people’s heads say vote for Owen Smith. He has wide support from the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and a fair share of support from constituency members too. He has many of the same ideas as Corbyn, but, unlike him, Smith’s plans are fully costed.
In no way do I think Owen Smith is the solution to all of Labour’s problems, but at the moment I don’t think Corbyn is either.
Since admitting I was unsure who to vote for, I have been accused of being a ‘Blairite, and that I’m tossing my principles in the bin.
Principles are no good unless you are in power to implement them.
It is unfortunate the way this whole challenge against Corbyn has unfolded, and the mess is the fault of those locked in the Westminster bubble. All I hope is that whoever becomes leader the party can unite behind them and we can start forging a path back into Government, because there are people suffering in this country due to years of Tory Government, who need Labour more than ever, and whether you’re an MP for Labour, a regular member or activist for Progress or Momentum, that is what should be the focus.
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