Written by Jen Offord

In The News

Still a Corbynista

Despite his lacklustre role in the EU referendum – not to mention several other flaws – the current Labour leader still gets Jen Offord’s vote.

Jeremy CorbynThree weeks is a long time in politics, not least when you’re dealing with the fallout of a vote that apparently only the likes of Nigel Farage and David Icke are happy about.

In the face of the shitstorm created by last month’s referendum, the only person to seemingly come out of the whole sorry story worse off than Boris Johnson (or is that David Cameron? Or Michael Gove? Or Andrea Leadsom?) is the leader of an opposition party at odds with the result.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was roundly criticised by ‘remainers’ after the surprise Brexit result, many in the party blaming his lacklustre campaigning style for the outcome.

As the Brexit train rumbles on, Labour seem to have done precisely nothing but make largely unsuccessful attempts to overthrow their leader, while an unelected Prime Minister has taken the reins of the country and installed arguably the most right-wing government since Thatcher. And honestly, suddenly, David Cameron looks kind of benign (apart from, you know, gambling our economic future on another term for his party), doesn’t he?

And it doesn’t look good for six-time winner of the Parliamentary Beard of the Year Award Jezza, who polled unfavourably compared with Owen Smith, who will now stand against Corbyn in a leadership contest triggered by the party’s vote of no confidence against him.

From my own perspective – as a party member who voted for Corbyn in the first place – there’s a lot that’s been wrong with the party’s treatment of Corbyn, who, I agree, led a shite campaign to remain in the EU. Though let’s be honest, the whole pro-EU movement was fundamentally undermined by the arrogance of a collective who never genuinely anticipated the electorate’s strength of feeling on the issue. That Cameron failed to make any kind of contingency plan for this eventuality must surely be proof of this.

“To say Corbyn cannot connect with the working classes seems unfair when he’s had less than a year to undo damage and alienation inflicted over a period of at least 20 years.”

And it’s this disconnect between Whitehall and the general public that makes me feel inclined to continue to support Corbyn, and not just because nothing has changed in his own political stance since he won the party leadership by a landslide last September.

If Brexit has shown us anything, it’s that the public have spoken against the political status quo – one that sees an ever-increasing gulf between the haves and the have-nots, and to my mind, Corbyn is one of very few politicians looking to address the social policies behind this growing dissatisfaction. To say he cannot connect with the working classes seems unfair when he’s had less than a year to undo damage and alienation inflicted over a period of at least 20 years.

Let’s also not forget that while it’s almost impossible to deny there have been problems with Corbyn’s style of leadership – his relationship with the media for one – the party’s reason to vote against him now is disingenuous. The parliamentary party never wanted Corbyn to lead in the first place and him becoming the scapegoat for its failures was always inevitable. Of course it would have happened after the local and mayoral elections had the results only been bad enough.

That said, I’m a realist, and at this stage in the game, members of the opposition really need to start opposing something other than each other, and it has become crystal clear this cannot happen while Corbyn remains at the helm, since many of his MPs have been unwilling to respect the decision of its party members since day one.

For my own part, I will continue to vote for Corbyn since he best represents my views. That and the fact that I hadn’t even heard of Owen Smith until last week. With party members arguing that he does not represent their feelings, perhaps it is time for me and many others who joined the party more recently to follow Corbyn to whatever pastures new he may find – a progressive alliance with the Greens and all four Liberal Democrats left in the country, perhaps – in the hope that the views he espouses which so many do connect with may continue to have a platform.

As for the future of the Labour Party, perhaps now the only tragedy bigger than their current implosion is that Whitehall would look like an extremely different place today if David Miliband had only won the leadership election in 2010, and that my eyes are sore from squinting into the distance hoping to spot him.

@inspireajen

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Written by Jen Offord

Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen