Jeremy Corbyn has won an astounding victory in his bid for leadership of the Labour Party. He is undoubtedly a charismatic figure who has reignited the imagination of thousands of people, he has made politics interesting again and previously apathetic people have become energetically engaged. He has brought a message of hope, fairness, equality, justice, peace and unity. So why am I deeply disturbed, why can’t I “give him a chance” as some have pleaded with me?
There are two fundamental reasons.
First I believe he represents the failed leftist politics of thirty years ago that led Labout into political oblivion for nearly 20 years, thereby failing the poor and underprivileged of our society. I do not believe he or the Labour Party with him as leader is electable and, as a Frank Field has said, he’ll lead Labour into a cul de sac – why then Frank did you nominate him?
You would have no heart if you were not captivated by his vision, but you need a heart transplant, in Blair’s words, if you think it is realistic or coherent. We need prophets to challenge us and to call us to new heights, and that Corbyn is and does, but prophets rarely make good leaders. He is strong on rhetoric but weak on realities. Much has been made of his integrity, with implied criticism of all other politicians which is unjust. I believe he is a man of principles but he is flawed just like the rest of us. One of his flaws is his struggle with loyalty and faithfulness – as someone who voted against his own party over 500 times it is difficult to see how he will be able to command the loyalty and support of others.
But I may be wrong on all of this, perhaps I will be confounded and he will turn out to be an amazing leader who captures the imagination of the public and wins an astonishing victory in 2020 – I will have been proved wrong, but then there would be worse to come!
My second reason for being despondent is that if he were actually able to implement his policies he would ruin this country.
- Printing money has always proved to be a disaster and has led to high inflation and the downfall of previous Labour governments.
- Free university tuition and grants were unaffordable when I received them in the 70s, they still are.
- Reopening the coal mines doesn’t make sense, it cannot be afforded economically or environmentally.
- Leaving NATO and abandoning Trident puts our national security at risk.
- Ambivalence towards the EU could lead to a disastrous departure from the EU even before he gets as far as winning an election.
- Sharing sovereignty of the Falklands with Argentina would be a betrayal of the Falklanders. He would have us work to reunite Ireland and he is a self-described friend of terrorists whilst seekIng to undermine the Israeli state.
- Unions play an important part in the life of our society but it is dangerous and undermining when they have undue influence on the government which they would have with Corbyn as PM.
A Labour Party espousing Corbyn’s policy would no longer be the Labour Party I joined and the consequence would, in my opinion, be highly detrimental to our country not least the poor whom he claims to champion.
So whichever way it goes I am deeply disturbed and see no cause to celebrate.