It is hard to not feel a degree of empathy for Jeremy Corbyn. Humiliated by his own MPs and made to look further ridiculous and amateur by successive Tory leaders, he has clung on impressively, defying the odds which more or less sums up his recent political career.
Since his victory last September, it has been incessant chaos management for the Islington North MP. From the tumult regarding the national anthem in his very first few days as Labour leader to the humiliating Commons vote on Syria, the party has stormed from one degree of bedlam and anarchy to another.
Now we find ourselves once more at a Labour leadership election. With Angela Eagle withdrawing from the race, it is down to Owen Smith to finally down Corbyn.
I deplore virtually all that Corbyn stands for and does. Whether it’s the stark and grotesque reality that the only military campaign he has ever supported was the IRA’s operations of terrorist massacres. Or his vile associations with the Western-hating Stop The War Coalition; an organisation which fuses the contradictory cocktail of far-left socialism and Radical Islam. Or indeed his underwhelming attempts to stamp out anti-Semitism within the Labour Party; instead merely expressing vacuous, tautological platitudes about racism in addition to offensively and incorrectly equating Israel with Islamic State.
Despite that rather appalling menu, I hope he remains as the leader of the Labour Party. I am not affiliated with any political party and so I don’t desire this so that the Tories will concretise their hold on power in this country per se.
Yes, he is clearly an inept leader who does not possess the required attributes to command a political party, let alone provide rigorous opposition to a Conservative Party which is breathlessly swallowing up the support from fluctuating centrists.
Nevertheless, the notion that Corbyn has the support of the people – the support of thousands of Labour Party members – should not be viewed as frivolous or trivial. Politics for too long has belonged to the privileged few within the ‘Westminster bubble’. The vote to leave the European Union was a sharp retort to the ruling elite, the muffled yell of the long-forgotten masses. The rebelling Labour MP’s must digest that although Corbyn must lead the parliamentary party, he has a large mandate from the electorate which cannot be discarded as they so ludicrously desire.
Agree or disagree with him as I, along with many others do, Corbyn is attempting to put the issues above all else at the forefront of politics. He is not one for theatrics. Theresa May’s first performance at PMQ’s was rightly hailed by the press as a confident display of strength. Yet, what was focused on was the irrelevant put-downs, the Labour bashing and the one-liners. Unnoticed, was poor old Corbyn stubbornly refusing to be drawn into the boxing arena and away from the political content.
Corbyn is widely expected to emerge victorious once again and perhaps what is so appealing about him to the Labour Party members is the the contrast between his authentic methods of political discussion and the disingenuous vibes from his opponents. Owen Smith is desperately trying to promote himself as being of a similar ideological kin to Corbyn just with added leadership capabilities, something which demonstrably is not so. He voted for the Iraq War, abstained from voting on the Tories controversial welfare bill last summer and used ambiguous language which has prompted some to accuse him of advocating for some level of privatisation within the NHS. Put simply, he is a Blairite of one kind or another.
I believe Corbyn’s primary goal was to irrevocably change the dynamics of the Labour Party above all else, predominant even to victory in a general election. In managing to push the party to the left, he has succeeded beyond his wildest imagination. Although only shared by a small fraction of Labour MP’s, his socialist beliefs haven’t been his downfall.
What has been achieved is the erosion of Blairite influence within the party somewhat, especially amongst party members. Most of the resigned front bench were firmly embedded on the left of the party if still short of Corbyn’s position on the edge of the political spectrum.
Corbyn is a leader less attuned or indeed interested in the requirements of a modern-day politician. Not a demagogue or ejector of sound bites, beyond the leadership incompetence and the unpolished oratory is a political voice which is still blissfully refreshing and to whom the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members still have their heads looking in the direction of.