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Jeremy Corbyn: The next Labour leader?

There has been a lot of mudslinging against Jeremy Corbyn’s gaining more and more popularity in his campaign for Labour leadership orchestrated by the hierarchy of Labour party as well as the Tories and the press.

jeremy-corbyn-labour-leadership-electionNonetheless, every turn of the tide bailed him out against all odds and people like Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation boss, who equally backed Tony Blair and David Cameron win general elections, had to acknowledge in his Twitter fed on 20/08/15: “Corbyn increasingly likely Labor winner. Seems only candidate who believes anything, right or wrong.”

Addressing a packed hall of over 1,000 people in Newcastle on 19/08/15 Corbyn condemned austerity and shared his views on Murdoch: “When the party says it has to be seen economically competent to be attractive that can mean lots of things. You can make yourself very attractive to Rupert Murdoch. You can make yourself very attractive to global corporations. You can make yourself very attractive to the super rich around the world. But the problem is you make yourself attractive at the expense of something else – often called soul – but also the very poorest within our society”.

imagesOn 21/08/15 Corbyn said in a statement to the Guardian: “I’d apologise to the British people for the ‘deception’ in the run-up to the 2003 invasion and to the Iraqi people for their subsequent suffering”. He also vowed that future UK military inventions would be rarer: “Let us say we will never again unnecessarily put out troops under fire and our country’s standing in the world at risk. Let us make it clear that Labour will never make the same mistake again, will never flout the United Nations and international law.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s planned apology is intended to win back those who left the party or stayed but felt estranged as a result of the decision to go to war. He said, ”Labour, to win in 2020, needed to rebuild its coalition with those who opposed the conflict”. This apology would also be an attempt to pre-empt the findings of Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war: “The endless delay on the Chilcot inquiry is wrong. But we don’t have to wait for Chilcot to know that the mistakes were made and we need to make amends”.

If Corbyn wins the September 12 Leadership election, little doubt now left, there is going to be a great shift in Labour’s foreign and security policies. He has expressed scepticism about the role of NATO, in particular its eastwards expansion and the standoff with Russia. Moreover, there would be little likelihood to support the proposed renewal of Trident, the nuclear weapons programme.

So far as the statistics are concerned, there has been a continuous upsurge in Labour party membership since May which now stands at 600,000. When Tony Blair became Leader, he vowed to raise the membership to one million but never went beyond 400,000. According to the latest polls, Corbyn scores 53% on first preferences that means 32% ahead of his closest rival. Similarly he wins 32% public support who says that it would be more likely that they support Labour under Corbyn. Even on this count he has an edge of 7% over his rivals.

Now, let’s look at the issue from another aspect. There are three important characteristics of Jeremy Corbyn none of which are found in any one of his rivals. Firstly, he is one of the best three political communicators of the UK, the other two being Alex Salmond of SNP and Nigel Farage of UKip. Secondly, his rivals in the leadership contest are very week and quite bore. Thirdly, there is a message in the claims made by Corbyn about a collective society and cooperation to be delivered that would certainly resonate across the UK in the next parliament.

There would certainly be some problems as well. These may be within the domain of foreign policy and defence. Yet it can be expected that the attitudes would be far less self-defeating. Similarly mass immigration, inequality and climate change which are linked together intricately could be the other challenges. But if the Islington North MP, after becoming Labour party leader, did anything really good on these counts, he would then prove himself the best party leader in the UK.

The last and final is the letter made public by 41 economists who have defended Corbyn’s economic policies. This is the letter in which David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is one of the 41 signatories, the economists write: “The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies. His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity.”

By Nazir Tabassum

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