Sunday, 9 April 2017

Leaving Labour? My plans regarding party membership

For some weeks now, I have been on the verge of leaving the Labour party. I became a registered Labour supporter through Unison in 2015, before the general election and rejoined the party (I had previously been a member in the late 80s/early 90s) as a full member at the beginning of 2016. I got involved with the party again because I felt that they were the only party that had a chance of defeating the Conservatives – who, in my opinion, were guilty of unfair and unnecessary systematic and ideologically based underfunding of essential public services - and until fairly recently I still believed Labour were the only party that could stop the Tories in the next general election, whether it comes in 2020 or sooner. However, it is now pretty clear that Labour have no chance of winning the next general election under Jeremy Corbyn who, while very good at Labour leadership campaigns, seems to be quite inept at being leader of the opposition. Labour have consistently been a long way behind the Tories in the polls (the two most recent ones, here and here, put them 18 percentage points behind, with the one on 29th March putting Corbyn’s personal popularity 40 points behind that of Theresa May).
Rather than leave now, however, I have decided to remain in the party and to take part in the campaigning for the County Council elections which are due to take place on 4th May. If Labour defy expectations and do well in these elections then I shall take it as a sign that the tide is turning and that Labour still stand a chance of clawing their way back to a position of being able to mount a serious challenge to the Tories by the time the next general election comes around. If, however, as seems much more likely, Labour suffer serious losses then, unless Mr Corbyn resigns his position as leader, I shall resign from the party. Corbyn failing to stand aside after a disastrous performance in these elections will be, to my mind, a clear sign that he puts his loyalty to that large majority of Labour members and registered supporters who twice elected him as leader of the party, before his loyalty to that far larger number of people who rely on the Labour Party to be in a position to effectively oppose the Conservative government and to be able to take power themselves at the soonest available opportunity.
If Jeremy Corbyn does stand down in the wake of a drubbing on 4th May then I shall, for the time being, remain a member of the Labour Party. His most likely replacement, according to most commentators, will be either Clive Lewis or Keir Starmer. I would prefer Starmer, but even if Clive Lewis takes over I will stick around and see how things go under his leadership. It’s hard to imagine that the situation for the party can get much worse than it is now. Should Labour’s share of the vote tank in the elections next month and Mr Corbyn do the decent thing and resign then hopefully, whoever succeeds him, to quote a song once popular with a previous Labour leader, "things can only get better!"

1 comment:

Wanda Lozinska said...

The main reason why Labour, and Corbyn in particular, is doing badly in the polls is all the articles in the biased press against him. Even the BBC have been caught out editing an interview with him, placing one of his answers onto a totally different question about "shoot to kill" which then gave people totally the wrong idea of his stance on this, for which he was unfairly pilloried. Miliband faired little better and any subsequent Labour Leader will also be a target as certain influential people prefer a Tory government for their own self interests.

Corbyn is squeaky clean - they haven't found anything real to pin on him, so have gone for unfair character assassination in other ways. Unfortunately, some people are believing the lies, misinformation and misrepresentation. However, many people are well aware of what's really going on and are doing all they can to redress the balance and get the truth out there.

One example is the lie that Labour under Corbyn are not a viable opposition; however they have already forced the Tories into 30 U-turns! They have achieved this even though they have 100 fewer MPs. If that isn't opposition I don't know what is.

The next General Election is not due until 2020, so plenty of time to get the truth out there and, of course, in a GE campaign, Corbyn will have more opportunity to be heard. People like what he says as he talks good sense and about things they care about.

The local elections are a different kettle of fish and not all Labour run councils follow Corbyn's ideals, so he shouldn't be blamed if people were to turn on certain councilors.

Members shouldn't be leaving the party when their support is needed, more than ever.