So, the titanic struggle is over, and Jeremy Corbyn has won, and the time has come for unity. And where does that leave me? Well, having thought long and hard about the issue I raised in the last post, whether or not to support Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to do so, for several reasons. Firstly, if I had no respect for those who deserted Labour after the Iraq war and risked leaving the poor to bear the burden, I can’t really do the same myself now. I could excuse myself by arguing that, rather than being because of “principles” which don’t really hurt me but hurt others, it’s in service of a greater cause, namely, getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn. But I have never been a great believer in “The end justifies the means” type arguments, and besides, there are other reasons.
Firstly, the somewhat cynical but nevertheless very valid point made by Owen Jones, that those who don’t support Corbyn have to stop providing excuses for his failure. If the PLP and that part of the membership which did not support Jeremy Corbyn stop undermining and critiquing him, then he has fewer places to hide if he does not deliver polling and electoral success. As Owen Jones aptly put it, if there is failure, then the leadership has to be made to own it.
The second reason is that if I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem. And unfortunately the problem is a lot wider and deeper than Corbyn versus Smith. I haven’t had a great deal of time for arguments that Jeremy Corbyn is a good leader and a skilled politician; even if the mainstream media and the PLP were not undermining him, he would still be doing poorly because he just hasn’t got the talent, the skills or the willingness to learn required of someone leading a major political party, or, indeed, a country. (Conclusions I’ve come to after watching what he does and how he behaves, and reading a lot of article and posts supportive of him over the last four months or so, rather than from swallowing the mainstream media judgement whole.) However, there have been some responses to my blogs and posts from friends who support him which have rung true and strike me as valid.