What is the Labour Party so afraid of?

As the Labour leadership election lurches towards its final conclusion, one thing is for certain, Jeremy Corbyn has dominated proceedings in a way not one political commentator could have possibly predicted.


Corbynmania has swept the country. Venues from Camden to Glasgow have been packed out, spilling onto the streets, as people strain to get a glimpse of British politics’ new rock star. For all the talk of political apathy overshadowing David Cameron’s election victory this year, Corbyn has done what no other politician has achieved in years. He has inspired the masses. He has enthused young people, for so long bored of platitudinous politicians, PR-machines, built upon nothing but meaningless slogans. 

Corbyn exudes none of the PR savvy of the disingenuous, younger David Cameron. Instead of obsessing over positive stories in the paper- a superficiality that has marked Cameron’s tenure thus far- Corbyn prefers to focus on the meat and drink of policy. He offers a coherent alternative to the austerity-lite of Labour’s other contenders. Critics of ‘Corbynomics’- namely our predominantly right-wing press- conveniently forget the inherent flaws of austerity and its manifest failings. Names such as Paul Krugman should act as an affirmation of the credibility of Corbyn’s stance.


What Corbyn is offering is not a Trotskyist revolution, far from it. For a start, he believes that work should pay, which it definitively does not. In today’s Britain, one would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise. Such a situation forces the government to spend billions of pounds topping up derisory pay. With a true living wage, these resources could be better spent on investing in our Tory-destructed public services. Government revenue would increase as tax receipts grow and the benefits bill falls. This is sound economics. But apparently, these are the warning signs of a communist coup! Any communists, this way: http://corbynforbusiness.com


On education, Corbyn wants to reduce the burden on students by scrapping tuition fees and by reintroducing the Education Maintenance Grants. His sincerity is clear to see- he voted against increasing university fees in 2004. Let’s attack him for helping students to get on in life, unencumbered by massive debts.


On democratization, he wants to create a Senate-like House of Lords, fully elected and fully accountable. He has consistently campaigned for greater transparency within parliament too. Within the Labour apparatus, he is going to let members have a real say on party policy. If this makes Jeremy Corbyn a communist, then I’m a fully paid-up member of this mystical club.


According to the baying jackals, foreign policy is where Jeremy Corbyn is at his most dangerous. The man’s an apologist for terrorism. He called Hezbollah and Hamas ‘friends’ (ignoring the context of the remark). Here are the facts. Hezbollah currently holds 12 seats in Lebanon’s parliament. Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Gaza Strip. Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘mandate’ on the other hand, is pathetically small. Before the inevitable barrage of abuse, let’s qualify my stance. By no means does this article agree with some of the methods applied by either party (Hamas or Hezbollah). Yet, where’s the outrage at some of the actions of Israel? The atrocities it has committed since independence needs no repeating. What Corbyn is promoting is negotiation to end the tragic state of affairs in the Middle East. He seeks to abide by the dictum ‘you don’t negotiate with your friends, you negotiate with your enemies.’  This is a highly sensible approach to what is the minefield of the Middle East. BUT, when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn, all bets are off, and hysteria rages.


So, what is the Labour Party so afraid of? Corbyn is alone responsible for thousands of new Labour Party members. He has put politics on the front pages for purely positive reasons. He has enthused thousands of young people, many of whom didn’t even vote in May. He offers an intelligible alternative to austerity. His driving purpose is to ‘stand up against injustice wherever we find it.’


Yet, much of the upper echelons of the Labour Party is of the mistaken belief that Labour needs to return to the centre, or even the centre-right. They are wrong. Poll after poll indicates support for Corbyn’s ‘hard-left’ policies. People want to cut tuition tees. People want to see the railways re-nationalized. Miliband lost because his face just doesn’t fit. Corbyn’s- so it seems- does.


Jeremy Corbyn is not the subversive presence within the Labour Party. He is the remedy to its current ills, and the hope for a better future.