Forest of Dean & Wye Valley


In Dinosaur on December 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm


Jeremy Corbyn: first impressions
The result of the long drawn-out Labour leadership elections was finally announced around mid day on Saturday September 12th. My first sighting of the news was from an email from the Labour Party general secretary, Ian McNicol, This was closely followed by the news announced on Radio 4.
Yes, I was delighted by the result – including the size of Jeremy’s majority (he polled some 59 per cent). In so many ways his victory represented a new, and encouraging, mood that’s building up in the country – and has struck the Labour leadership like a tsunami.
It’s a mood reflected in the reaction to Cameron’s mealy-mouthed response to the refugee crisis (another tsunami for those involved in the pitiful trek of abused humanity seeking sanctuary from a world that had turned vicious and violent).  It’s a growing antidote to the uncaring society that the Tories have been creating.  And it’s a rejection of the Westminster bubble in which much of the Labour leadership resides. These residents  seem unable to see beyond the boundaries of their cosy little world.
Jeremy Corbyn has become a symbol of the rejection of the ingrained world of Westminster whose inmates have reacted with sound and fury to his election as leader of the Labour Party. After all, the Labour leadership had changed the rules to try to ensure that this didn’t happen. Corbyn was seen as the rank outsider, simply there to show how tolerant the Labour’s parliamentary leadership could be. He was expected to trail in, bottom of the poll – and business as usual could then be resumed.
There was a failure to understand that there was a groundswell that saw the political world in a different way. There was a growing number of people who wanted it to make a difference – and they rallied around Corbyn.  We saw them at his rallies, and recognised and welcomed the mood.
If politics is to have any impact (let alone relevance) it has to have vision. After years of bleak Tory rule, and anodyne opposition there’s been a growing need in people for something better. Something more meaningful. Those with eyes to see saw it in the dramatic rise in the Green Party’s vote in the last election – and, perhaps the near wipe-out of the traditional Westminster parties in Scotland.
The writing was already on the wall, for those who could recognise it (though I must confess that I’ve only done so in retrospect).
What will happen next I can’t foresee. But if it’s really to go forward, the Labour Party has to recognise this sea change. It has to understand that there’s no going back. “Blairism” and its phoney invention, “New Labour” is now dead in the water and its dwindling band of adherents have become irrelevant to the Party today. But, to date, there’s no sign that they’re prepared to accept the fact. Already there’s talk of plots to unseat Labour’s leader – thus flying in the face of the party membership. Which of course gives rise to the question, whose party is it?
Things won’t be easy for Corbyn. There’s a lot of rancour still, with members of the former Labour leadership declaring that they will no longer contemplate serving in any Shadow Cabinet. That’s up to them – provided of course that this bitterness doesn’t turn into downright opposition, or even sabotage.
As for Jeremy Corbyn himself, we hope we can look forward to a refreshing new approach. Of course he’s not without his flaws but he does have a sense of purpose lacking in too many politicians.
As leader of a major political party whose Parliamentary representatives are by no means united behind him, he will no doubt have to make some compromises (though not, I hope, on such matters as Trident!). His role for the next few years is to built a united and, above all, an effective opposition.
  1. Dear All.I voted for JC . Our Clp has doubled its membership MAIDSTONE AND THE WEALD CLP. The late Lesley Turner would be very proud that everything he worked for has come true. But the work starts to get Labour back into Power. Happy Christmas to all. Richard Coates

    Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:24:22 +0000 To:

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