THE BLOG

The Reshuffle of Labour's Priorities

07/01/2016 11:02 GMT | Updated 07/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Did anyone else watch the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle with incredulity over the past 2 days? I surely did, as it seemed to contradict the core values of Corbyn's leadership and the promises he made for a 'straight talking, more honest politics' and the principles of open debate.

The speculation running up to the reshuffle indicated that Benn would be out on his ears, with voices such as Owen Jones declaring that 'a leader and a shadow foreign secretary divided over war and peace [is not] sustainable'. The ironic fact that Benn has retained his position and denied that he has been 'muzzled' in any manner really does show that Corbyn is not in control of his cabinet, or the direction of the Labour Party.

He shuffled Maria Eagle, the pro-Trident former Shadow Defence Secretary to telly, sacked Michael Dugher for his comments, and sacked Pat McFadden for his comments on terrorism. Fair enough, one might argue: he's removed those who voice opinions that differ from his, and personalities that clash with his cause so much. However, by keeping Benn he has contradicted this completely, as he has retained the voice that defies and opposes his views so much, on the key faction of Foreign Affairs. As opposed to showing strong leadership, decisiveness, in an almost dictatorial fashion, Corbyn has shown that he lacks cause, and lacks the straightforwardness so he so professes to admire within politics.

He clearly knows that if Benn was removed, the majority of the Shadow Cabinet would have gone with him, and I don't believe even Corbyn and McDonnell would profess to be able to run the country on their own (even though they appear to have a monopoly over fairness, morality and general common sense, if you go by what the Guardian prints in their Comment section).

One can only assume that Corbyn has appointed, after 2 days of faffing about, grabbing lunch and shouting at lobby journalists outside of his room, based on the grounds of loyalty instead of suitability. Are loyalty and suitability now mutually exclusive within Westminster? Can one not carry out their position perfectly, but if they criticise the leader's actions or take a faction that isn't Ultra Left? (one considers John McDonnell's comments on Channel 4, branding the resigned 'members of a hard-right faction' - which begs what he thinks of the rest of us)

The whole thing just reeked of a shambles. Two days to make a decision over who was going where, shuffling members into seemingly unsuitable positions and removing those members that have been dedicated members of the Party for years, and highly respected Shadow Cabinet Members. Not even Corbyn, who has failed to answer a question properly about what he actually intends to do or b since ascending to the Leader of the Opposition, can avoid the speculation over this absurd series of events.

To add to the fire, the Conservative Party quietly set new legislation about what can be classed as 'affordable' housing, and North Korea allegedly furthered their nuclear arms. Whilst the Labour leadership debates over who it is best friends with this week, serious events that may affect British citizens and the world as a whole have occurred: I think it may be time to start concentrating on those, as opposed to giving Corbyn's mismanagement of his own Party any more fuel, until he actually positions himself as a credible Leader of the Opposition, and re-establishes the Party as a serious option for voters who are not members of Momentum.