Labour Moderates Should Put The Country Before Their Party

26/09/2016 16:49
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Following the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn's second Labour leadership victory over the weekend, moderates in the party have now been left at a crossroads - do they stay or do they go?

With Labour embroiled in a civil war that has turned ideological disagreements in to chasms of discontent, the temptation must be there for 'moderates' in the Labour Party to jump ship.

At a time when an increasingly right-wing Conservative government has gambled on the country's future by holding, and losing a referendum it didn't even want, the Labour Party's polling numbers are pitiful and a travesty for our democracy, with the party on just 26% in the polls.

Despite my personal dissimilarity to the Labour Party and its politics, a country needs a strong opposition to encourage competent governance. Plainly, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour has not delivered that. Since the Conservatives swooped to a Commons majority last May, the Labour Party has spent its time looking inwards, talking to and bickering with itself. It stood by on welfare reforms, it stood by on the Snooper's Charter, and it stood by on the EU membership referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn's wing of the party is fundamentally different to the dominant Blairite factions that preceded it. They are divided on wealth creation, on defence, on civil liberties, on the European Union, on Syria, essentially on all of the crucial issues facing the country today - yet they persist as two parties trying to be one.

MPs have reportedly had to employ protection to attend this week's Labour conference in Liverpool, there have been numerous accounts attesting to a rise in anti-semitism within the party's grassroots, and there have been persistent threats of deselection and even violence against those politicians who don't subscribe to Corbyn's dogma, yet they endure.

My local MP Liz Kendall, a politician whom I respect very much, was on BBC's Question Time last Thursday and when questioned about the likelihood of her defecting, she responded by saying she wouldn't because she would not compromise on her beliefs. But, the problem is for Labour's moderates, one they seemingly cannot accept, is that despite twelve months and two attempts at removing Jeremy Corbyn's ideology from supremacy, they have failed, the Labour Party is not offering the values of Liz Kendall and co. anymore.

How can the Labour Party continue to operate as two bitterly divided wings, unable to agree on anything significant currently going on in British politics and profess to be an alternative government in waiting? Make no mistake, the squabbling will not stop and we will be left with an opposition more absorbed by a turf war for a name than standing up for the country. The Labour Party need to move away from this belief that, they as an institution, are 'needed'. Opposition is needed, not necessarily Labour.

Any moderates now remaining in the Labour Party are enablers. It is high time now for those who cannot subscribe to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership to leave and make a meaningful stand against the Tory government, based on their principles and not loyalty to a banner that no longer represents them.

Labour dissenters need to quit the party and form an effective, cohesive opposition and abandon this mania for a political brand and the narcissistic purity that comes with it.

Otherwise, the rest of the country will pay the price as Labour continue to hold more long drawn out, self-indulgent conversations with themselves during a time of great national turbulence.

I know that the second the Liberal Democrats are overtaken by illiberal invaders that don't compliment my liberalism I am gone, off to find a new party that will.

They say people like me; LGBT+ people, BAME people, young people, the working classes, whoever is not the privileged elite need Labour - but we don't. They have not stood for any of these groups for a very long time. Whilst Labour are too busy thinking about themselves to worry about the rest of the world, everyone else is getting shafted by a hapless Tory government.

The Scottish Nationalists are only concerned with Scotland and despite our best efforts, the Lib Dems are too small to provide the opposition the country needs.

Simply put, following this second defeat, any 'moderates' continuing in Labour are knowingly and consensually empowering a feckless opposition, and subsequently a ruthless Tory government. They are indirectly giving credence to a man who entertains terrorist sympathisers and takes money from a gay-slaughtering regime. Loyalty to any name isn't worth this. It is time for moderates in the Labour Party to put their country before their image, and get on with the job they're paid to do - opposing this government.