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We Corbynites Need to Learn From Corbyn's Critics

16/12/2015 09:39 GMT | Updated 15/12/2016 10:12 GMT

Unlike some Corbynites, I've realised Corbyn is actually human. He is part of a wonderful species of mammal that are particularly prone to making mistakes. In recent weeks, it has occurred to me that some of my fellow Corbynites believe Jezza transcends the human propensity for idiotic ideas and foolish blunders. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Corbyn isn't infallible. And some of my fellow Corbynites need to accept Jezza's fallibility and realise he is not beyond criticism.

The Corbynites' rejection of criticism is understandable. We have become slightly paranoid due to sustained, unfair attacks from almost everyone. Since Corbyn's emergence to power, the right-wing press, sections of the left-wing press, non-Labour MPs and folks within the Labour Party have joined forces to beat Corbyn black and blue. The Corbynites now distrust anyone even vaguely associated with the Legion of anti-Corbynites. And with each new attack, the Corbynites grow more defensive. In the midst of this constant and often justified defensiveness, the demarcation between hateful smear and decent criticism becomes convoluted. We start to assume everyone is against us. In the dirt of perpetual smear, therefore, the Corbynites have started to reject diamonds of decent criticism.

When I say decent criticism, I'm not talking about The Suncondemning Corbyn's lack of patriotism for not bowing - although he clearly bowed. I'm not alluding to The Daily Mail'sattack on Corbyn for not singing a particular song. Nor am I talking about folks condemning Corbyn's dress sense, the cut of his jib, or his inviolable beard. I'm referring instead to those considered opinion pieces and editorials that highlight flaws in Labour's current position. I'm talking about individuals raising important points that challenge the feasibility or proficiency of Labour's proposals.

By ignoring decent criticism, we Corbynites do ourselves a disservice in two respects. Firstly, it makes us seem like a deluded cult. We appear somehow unable to accept the flaws of our ostensibly omnipotent leader. Unfortunately, Corbyn is not the Messiah. He is not the sole individual who speaks truth in an era of dystopian falsity. He is not a guiding light to retribution. He is human, all too human. And Corbyn, like other humans, is prone to mistakes.

This brings me to the second point. If we can accept Corbyn's mistakes and acknowledge decent criticism, we can forge a better opposition. Condemning or ignoring criticism does not make Labour stronger - it makes us weaker. It is true that those folks constantly offering hateful smears want Labour to fail. It is also true, however, that some individuals criticising Corbyn want Labour to succeed. These people rightly believe that identifying problems in the Labour leadership will improve that leadership.

If we act on such criticisms, we inexorably strengthen Labour's overall programme and improve our chances of winning. This doesn't mean throwing away our principles or accepting Blairite ideals, but rather using debate to ensure we have the best possible platform to one-day actualise our current leadership's principles.

To promote the cause of Corbyn and the wider-chances of the Labour Party, we Corbynites need to differentiate between hateful smears and decent criticism. We need to come to terms with the fact that Corbyn is all too human and reduce our hostility towards those offering progressive criticisms. Ultimately, until we Corbynites start acknowledging, accepting and learning from Corbyn's critics, we stand little chance of putting our principles into action.