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Corbyn: In No Man's Land?

06/03/2017 13:11
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The loss of Copeland, dire poll results and severe infighting has put the Labour Party in a miserable position, at a time when the Conservative Government is making a hash of Brexit and continue to prescribe inequality for Britain.

A significant part of the blame must of course, be attributed to the right wing of Labour for, at a time when the nation needed a strong leftist alternative that would refuse to turn the country into a 'Bargain Basement' betrayed a Leader who had done little wrong. Instead, a leadership challenge painted a disunited party, sending Labour tumbling in the polls.

However, a mistake a number of the Left have made is to idealise Corbyn's leadership thus far. He's fallen into the 'Sanders Social Democrat' trap - in trying to appeal to the so-called "wider electorate" (who, out of interest, support his leftist policies) and the Blairites, he's lost the very thing that got him elected as Leader in the first place - the idea of a true alternative. It's interesting to note that Senator Sanders, with his refusal to run outside the party that conspired against him, is similar in his level of compromise. This is not to say that Corbyn needs to go rogue, but constantly pandering to New Labour, does neither the Party nor the electorate any favours.

The Brexit and Trump votes may, on the surface, indicate a rise in right wing nationalism, leaving strategists frustrated over the integrity of the hallowed centre ground. It's important to note however, that the Leave vote, at least, was reactionary - in other words, alienation and a feeling of systemic betrayal overshadowed nationalist sentiments. The country has not shifted right - it's simply looking for an alternative.

Mr Corbyn, however, has now fumbled the Brexit ball twice. A strong, positive 'Lexit' campaign could have mobilised a true socialist movement and, in all honesty, would have been both more sincere and more effective for the Labour Party. Failing that, a misstep regarding possible amendments to the Brexit Bill has led to mistrust from both the 48% and 'softer' Leave voters. He's not only missed his chance with a historic referendum, but let off a struggling Theresa May.

'Surely', you may be asking, 'the tide has fully turned? What support does Corbyn have left?'

You'd be wrong there. Jeremy Corbyn is still the same person he always was - an anti-war, progressive, democratic socialist who can connect with working people. That kind of demographic is perfect to lead a nation exploited by years of neoliberalism and austerity, but to do this, he must remove himself from No Man's Land (where Miliband was sorely trapped) and build upon the platform on which he was elected.

Labour, under Corbyn, stands for nationalised rail services, public healthcare and education, and numerous other popular policies that reverberate with the people. Through correct political strategy and effective sloganing, there's no doubt Labour will recoup the disillusioned masses - but change needs to start with Corbyn.

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