People that have read my blogs before will know that I do like Corbyn and there is much I agree with him on. Whether it is his clear anti-austerity agenda or his opposition to fracking, it's been refreshing to see how clear and straight talking he has been compared to his predecessor Miliband or as I regularly used to refer to him, "Milibot 3000".
Cue my disbelief when he couldn't answer what I felt was a straightforward question on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday. So to put it in context, leader of the Unite Union Len McCluskey basically said that he was prepared to break the law by going on strikes that don't meet the official government mandate of a 50% turnout. Now the Tories Trade Union bill that was passed in 2015 was seen by many as incredibly unjust and entrenched us even further as one of the harshest countries when it comes to rights of unionised workers. Corbyn was asked himself whether he would support what Len McCluskey said and his response was that the Trade Union Bill was unfair, Labour would repeal it and that he supported workers campaigning for better pay. Now some might say that's clear, except it isn't really. There is a big difference between saying you support campaigning and supporting illegal strike action. History shows to fight unjust laws you sometimes have to break them so it isn't unreasonable for him to support it. Several times Corbyn was asked and several times he just said he supported workers campaigning.
The excuse to this is that as he is on a permanent campaign footing to become Prime Minister he has to be careful about what he says. The problem with that is the fact that he has built his reputation on being very clear about what he means and that's why a lot of people like him. Yet in this interview he just wasn't clear on this issue. Given the relentless onslaught he gets in the mainstream media, he'll get attacked either way so he might as well be completely honest.
He also was vague when it came to the question of whether he supports continued Freedom of Movement. If you listen to what he said it was a very elusive answer. On top of saying he understood people that wanted to keep freedom of movement and that he wants to stop the abuse of FOM by some employers, he ended his answer by saying this. "We have to recognise that in the future we are going to need people to work in Europe, and people from Europe are going to need to work here. There's going to be a lot of movement." If anyone can see a clear answer there then let me know but personally I'm none the wiser as to what he really meant. I understand there is more difficulty for Labour when it comes to the EU and what they say about it due to a lot of ex UKIP voters voting Labour but they do genuinely have to come up with a clearer position soon. I don't believe they'll continue to get away with fudging a position as they did in their manifesto. Even though they are debating Brexit at their conference, they aren't voting on a position which doesn't help either.
Labour stopped a Tory majority from happening and they could well find themselves in government sooner rather than later. Given this, it appears that Corbyn is falling into the same trap as Miliband and trying to not upset anyone. It may be that behind the scenes he has having his wings clipped and being told to tone his rhetoric down in order to be elected. The Corbyn we saw on Sunday was a far cry from the one we saw when he first got elected as leader and even the one we saw at the general election.
A lot of you might say well hold on, you're a Green Party member, it's very easy for you to say this given that your party doesn't have a chance to lead the next government and you are just being tribal for the sake of it. The truth is, I'm not. I actually pushed for my local Green Party to stand aside in the constituency of Ilford North in order to help Labour win that seat and to help stop a Tory majority. So quite frankly, I'm the last person that can be described as tribal. I also know that some Labour Party members will be frustrated with this interview and that they want to see a clearer position on strike action and freedom of movement from Corbyn. Of course I'm still a Green Party member and I am campaigning locally for them at the moment but I still want to see the Tories out of government. To help make this happen Corbyn needs to reassert his authenticity and clarity on his views. Is that too much to ask?Suggest a correction