We Might Want A New Prime Minister, But Do We Really Want It To Be Jeremy Corbyn?

If tomorrow morning we suddenly all woke up to a new administration with him at the helm, how would things genuinely change?
Associated Press

If a week is a long time in politics, what on earth does that make two and a half years? What it makes is a deeply unsettling period of turmoil. Since the dreaded referendum, it’s hard to recall a more tumultuous chapter in British political history; one which no amount of palms crossed with silver could possibly have foretold.

Equally hard to prophesy has been the rise, fall and rise again of Jeremy Corbyn. For those who can’t quite remember or deliberately choose to forget, preferring to paint over the episode with a nice shade of Socialist red emulsion, it’s not that long ago when he was a pariah politician.

Back in mid 2016, the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister was about as likely as Katie Price, with her firm grasp on fiscal reality, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.

First elected leader in September 2015, Corbyn was quickly labelled a liability by his colleagues. They felt his far left leanings would make Labour unelectable; consigning it to a generation in opposition and bringing about its near extinction. Amidst mass resignations - two thirds of the shadow cabinet handed in their letters of notice - the MP for Islington North was a hair’s breadth away from being replaced. Humiliatingly, he had to appeal to the NEC (National Executive Committee) to be automatically allowed back on the ballot paper.

Thanks, however, to help from Momentum, plus the number of past supporters and new members stumping up their voting fees, he convincingly won the contest and with an increased majority. This second victory led to a resurgence in his popularity. So much so that the 2017 general election ended up closer than anyone might have imagined, the result giving both Corbyn and Labour a massive boost in confidence and influence.

The surprising thing is that they haven’t managed to capitalise on it. During the hot summer just gone, it could be argued that the window of opportunity for another election was wide open. The Tories at their weakest and most vulnerable, riven by in-fighting on an unprecedented scale. But as winter approaches, and the weather gets colder, that window is finding itself shut. Labour didn’t even follow through on John McDonnell’s threat to vote down Philip Hammond’s latest budget. Instead, they opted to actually support the cuts that were put forward. Understandably, this did not play well with the party rank and file.

The Conservatives and Theresa May, meanwhile, find themselves unexpectedly remaining in power. With Theresa, it’s getting increasingly difficult to know which Number 10 inhabitant has more lives. Her or Larry, the Downing Street cat.

Jeremy, as is his wont, continues to tell us that it’s time for change. A cursory glance at his twitter feed proves he can hardly stop reminding us of the fact. But what does he mean by change? A change of pants, a change of socks, a change of towels, a change of sheets? None of which we apparently change nearly as often as we should do. Of course, he means a change of government. Although, come to to think of it, some countries do tend to change their governments nearly as often as some people change their underwear. Take Italy, for instance.

Corbyn would have us believe that regardless of our status, wealth, creed, colour, sex, sexuality or religious faith; life under Labour will be kinder, fairer and easier.

But if tomorrow morning we suddenly all woke up to a new administration with him at the helm, how would things genuinely change? If you rent your home from a private landlord, would you feel more secure in it; no longer scared about the threat of eviction should you complain about its condition? If you’re a woman, would you feel more equal and less prone to workplace harassment? If you need an urgent NHS operation, would you be sure of it happening immediately? The answer to all of these questions and more besides is probably not.

Far from being a politician for the future, I’d assert that Jeremy Corbyn is more like yesterday’s man. Desperately still fighting off accusations of anti-semitism, his trite ‘for the many, not the few’ slogan no longer rings true, if indeed it ever did do. The other day, I found myself in a seaside town cafe. A waitress was wearing a Corbyn T-shirt, adorned with the design where his name looks as if it belongs on a record sleeve. Somehow though it seemed to be from a bygone era, with as much modern relevance as if she’d had on a Bros tour tee from the ’80s.

In my opinion, the country (and maybe Labour itself) deserves better than Corbyn. So he’s correct when he says it’s time for change. Only it should be of leadership.

Time then to bring back David. Not Cameron, but Miliband.


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