The Blog

Labour Needs to Unite the Broad Church, Not Allow It to Crumble

I'm Lewis Parker and I oppose this current Tory government. I want to see a society where, regardless of your class, gender, social background or sexual preference, you have the same opportunities as everyone else. That's why I'm a member of the Labour Party.

I'm Lewis Parker and I oppose this current Tory government. I want to see a society where, regardless of your class, gender, social background or sexual preference, you have the same opportunities as everyone else. That's why I'm a member of the Labour Party.

I come from a traditional working class family in the North of England. My parents are both Labour, my grandparents are and my great grandparents were. Though I've only just joined, the core values of the Labour party have been rooted in my upbringing - and despite going through a short period of disillusionment, I've always been Labour at heart.

I'm one of the many, many new members who joined Labour since the defeat in May. Some of those have joined the party to infiltrate and drag it to the hard left. I'm not one of those people. I've joined to be a part of a political party which can vastly improve the lives of people across the country - something only possible by gaining power.

The latest poll puts Jeremy Corbyn at a 32pt lead over all the other candidates. But unlike some others in the youth wing of the party, that doesn't excite me. I'm not rallying behind him.

He's a good man and I genuinely agree with the principle of what he has to say. In an idealistic world I would support the majority of what he stands for. Of course, ideally, I would like to see university fees scrapped, EMA restored and housing benefit for under 21s reinstated. But we don't live in an ideal world; we live in the real one.

As a party we need to be realistic. We need to understand the British public. We need to appeal to them rather than to our ourselves and simply shouting what we already think back at ourselves. Should Corbyn be elected, his leadership will be malignant, divided, and the party will be unelectable. Mass deselections will likely take place, and we will suffer huge losses in council elections. A man who has voted over 500 times against the party he leads will have trouble commanding loyalty.

Labour works best as a broad church - not when it's focused on being hard left or hard right. Let's remember that at the next election ⅘ of the votes we need to win come from those who voted Tory in 2015. At the last election we lacked economic credibility and the country feared a Labour government propped up by the SNP. This ultimately led to our defeat. Labour did not lose the election because it wasn't left wing enough.

Corbyn may make a few thousand people rejoice and feel empowered that the hard left get to voice their opinions, but that doesn't mean he's the new messiah. Let's not forget that this 'surge' of support he's receiving is primarily from the 1% of the country who are political party members - it's merely a political echo chamber, and the inaccurate conclusions that most of the country rallies behind him is simply absurd.

'Corbynmania' is dominating social media. But elections are not won on social media, and social media in no way reflects the view of a country. We only have to look at the short campaign in the general election where hashtags such as #GetCameronOut, #WeBackEd, and the #Milifandom trended for weeks. If social media truly reflected the view of the country, David Cameron wouldn't be residing in Downing Street with a Tory majority government.

Most who speak out about the dangers of Corbyn feel the wrath of the Corbynistas - being branded as 'not true Labour' and 'red Tories'.

As a party we can't afford to be divisive and unelectable. We need to unite and appeal to the masses. We owe it to the people who urgently need a Labour government.

I fear, like many, that should Corbyn be elected as Labour Leader, the party would be marching into a far worse electoral defeat than we experienced in May. It may well shake the ground a little at Westminster, but it will leave Labour in ruin. We will no longer be a party of opposition, but rather a party of protest. Don't think Labour can't go backwards, because we most definitely can.

We need to think about the whole country's future whilst staying strong to our values.

I've heard and read many people's views stating that they don't mind if Corbyn doesn't win the next election - they just want him as leader. Personally, I find this deeply saddening and, actually, basically selfish.

In order to make change and get the Tories out, we need a leader who can march us to victory. A leader who can actually help the millions of people suffering due to the Tory agenda.

By the time of the 2020 election, we will have had ten years of Tory rule. We can't afford to be assigned to electoral oblivion, we can't allow the hard left to allow the Tories to gain a larger majority and have a greater mandate to roll out their policies.

For that reason, I will not be voting Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. I'll be voting Liz Kendall for Leader, and Ben Bradshaw for Deputy. I believe Liz has the ability to unite the party, and I know that Ben would serve loyally under whoever is elected. He is also the only candidate who has a proven track record of winning a former Tory safe seat. A valuable skill we will need in 2020.

Throughout the leadership debate we seemed to have forgotten who the real enemy is. Instead of fighting within the party - labelling one group as deranged and the other as a virus needed to be purged - we need to be united together and win in 2020.

If Labour elects Corbyn and ties itself to the hard left agenda, then it won't only lose the next election, it will destroy the party for a generation, and the most vulnerable will further suffer.

I'm not Brownite, Blairite, Trotskyist, or Tory. I'm Labour.