By Ismail Veli…….
The aftermath of the Brexit vote seems to have turned the whole British political scene on its head. The failure of the Prime Minister Cameron to convince a large part of the British public after his feeble attempts to negotiate a deal with the EU on a new deal, saw the British stick their fingers up at the EU, and the message to Cameron was simply that his efforts were simply not good enough.
Cameron resigned and the rush to find a new leader got underway, but not before some backstabbing by Michael Gove against Boris Johnson. If Boris Johnson had any dreams that he would fill the vacuum left by Cameron he was soon disillusioned. Boris, accused of stabbing Cameron in the back with his Brexit campaign, which many believed may have played an important part in winning the 52% Brexit vote soon found out that others can also play the political double dealing game.
Michael Gove the man who on many occasions publicly stated that he was simply not good enough to be Prime Minister suddenly woke up one morning and decided he was the best man for the job. If this was not enough, he informed Boris that he was simply not the right man to lead the Conservative party. In one swoop Boris realized that Michael Gove, his right hand man in the Brexit campaign, helped destroy any hope that he may have had of becoming Prime Minister. The demise of David Cameron and Boris has however led to what seems like an orderly scramble to put their party back on track.
The Labour party following the Brexit vote seems to be in free-fall. Their leader Jeremy Corbyn elected on a strong mandate by its members is in complete disarray from his own Parliamentary MP’s. The vote of no confidence on Tuesday 28th June saw 172 MP’s against J. Corbyn with only 40 in support with some abstentions. Corbyn’s supporters are outraged. They consider the vote of no confidence as un-democratic. They point out that Corbyn has the support of the grassroots of the party and no doubt was voted leader.
Corbyn was elected with a large margin of 59.5% on a turnout of 422,871, which was 76.3% of its membership in September 2015. No other candidate came close to beating him. So what’s gone wrong in such a short time? Corbyn’s left wing views though having the support of its members seems at odds with his own MP’S and a British public that is not particularly very interested in old style socialist thinking, but seems to be going against a growing right wing British public.
His lacklustre and unconvincing performance in the ‘remain in Europe’ campaign has outraged his own shadow cabinet and his MP’s in general. They simply feel that Corbyn has neither the ability or the policies to win the next elections for their party. His policies are believed to be more in line with Union style protest actions rather than a party leader that should at this time and moment be much more effective against a ruling Conservative party that is not particularly popular. Conservatives did win last year’s elections but their popularity has waned somewhat.
While Corbyn’s supporters are right to point out that he has a strong support with a democratic mandate from the mainstream Labour members, one thing his supporters seem to miss out is that without the support of 172 of his 229 MP’s his credibility or ability to present a strong opposition to the Conservatives is almost impossible. It may be that the vast majority of the 600.000 Labour members support Corbyn’s style of politics, but what about the 9-10 million votes Labour needs to win in order to beat the Conservatives in the next election?
A narrow focus on just its members is okay if they are not concerned about the wider population’s support in general. His supporters need to decide whether they want to remain the main opposition party or reduce themselves to an exceptionally large party that simply lobbies for its ideology, with much vigour but little effect. His MP’s clearly believe that despite all his consistency and polite demeanour he simply lacks the ability of a strong leadership. If Corbyn somehow hangs on to his position as leader, the Labour party may well fragment and split. At a time of historic political uncertainty, with the potential of another recession in the next year or so the UK can little afford a weak government, much less an opposition party that needs to be firm, solid and united.
The UK is in desperate need of a strong opposition to challenge the potential whirlwind that could hit Britain in the Brexit negotiations. In fact what is really needed is much more national unity than what we have at the moment. It’s simply not enough to go with our hearts, what the UK needs is an all party negotiation team to face the immense challenges that the British will face in the not too distant future. Sadly I see no ruling or opposition party that seems remotely like it has the ability to face the coming storm with any degree of confidence. Unless Labour supporters wake up and smell the coffee, I fear they will help divide their party beyond repair.
It’s an untenable argument that their leader should hang on in there regardless of the long lasting consequences that amounts to nothing less than the suicide they seem so intent on committing. One individual person, (leader or not) should not take priority over the future of the party, If as feared Labour fragments it would mean that the Conservatives despite their unpopularity may remain in power for an indeterminate period. Before the Labour party pushes itself over the abyss, cool heads and an objective analysis of the party’s present state is urgently needed to bring some sanity into the equation. If obstinacy, entrenched emotions and knee-jerk reactions prevail the party will lose its credibility as an opposition party, but the biggest losers will ultimately be the British people.