Skip to main content

My heart is with Jeremy Corbyn, but my head is not

Oh dear! What should the Labour party do? Who should it choose as its next leader? My heart would be with Jeremy Corbyn but for all the wrong reasons.  What he says resonates with my anger at the injustice of the Tory government austerity programme.  It makes the poorest pay the most for the financial crisis. But Labour needs to keep a clear head and not retreat into its comfort zone where it says 'all the right things'  but could never do anything.  The danger is that Labour would become unelectable as it was in the 1980s - rejected by voters election after election.  Labour should not turn itself into simply a party of protest.  It needs to present a coherent programme for government. It needs to face up to difficult decisions, and it needs a leader who will be able to unite the party.  Jeremy Corbyn could not do that.  I fear his election would be divisive and more so since so many of his supporters are using his campaign to attack 'the virus' of New Labour.   
Whatever they think of Mr Blair he won three elections for Labour, and his government produced the biggest increase in spending on the NHS as per cent of GDP and reduced pensioner poverty.  Whilst there is much I did not like about his period of office, there were substantial achievements, and not least the minimum wage. It is foolish not to recognise this. 
Labour cannot achieve things by sitting on the opposition benches. This supreme fact the party learned during the Thatcher period. It took 18 dark years before that lesson was learned.  It is vital the Labour party gets this one right else it risks alienating voters.   There will be no easy path to winning elections. Whoever wins the leadership will have a difficult mountain to climb. It will take time.  Labour must address the concerns of the voters and not retreat into its own 'socialist' bubble. 
Labour needs not just a simple message but also a coherent voice. Sadly I do not as yet see that in any of the leadership candidates. For all that I warm to Jeremy Corbyn, and I do, he would be a comfort blanket. He says what we feel but that doesn't amount to a coherent and winning platform. When asked who had independently verified his economic plan he simply answered 'experts' but would not say who.  It certainly wasn't the IFS or any other recognisable body of 'expert' analysis. He would be torn to shreds if he became leader with the simple approach he has adopted. You cannot fool the media and voters with promises that have not been costed or without a clear means of paying for them. Simply being against austerity does not mean we have no responsibility for dealing with the nations finances. 
Of course we should not expect the Leadership candidates to have all the answers, But we should expect them to have some ideas about how to achieve their aims. 
Labour  needs a leader who will be capable of pulling the party together at this difficult time. Sadly, it is unlikely Jeremy Corbyn could do that.  I fear Labour is marching into the wilderness when the country needs it most.  Labour needs a leader who can reach out to voters and work with business.  The economy matters. 
Suddenly 'aspiration' has become a dirty word on the left.  It is dismissed as it if it synonymous with greed or perverse.  It is not.  It means the aspirations of ordinary working families. Labour should be the party of aspiration and hope. It shouldn't go back to fighting old battles of the 1970s and 80s.  But it needs a leader who will challenge the injustice in our society and who will speak up for the poorest and disadvantaged.  My heart is with you Jeremy Corbyn, but my head is not. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

No evidence for vaccine link with autism

Public health bodies are worried that an alarming drop in childhood vaccinations is leading to a resurgence of diseases in childhood that we had all but eradicated.  Misinformation and scare stories about the harmful effects of vaccines abound on the internet and in social media.  Where they are based on 'science', it is highly selective, and often reliance is placed on falsehoods.  Conspiracy theories also abound - cover-ups, deception, lies. As a result, too many parents are shunning vaccinations for their children.  So, what does the published, peer-reviewed literature tell us about vaccincations? Are they safe and effective, or are there long term harmful effects?  A new report now provides some of the answers. New evidence published in the Cochrane Library today finds MMR, MMRV, and MMR+V vaccines are effective and that they are not associated with increased risk of autism. Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (also known as chickenpox) are infectious diseases cau

Therapeutic animal stress

Interacting with animals is known to be therapeutic,  particularly in reducing stress.  But do we consider sufficiently the effects this may have on the animals involved?   We might assume that because it is calming for us, then it must be so for the therapeutic animals, but is this so?  New research suggests that it isn't always without stress for the animals involved.  Positive human-animal interaction relates to changes in physiological variables both in humans and other animals, including a reduction of subjective psychological stress (fear, anxiety) and an increase of oxytocin levels in the brain.  It also reduces the 'stress' hormone, cortisol. Indeed, these biological responses have measurable clinical benefits.  Oxytocin has long been implicated in maternal bonding, sexual behaviour and social affiliation behaviours and in promoting a sense of well-being .  So far, so good.  We humans often turn to animals for stress relief, companionship, and even therapy.  We kno