Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The problem with Corbyn

Whatever the result of the election, there is no question that Jeremy Corbyn has had a much better election than most assumed would be the case at the outset.  Partly, this has been because he’s been given more air time to reveal the real man rather than the bogeyman of the right wing media, and partly because the pressure of an election has revealed just how flaky and incompetent his opponent is.  And he’s been able to produce a manifesto which contains a series of very popular pledges.  It’s easy to imagine how much better he might have done if the majority of his own party’s MPs hadn’t spent most of the past two years seeking to undermine and destabilise him at every turn.  They have a lot to answer for.
And that brings me to the first of my doubts about both Corbyn and Labour.  Just supposing for a moment that he pulls off the electoral surprise of the century and ends up in a position in parliament where a Labour-led government or a Labour minority government becomes a realistic possibility.  They have said that they would put forward their manifesto proposals in the Queen’s Speech and challenge the other parties to support or oppose them.  That’s a reasonable basis for proceeding, except for one thing: how certain could we be that his own party’s MPs would back him?  Challenging Plaid, the SNP, the Greens, and the Lib Dems to oppose him if they dare is one thing – but what if all those recalcitrant MPs who would prefer large chunks of the Tory manifesto to the Labour one decide not to back him?
It’s not my only doubt about him and his party.  Leaving aside the question of Trident renewal, there are a number of other issues which concern me, of which I’ll mention just two.
Whilst I think that his approach to negotiation over Brexit is more likely to result in a deal of some sort than the petulant and hostile stance of someone who seems to believe that she has an entitlement to expect everyone else to cave in, Corbyn, like May, has already ruled out continued freedom of movement.  So whilst he’s less likely to see the UK crashing out with no deal of any sort, he’s unlikely to get a deal which goes much beyond some sort of transitional arrangements.  It’s hardly inspiring – and he, like May, has already ruled out putting the final terms back to the people, regardless of the state of public opinion at the time.
And my second major reservation about Corbyn is that he seems to have an inexplicable blind spot when it comes to Wales and Scotland.  Here is a man who supports the goal of an independent and united Ireland, who supports movements for freedom and democracy across the globe, yet seems to be incapable of coming to terms with the idea that there are people in Scotland – and to a lesser extent in Wales – who want to enjoy the same type of freedom.  I really do not understand why he is so unable to grasp the parallel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As thoughtful as ever.