19th August 2016
-By Paddington Baby-
What therefore Hardie hath joined together, let not Corbyn put asunder
The neighbouring CLP to me held their Labour leader nomination meeting last week and did me proud by nominating Owen Smith (I used to be a member there and still keep in touch). My own CLP decided not to hold a meeting, much to my disappointment, but if we did, what might I have said?
I did not vote for Corbyn and I have never been a fan. I often think about why that is and how I would explain it to people. I can easily bring to mind Venezuela, Press TV… but then I wonder how best to explain what is wrong with Corbyn’s domestic policies and why people won’t vote for them.
I went to see Owen Smith speak and decided to text policy announcements to a friend who couldn’t be there. There were so many announcements I simply couldn’t keep up! Then it hit me. The reason why I had trouble criticising Corbyn’s policies is because he just doesn’t have any!
Like most of us here I was heartbroken at the outcome of the referendum. I worked hard to win, and I thank so many of us here who worked hard to win. I do not believe that Jeremy Corbyn gave us all the support we needed. Midway through the campaign I went to our rally when Alan Johnson came to talk to us. The night before Leave had shot up in the polls and Jeremy Corbyn had appeared on TV to say that he was only 7 out of 10 into the EU and he had fooled around embarrassingly. This was how he addressed the terrible news of the poll ratings. I complained to our MEP at the rally about it all. The two of us concluded then that we were going to lose.
But Owen Smith gives me hope. He behaves like an opposition leader, fighting the Tories on tax credit cuts and calling for better from the Prime Minister. I believe that, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, Owen Smith has what it takes to become Prime Minister himself.
I do not pass the Andrea Leadsom test. I am not a mum, only an auntie. But I love my niece with all my heart, and I am determined that she will not be a kid who grows up under a Tory government like I did. I’m fighting for Owen Smith because I’m fighting for a Labour government, and there is no way that that is going to happen unless Owen becomes the leader of our great party.
The thing is that I can see that we are a divided party. And that division is not just between the Corbynistas and the rest of us, but also between the Corbynistas themselves. One half of them is convinced that Labour will win the next general election and all signs to the contrary are wrong; the other half doesn’t think that Corbyn will become the Prime Minister – but that is not a problem, so long as dearly-held socialist principles are kept in place!
If the Corbyn supporters can’t make their minds up about whether power is attainable for Labour, then how can they complain about the moderates who KNOW that Corbyn will not become the Prime Minister?
A leader may have adoring fans, but that is no guarantee of anything. Ann Treneman wrote about events in Scotland in September 2014 in her book “All in this together”:
“We were standing more or less in a field, outstanding as they say, just beyond the rather rundown town of Kilmarnock in the west of Scotland, waiting for Alex Salmond.
“‘He’s delayed’, says one Yes man who looks about twelve. ‘Everybody wants a selfie with him! Everywhere he goes! It’s like Beatlemania!’
“Love, love me do, as the Yes campaign tells Scotland: you know I love you. Maybe it’s just good planning, but wherever Mr Salmond goes, except at press conferences with pesky journalists, he seems to be greeted with open arms. Yesterday, on the final Yes tour, there were hugs and kisses, backslaps and arm squeezes…”
Remind us of anyone?
Alex Salmond did not win the Scottish referendum and Jeremy Corbyn will not win the general election.
“‘I don’t know why you say she’s my boss,’ grumbled Boris. ‘She’s simply the Home Secretary.’
Ah yes, simply the Home Secretary. I do hope Theresa was listening.”
Against the expectations of most, Theresa May well and truly IS the boss of Boris Johnson now.
The tide is turning with GMB votes, positive results from the phone banks and fine, individual members changing allegiances in such a humbling manner.
Jeremy Corbyn has inspired change in Labour, now Smith should be trusted to carry it forwards
The previously unanticipated can happen, and Owen Smith can become the next leader of the Labour Party.
So we’ve reached the end of the supporting nomination stage of Labour’s Leadership
Impossible to know for sure, but I did have my hopes for Mrs May and my wish for a female Prime Minister came true there. Now I want my wish for Owen Smith and a radical and progressive Labour government to come true as well.