My name is Jamie. I am a centre-left voter. Traditionally, my family has always voted Labour, I’ve oscillated between Labour and the Liberal Democrats for my voting years (I’m 30 now). I tend to be suspicious and critical of all power structures, including the leader of the opposition.
I want to vote Labour. I really do. I feel naturally drawn to the Labour Party. At the beginning of Corbyn’s leadership, I was willing to give him an opportunity and to defend him against criticism where I felt it not right. For example, I felt his comments that the killing of Bin Laden was tragic, were taken out of context and cynically used. As were his comments on Emwazi’s killing, in fact, I wrote on it here.
But here’s the thing; I cannot vote for a man who thinks Hamas are “…dedicated to social and political justice” (he genuinely did say that, it’s on film, it cannot be dismissed as ‘oh he just wants to get them to the negotiating table) and signs motions that imply a genocide attempt in Kosovo was invented by the US. Nor can I vote for a man you put forward – in a very UKIP manner – as fighting the establishment, when he’s spent a good thirty years defending some of the most dictatorial establishments (like Chavez) on the planet, worked for Russian State media, and didn’t have too much of a problem with Gaddafi. Nor can I vote for a man who seems to have half-arsed his way through the EU referendum debate, never challenging the clearly false claims made by the Leave side. I just can’t. And there are plenty of centre and centre-left who feel exactly the same. My local MP is a Labour MP, and because I feel my values – where social justice is not anything like that of Hamas – have been abandoned by Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn, I am unlikely to vote Labour. The PLP are not evil red Zionist Tories, they are real people worried for their jobs. Which is an electoral problem.
Here’s the thing; excusing religious supremacy should be as far away from the Labour Party as excusing racial supremacy. It should be a line that none of us cross, when we walk into the voting booth. We accept that Israel’s right wing is a bigoted group determined to block a peace process, but that does not mean we suddenly side with Hamas. We should side with those abused by both Israel and Hamas, and we should promote liberal, democratic, secular values, not defend and excuse groups that seek to impose the exact opposite. We should look at World leaders regardless of whether they hang out on the left or the right, and criticise them the moment they start to restrict free expression, threaten LGBT, and harm journalists. We should not defend them as Corbyn has done with Chavez in the past, and as I suspect a lot will do when Castro dies. Chavez was a man who, according to Human Rights Watch:
“Under Chávez, the government dramatically expanded its ability to control the content of the country’s broadcast and news media. It passed laws extending and toughening penalties for speech that “offends” government officials, prohibiting the broadcast of messages that “foment anxiety in the public,” and allowing for the arbitrary suspension of TV channels, radio stations, and websites.”
Journalists silenced and threatened, judges imprisoned for refusing to condemn critics of Chavez, and a failed state legacy. How did Corbyn respond to that grotesque abuse of basic liberal principles?
. Again, support of those who stomp on rights all over the place should be a line we don’t cross, as liberal Labour voters. I wont cross that line. And that will be echoed across the country. Labour MPs who are now revolting, are doing so because the values of the Labour leadership, the Socialist Workers Party, and Momentum are nowhere close to being aligned to the values of constituents. They are nowhere near aligned to my values; libera-left, secular democrat.
Further, I have been a constant critic of the Tory Party. I have been a constant critic of malicious Tory rhetoric since 2010. I have criticised members of the Labour Party for refusing to challenge Tory narratives. The Tory use of the Philpott murders to attack the concept of Welfare, I consider to be one of the biggest cases of grotesque opportunism I’ve ever come across. Their defence of Saudi Arabia to the point where they aided their rise to the chair of the UN Human Right Council, is astonishing. I want the bedroom tax gone for all the misery is has inflicted. And yet for this, if I criticise Jeremy Corbyn, you will label me a ‘Red Tory’, or a ‘traitor’, or part of a vast Zionist conspiracy. When I gave my support to strategic and limited airstrikes on IS targets to aid allies who have now – with the help of airstrikes – liberated much of previously held IS strongholds, you responded by telling me I support killing children. How do you expect to win an election with that? When we read that your supporters are threatening Labour MPs, how do you expect to win support for that way of doing things?
Do not take this as an undemocratic swipe. I do not think it wise for the PLP to overturn Labour rules and replace a Labour leader democratically elected by the members. I think the members should be in control of who the leader is. I am pleading here, as someone who doesn’t want another decade of Tory rule, for the members to elect a leader who can actually win an election, and not just a man who happens to be on the left. Please, critically analyse him.
Because if you want to win an election, which I assume you do, I assume this isn’t all grandstanding, I assume it’s not all a show of power with no goal in sight, then you’re going to need to win back voters on the centre of the spectrum, because if you don’t, the Tories will. You’re going to need to win back voters from the centre-left, because if you don’t, they’ll vote Liberal Democrat or just not bother to vote at all. You cannot just insult us, dismiss our concerns, and think it’ll be fine… it wont. You’re going to need to talk about immigration, because if you don’t, you’ll lose even more working class voters to UKIP. And we then have to watch as you hand another election to the Conservative Party. So far, you insult all centre and centre-left voters as Tories despite our continued battle against them, you insult working class people by refusing to acknowledge their concerns about immigration, and you refuse to acknowledge that winning an election requires a rainbow of voters, not just those dedicated to the far-left. You have abandoned every principle necessary for victory, and all the people you need to win over. It is difficult to tell what your goal actually is.
A general election is a likely scenario following the appointment of a new Conservative leader. And the Tories are in freefall at the moment, they are – as always – tearing themselves apart over Europe. For this, we need a Labour Party that can win an election. Whilst you’re hemorrhaging working class voters to UKIP, centre-left voters, and centre voters elsewhere, the Labour Party under Corbyn cannot win an election. The game is up. It’s time to move on.