Thursday, June 30, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister

The referendum result and the chaos in both Tory and Labour parties have forced us to review what we are looking for in leader.  I was appalled to find that David Cameron, despite being paid to be Prime Minister of this country, didn't have a plan for the result which was returned on Friday after the referendum.  We pay the man to lead the country and he makes no plan for June 24.

It seems that both teams in the referendum had no more plan than "win referndum" and looked no further.  The Tories on both sides, Cameron and Johnson, pointed to each other and claimed the other should have made a plan.

Just when the Labour Party could have held the Tories to account, they decided instead to play a game with the leadership of the Labour Party.  Despite Jeremy Corbyn being elected with the largest mandate ever, they decided to blame him - not the people who made absurd claims about the money that could go to the NHS (Johnson, Farage Gisela Stewart), not the people who had made absurd claims about the possibility of access to the single market AND controlling EU immigration, but Jeremy Corbyn was the target of their abuse.

As a paid-up member of the Labour party who joined because I was so impressed with Jeremy Corbyn, I felt betrayed.  I don't think I will be able to trust the politicians who betrayed Corbyn, simply because people like Angela Eagle praised him a few days ago, and reversed her opinion once the leadership attack was on.  Which time were you wrong, Angela, I wondered?   When you praised the gruelling schedule that Jeremy Corbyn had followed, or when you said he didn't do enough?

She didn't look towards Gisela Stewart, who allegedly came up with the £350 million a week slogan, or the others in the Brexit campaign who had been too stupid to understand that access to the single market was not a given and would come with a price tag.  She looked towards Jeremy Corbyn.

I think it was his touching honesty and total belief in the things he says which first attracted me to listen to what he was saying.  Something which is a rare gift in a politician.  If he says something you know that he believes it.  That's something I look for in a leader.  Honesty and integrity.

Over the past few days, people have resigned at regular intervals from the shadow cabinet, and people have announced their intention not to support Jeremy Corbyn.  He has withstood the blows from the people he thought he could count on, those who are ostensibly on his side, but who refer to his supporters - people from their own party - as dogs and rabble.  He has withstood this onslaught with dignity and has not descended into the sort of personal attacks that others might feel justified in making.  He's shown remarkable strength of character.  That's another thing I look for in a leader.

To listen to the parliamentary Labour Party talk, you would think that Jeremy Corbyn was so far left of centre that he was calling for the establishment of a communist state.  But everything I have heard Jeremy Corbyn talk about has been moderate, proportionate, and reasonable.  A return to the public ownership of the NHS (it's escaped the notice of a considerable number of people that we ever moved away from that), looking after the poor and disabled, housing people, giving them meaningful jobs and paying them adequately.  Reducing the gap between rich and poor.  I think they are socialist policies that all the membership would support.   And so his knowledge of what needs to happen and his grasp on the policies that need to change is impressive.  Another thing I look for in a leader:  knowledge, but an ability to say more information is needed if required.

If you were to ask me if I see these things in any of the candidate on the Tory side, I'd have to say that the only person who impresses me is Theresa May.  But she lacks the final qualities I look for in a leader: warmth, human kindness and an understanding of the lives of ordinary people.  Jeremy Corbyn doesn't use his time in parliament to build up money by claiming expenses he isn't entitled to.  In fact he doesn't claim things he is entitled to, preferring to travel on public transport, and use a bike.

He talks to people, acknowledges policemen and others he encounters in the course of his work, and spends time interacting with those that make up the electorate whoever they support politically.  I admire that in a leader.  It's too easy to become part of a Westminster-focussed club and forget there are ordinary people who have spent their hard-earned money on being able to vote for a leader in the party elections.  He doesn't forget that, and we love him for it.

The Parliamentary Labour Party may look for different things in the leader they elect.  Certainly some of them have written lies about having consulted their Constituency Labour Party before resigning, or tales of people on the doorstep demanding a change, as though the ordinary electorate are likely to say those things arbitrarily, and should be allowed to decide who the leader of the Labour Party is.  I'd have respected them a bit more if they had been honest.

Jeremy Corbyn stands for everything I want - more social justice, a return to the publicly owned NHS and looking after the environment and the people in this country.  I want him as leader of the Labour Party, and I would vote for him to be our Prime Minister in a heartbeat.  I think the PLP have seriously misjudged the mood of the country.  And if, as many people are saying, this is all about Chilcot, then woe betide them.  Because we'll support Jeremy all the way if he calls for Tony Blair to be prosecuted.  And there's bugger all they can do about that now that they've failed to oust him.

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