Labour For The Common Good

Sunday Times, 30th April 2017, By Michael Foster

There are a lot of things a political party looks for in a Leader. Jeremy Corbyn possesses none of them. Because of Jeremy, Labour faces annihilation at the polls. That is not good for Labour, not good for what Government does, and not good for Britain.

I will be much criticised for speaking out against the leader of the Party and what I say, I do so in sorrow. The local elections on Thursday 4th May are the last chance for the Labour Party to assess the likely extent of the devastation that will occur at the General Election. If the results are as bad as predicted then Jeremy Corbyn should stand down voluntarily and let someone else lead the fight in June and if he does not - and I don't believe he ever would - I would be very happy to fight him and his fellow travellers on the extreme left of the Party by standing as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in his constituency of Islington North.

Theresa May called the election unfettered by fear of losing because Jeremy not only allowed Brexit to happen by campaigning for Remain in such a shallow way, he was too naïve not to understand that following the Referendum working class Labour Brexit voters most effected by low wage EU migration would immediately gravitate to the Conservatives because of his incoherence, weakness and lack of leadership.

For all the appearances of a man who "cares", what Jeremy delivers just does not cut it. Ever. Islington, and in particular the North part of the borough which he represents, suffers from some of the worst social deprivation in the country, with shockingly high child poverty levels, worklessness and affordable housing shortages, and many children still leaving school without the qualifications they need. This in a constituency Jeremy has represented for 34 years.

Only after being in office for 20 months has the Leader began to form a semblance of policy: the ten pound minimum wage, a wage for carers and free school meals for all children. But a coherent economic policy was not announced and is nowhere in sight. And, as always with Jeremy, there was a sting in the tail. Corbyn’s Labour “cares” for the many, not the few. The many he signaled to be those who earned £26,000 or less. The implication of course is that his Labour government would not care for the middle classes because the middle classes do not “care” for all the things Labour supported. This is destructive class warfare that will never will Labour power.

Labour’s unseemly haste to back Mrs May’s motion to call the election without exacting any price for their support leads many to see Jeremy’s prime motivation as revenge on the moderate MPs who opposed him last summer. It is these moderates who, by the nature of their politics, represent marginal seats.

So with disaster looming and Labour likely to retain at best 150 seats on June 9th, will Jeremy resign after such a defeat? No, he will not even go if a majority of the remaining Labour MPs win a vote of no confidence against him. Jeremy’s activist supporters will ensure this blinkered, ineffective leader who has established the power to self nominate for the Leadership, is immediately elected again and they will continue their destructive control of Labour.

We know, because it is his mantra, that Jeremy cares. Unfortunately, supporting him as leader means supporting a political strategy that kills people. By 199 after 18 years of Tory Government, the average waiting time for a heart operation was 18 months and by 2003 Labour had reduced that wait to just 4 months. But now as waiting lists get longer through lack of Tory investment in the NHS, more people die waiting for their operation, at about the same rate that Mr Corbyn and his committed left fellow travellers make the Labour party more unelectable.

A political movement caring about social injustice is immaterial unless it has the power to make changes. Jeremy Corbyn has done everything he can to take Labour further from government and power than it has ever been.

In recent weeks I have canvassed many Labour voters on the doorstep. Like so many of my own family and friends they simply ask how they can vote for Labour with Jeremy Corbyn as its leader. The pollsters report that he is the main reason why floating voters are not considering Labour.

In the local council elections on May 4th and Labour becomes the first opposition party since the war to “lose” such mid-term elections, who will the blinkered leader Jeremy have left to blame? He needs to look himself in the mirror and accept he has failed. If Jeremy Corbyn resigned and handed the leadership to his deputy Tom Watson, it would immediately increase Labour's standing in the polls by at least 10% by re-engaging those who agree with Labour’s goals and want a way to oppose the tyranny of a huge Tory majority.

Go on Mr Corbyn, resign. Do something for which the vast majority of Labour voters pray every day. It is a big person who can recognise their failings. It is an act for which you will be uniformly praised.

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