I joined the Labour Party when I was at university in the days of Neil Kinnock. I even, briefly, flirted with student politics proper and stood for election to the Student Union Executive (my political career being short lived, involving addressing a hustings to which only one person came and coming a distant third in the actual election). I attended a few CLP meetings in the 90s and stopped being a member in the late 90s when I became appalled at what Blair, Straw, Irvine and others were doing to the criminal justice system and legal aid.
Since my university days I have voted, and continue to vote, almost exclusively for Labour. I say almost exclusively because I cannot rule out having voted for an independent in a council election here or there but every time I am faced with a ballot paper my eye goes immediately to Labour. In doing so my eye is only following what my heart and my head tells me is the right thing. Since my university days I am simply unable to vote Conservative. I cannot imagine ever voting Conservative in the future.
Why am I telling you this potted history of my political and voting life? I hope to establish that I am not a “Red Tory” or a Blairite. I hope that this tells the reader that I believe in a social democracy where we assist those who need it. I am on the Left. Firmly. I am not a Marxist, a communist or a member of the Socialist Worker Party. But I am on the Left nevertheless and I believe that the nation is better off being run by people with the same inherent tendencies that I have. The tendencies that make me “of the Left”.
And that is why I do not support Jeremy Corbyn.
I wanted him to do well, because his succeeding would see the Labour Party succeeding. But it isn’t. It is failing. It is failing not because there has been a coup of MPs but because Jeremy Corbyn has not worked out.
There has not been a singe moment since he was elected when I have thought to myself “Jeremy aced that”. Not one. There is not one policy, not one announcement, not one proposal that has made me think he is going to speak to the nation with sufficient appeal that he will play his vital role in a General Election success.
I liked some of his ideas. I liked the idea of a gentler way of doing politics. I just have not noticed much evidence of him making a success of this ideal. I liked the idea of asking for the concerns of the public for the purpose of Prime Minister’s Questions. But my toes curl at the execution of his plan.
He is undoubtedly sincere with his anti-austerity agenda but he is a master at preaching to the converted rather than converting the ideal into policies and a vision which brings people to him.
It is undoubtedly the case that the mainstream media have been against him from the outset. He has managed to do nothing to turn that tide and gives the appearance (often sartorially) of being someone who simply does not learn from his mistakes.
I am not a Red Tory. I am not a Blairite. But I am afraid I am not a Corbynista. I cannot see him leading the Party to a General Election victory. And that is what counts. That is why I registered to have my vote in the Leadership contest. If Jeremy Corbyn wins again we are looking at 8 more years of Tory rule. Tory rule at a time when the need for compassion, social democracy and tolerance is going to be at its highest.