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Corbyn is too left for labour’s comfort

There are apprehensions about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership bid because of his radical stance on issues.

Antonia Filmer  5th Sep 2015

Jeremy Corbyn

abour's leadership announcement is a week away. The new one-member one-vote system introduced by Ed Miliband is on its trial run, and has already been subjected to mockery with Conservative Party members joining the Labour Party for £3, intending to swing the vote towards Jeremy Corbyn, who they consider a non-starter as a future Prime Minister and the death knell of the Labour. The internet-based market research firm YouGov reports that the 600,000 strong party memberships are not remotely representative of Labour in the rest of the country. Bassetlaw MP, John Mann has objected that the process has been warped by an influx of new members; possibly including some from the Communist Party of Great Britain, who may have signed up just to back Corbyn.

Corbyn has received more column inches than other contenders, every newspaper is touting him as the next Labour leader. The recent YouGov poll that analysed the characteristics of Corbyn's support, found followers to be focusing on emotional intelligence, imagination and verbal skills more than logic and mathematics; his supporters are understood to express themselves with more conviction than those who support the other candidates. YouGov's conclusion is that "this group is not going to be 'reasoned with' — they are looking to be inspired."

Corbyn is the accidental candidate. Some senior Labour MPs allegedly lent him their votes so his ballot nomination reached the requisite threshold of 35 supporters. His presence has exacerbated indecision and infighting within the party, to the extent that some commentators are anticipating a split in the Labour ranks.

The traditional Labour climate is no more. The trade unions (TU) that have typically supported Labour have diminished in importance. The shrinking of the working class has rendered Labour's reliable base bereft. UK no longer has the mines or the steelworks of yesteryear and trade-union membership in the private sector is declining. TUs are finding it difficult to recruit sufficient numbers in the public sector. There is a cry for TUs to re-invent themselves to articulate the concerns of today's workers (including technological and digital) and Britain's poor.

The typical TU method of negotiation, striking, has become a nuisance. The idea behind the TUs gunning for improved conditions and independence from the tyranny of the state has been superseded by fairer treatment from the state, improved health and safety regulations/working conditions and new statutes such as regulated pay and the minimum wage.

Corbyn has resurfaced a nostalgic left wing faction in his party. In the aftermath of the May election his support comes from rekindling a dormant radical spirit, especially in the young, including pledges from the majority of the May 2015 intake of new young optimist MPs.

In Parliament Corbyn has been a conscientious objector to Conservative political reform; he has voted against his own party and would abolish the Labour Whip. He advocates the redistribution of wealth and believes tuition fees should be paid by Westminster. He has campaigned against all cuts and austerity, the Iraq war and airstrikes in Syria. He is against Trident and nuclear weapons; anti-America and pro-Europe, he is critical of Nato; he would like to discontinue the Queen and the Royal Family's soft diplomatic role. He would like to re-nationalise the postal service, the railways and energy companies and nationalise banks. This is a scary proposition for the Conservatives, especially with the Scottish National Party longing for a socialist coalition.

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