Friday, 15 July 2016

Debate, respect, and comradeship - the Labour leadership must be an object of healthy and dignified debate



Social media is awash with political debate at the moment. Much of it, from what I can judge, concerns the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn and whether he should  stay or go? The debate is excitable in some quarters. The conduct of the debate is attracting attention.

Let's begin with harassment. I have not the slightest doubt that this is happening, but I can honestly say I have not had to deal with any. I do have debates with those who disagree with me, but I see that as healthy - providing it is respectful.

No-one recently has called for me to resign, and it would be a futile call in any case. I am going nowhere. Of course, my views (which can neatly be summed up by my stating I supported Liz Kendall's Leadership challenge last year) attract derision from some; they also attract applause.

I regret that are having a leadership contest at the moment. I respected last year's result, and feel that Corbyn should have had at least a year in the job.  However, having only attracted 19% in a vote of no confidence I think that he has to go. I am amazed that he thinks he can still lead.

Whoever wins this time, including Jeremy, will get my support. I think all of us in the Labour movement should respect party democracy. This does not mean that no criticism should be allowed; au contraire. I was a fan of Tony Blair, but disagreed with a number of things that he did.

I am waiting to see who is on the ballot paper, and what they have got to say, before I publicly announce who I will support. I can say that it won't be Jeremy. It is not his politics that worries me but rather he inability to lead. He must be able to command the support of a significant majority of his MPs and MEPs, in my humble opinion. He also carries a lot of baggage, and his record of loyalty to previous leaders is so woeful  that he cannot complain about the actions of most in the PLP at the moment.

One thing is clear - we have to have a Labour Government. I urge all to vote for the person they believe is most likely to make that happen. Do not vote for who you personally like, but rather choose someone who will appeal to the widest spectrum of voters.

Tacking to the left may be admirable ideologically speaking, but it is doomed to failure electorally.

However, I repeat: I will support whoever wins, and I urge comrades from all wings to do likewise. Division only aids our opponents. Let's have this debate, then move on to trying to get back into power to help those who need us.

And, let us respect all the many shades of socialism and social democracy that the Labour Party encompasses. True socialists show respect.

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