The experiment is over Jeremy, step aside
Harmony is a long-time Labour activist who supported Jeremy Corbyn but now says it’s time for him to go.
Labour is a living, diverse movement, not a fixed, dogmatic cult. The experiment is over and it’s time for Jeremy to step aside.
It’s increasingly ludicrous (not to mention divisive) to dismiss what’s happening to the UK Labour party leadership as a Blairite careerist coup. Quite apart from the sheer number of shadow cabinet members to go – from across the political “spectrum” – and the resounding result of the no confidence motion, anyone listening to Angela Eagle’s emotional testimony on the World at One yesterday will be in no doubt as to how difficult and sincere her decision has been.
It’s tempting to reduce all opposition to self-interest, to disregard genuine concern as plot. Of course it’s possible some act out of self interest, but when will politics ever – just for a moment – give those who disagree with us the benefit of the doubt?
My very wise dad repeats that we shouldn’t impute motives. And I (try to) keep that in mind. So I won’t here.
I will say, however, that it’s always possible people act from principle not mendacity. And, whether you agree or not, we are all members of the same party. The same party. A wonderful diverse, jumble of comrades with a common endeavour.
The paucity of respect, tolerance and love in the party over the past few days is not representative of our values. As a member who joined aged fifteen, I hope you’ll forgive the hyperbole, but it’s breaking my heart. It happens so quickly and easily. The name-calling. The myopic reductive accusations. The vitriol. The trenches.
Be careful of each other. Only last week we had more in common than that which divides us. We still do. And if we can’t remember that as Labour Party members, who will?
And so, to the “coup”, the “plot”. No plotters (whoever they are) so far have sent me a whatsapp message, so I can admit: I act alone.
I will also admit: I decided to give Jeremy a chance. He wasn’t my first choice, but with such a clear mandate from the membership, I wanted to support his leadership.
If we must deal in reductive labels, then, cringe, I’m a left-wing pragmatist. But I had a couple of months of what can only be called disillusion. I felt an increasing distance between the political ruling elite and communities. I witnessed the persistent infantilisation of “real” people by well-meaning, but out of touch politicians. I was upset by the casual contempt with which the membership was held by some at the top (by no means most it must be said).
It all meant I, like so many, was captured by the thought that something different might shake up the party – maybe even wider society – and allow a new (I personally hoped, female) leader the space and ground to emerge strongly. I saw how Corbyn’s campaign mobilised members and wondered if that energy could translate into a force for good in our party.
And stop. I won’t go into why the last ten months have been so profoundly disappointing for me, nor what mistakes I think were made. Including by me. Because, regardless of all those arguments, failing to command a parliamentary party and continuing to lead is utterly impossible.
MPs are stewards of the membership. They were selected by members and then elected by the wider public (you know, all those confounding people we need to vote for us if we are to govern?). Of course they have a mandate to act.
So, Dear Jeremy,
Step aside. Or, If you really must, stand your ground, and allow the membership the chance to give you a sound, secure basis to lead us into what will certainly be a general election before the year is out.
I don’t want a UK leadership contest. It’s the last thing I want when we have a political vacuum the size of, well, Europe, and horribly uncertain times both domestically and internationally.
I don’t want a UK leadership contest.
But I do want a leader.
So please, Jeremy. Some straight talking honest politics: it’s time to see the bigger picture, remove the trenches in the Labour family and put up the best fight we have to stop a Tory government with no EU to soften the blows.
It’s bigger than one man. And bigger than long-nursed resentments and grudges. The party has to unite and inspire. The last days have shown you are not able to meet the task.
I feel horrible to be in this position: you’re clearly a great guy. I so wanted you to be a great leader.
Yours, a life long member and supporter of Labour governments.