There must be others like me who vote Labour simply because they fundamentally disagree with Conservative policies and not because they belong to a trade union or any other left-wing political group. However, with Jeremy Corbyn having been elected as Labour’s next leader I wonder just how long it will be before some of my fellow voters transfer their support to other parties. Considering that thousands of Labour Party supporters defected to UKIP in the May General Election because they disliked Ed Miliband who is nowhere near as left-wing as the new leader is, then what are the chances of them returning to a party led by Corbyn? Personally, I believe that the Labour Party is better off with someone who adheres to the basic principles of social justice that underpin the Labour Party’s raison d’etre rather than some career politician with their sights set on joining the upper echelon of the Westminster Elite for their own good. I also disagree with those moderate Labour Party members who say that we need to appeal to Tory voters if we are ever to return to government. That is just plain daft. The Labour party simply needs to show that it is capable of running the country better than any other party and it will return to government.
However, Jeremy Corbyn has a lot to do if he is to transform a party that has become synonymous with an out-dated, cloth-cap image of industry and the impersonal bureaucracy of the public sector. A party that over the years has become home to a ragbag assortment of well-meaning individuals who collectively, have very little in common and who can rarely agree on anything. Nevertheless, at the heart of Labour there remains a strong desire to build a fairer, more democratic and decent society in which those who can help themselves to the better things in life are not encouraged to ignore those who are not so fortunate. In his most recent book, PostCapitalism: a guide for our future, the award-winning journalist, broadcaster and film-maker, Paul Mason examines the profound changes in how we now do business and function as societies. How, for example, information technology has not only reduced the work force but has also made it harder to create well-paid jobs which leads to less people in work supporting both the unemployed young and the retired elderly. How non-profit collaborations such as Wikipedia have destroyed the encyclopedia business and so on. However, whilst the author concedes that we now have a chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy, he questions whether we possess the courage to seize it. The fact that only twenty of the thirty-six MPs who nominated Corbyn for the leadership actually voted for him suggests that integrity is as scarce a commodity as courage amongst his supporters as it is his detractors.
Throughout the leadership election campaign and most of his political career, Jeremy Corbyn has been saying similar things as Paul Mason regarding the way we should be doing business and how society should function for the greater good. For example, Corbyn recently pledged to offer a real political alternative to the status quo of austerity and a society skewed towards the super-rich. However, for Corbynomics to become anything more than a good idea, Paul Mason argues that it would have to say realistically what a Labour government would do which is what Corbyn has been doing, quite successfully, over the past few months. It will be interesting to see in what direction the newly elected captain will sail the Labour ship but I suspect that Jeremy will delay leaving port until the waters have calmed. There are already rumours of Labour insiders plotting against Corbyn despite Harriet Harman insisting that the party puts aside its differences and unites behind the new leader. I have no reason to doubt Harriet’s sincerity but her parting words, she retires from front-line politics today, will have fallen on deaf ears. As life-long Labour supporter, Mark Steel, probably said after being expelled from the party for expressing his own views on the election campaign, they need to fucking grow up! However, Jeremy will have prepared himself for the storms that lay ahead and if the way he conducted himself throughout the leadership campaign is anything to go by, I have every confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to navigate a successful course for the Labour Party. However, he may want to keep a close eye on his newly elected deputy and first mate.