Am I the only Labour member who is getting fed up with the leadership election and the apparent divide that seems to be taking place within the party? I joined the Labour Party because I believe in the core principles of equality, fairness, solidarity and – not to forget – democracy. What concerns me the most is that whilst the leadership contest continues the party is becoming more divided. The left and the right are at loggerheads with one another, which is fine, but what isn’t fine is when it becomes more than just a difference in ideology, but a personal attack.
A few nights ago John McTernan said on Newsnight that the MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn were “morons”, and Tony Blair said that those whose hearts were with Corbyn needed “a transplant”. Blair added that we couldn’t win power if it was on a “traditional leftist platform”. Tony Blair’s comments are starting to sound like a bitter ex member of a band who always feels the need to let everyone know he was the best front man and everyone else is secondary.
I liked New Labour and what we had to offer people back in 1997, and I agree that we have to reach out if we want to be back in power in 2020, but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon our core beliefs in the pursuit of power. One of the things I love about the Labour Party is that we are a democratic party that encourages an open debate between its members even if we disagree. After all, we wouldn’t be the real party of social justice if we didn’t.
What I will never tolerate is anyone referring to members as “needing a transplant” or being “morons” for voting for Jeremy Corbyn. I think Jeremy Corbyn is a fantastic MP and works well for his constituents and is clearly respected by many members in the party. But I won’t be voting for him as I don’t think he will lead us into power in 2020.
A lot of members reading this will be voting for Jeremy, and what I would like to say to them is vote for who you think is the best person to lead and represent the party, and don’t pay any attention to the discouraging words by our former leader and John McTernan who I’m led to believe has a track record that is hardly worth boasting about.
I don’t think anyone in the party is a moron or in need of a heart transplant. We need to stop tearing strips of one another as it’s these actions that are really damaging the party; let’s respect each others opinion. In my last piece I wrote about how Labour is a members’ party, and it’s time that the party remembered that. Chuka Umunna stated that he wouldn’t serve in a shadow cabinet if Jeremy becomes leader. This to me suggests that he is putting his political career before the needs of the party and, to be brutally honest, is an example of why we find ourselves in the situation we are in.
It’s not a case of what the party can do for you but what you can do for the party. If Jeremy does win then people like Chuka, if asked to be a part of the shadow cabinet, should make themselves available. They are there to serve the leader and the party at large. Perhaps I’m just describing the concept of party loyalty, but there does seem to have been a lack of it recently, and it’s really not such a terrible idea.