I used to be quite well disposed to Jeremy Corbyn. While I disagreed with many of his ideas and policies, I thought he was at least honest and straight forward. I always had the idea he was principled, he has stood up to Blair, rebelling literally 100’s of times against the Labour Party in Commons votes, and, while obviously not up to the job of leading the Labour Party, he was going to give to it a go and try to change how politics is done. He always seemed to be a bit embarrassed by the excesses om the Momentum group but he was too loyal to criticise them publicly.
I was annoyed he hadn’t be more vocal in the Remain campaign (although at the time he professed to support staying in the EU) but, given the way the media reduced the arguments down to a split in the Tory party, it wasn’t surprising. Many other Labour politicians did the same as well
However, my views about Corbyn have changed in the last few months. The Labour Party Manifesto was an uncosted hard-left plan for the future of the UK which ignored the fact that if the UK leaves the EU and the Single Market will mean widespread job losses mostly affecting ordinary workers and leaving the UK economy in a recession that will make the one Labour gave us in 2008 look like mild downturn.
Too many of the policies put forward looked good at first glance but on further examination failed to help the less well-off (the people Corbyn claims t be fighting for) more than richer people. A good example was his plan to summarily do away with Tuition Fees. Pitched as a way of getting more people from poorer backgrounds into higher education, it ignored that (because of the changes made by the Lib Dems to the way the Tuition Fee loans are repaid) we currently have record breaking numbers of such young people at University.
Another area was Corbyn’s pledge to abolish Zero Hours Contracts (where employers do not guarantee any work but only pay for the hours an employee actually works). While there are no doubt many abuses of such contracts by bad employers, they are also very good for some who want to work but (for many reasons) do not want to commit to working a set number of hours every week. Rather than try to deal with the abuses in such contracts (exclusivity, shortness of notice that people aren’t needed, pressure to accept any hours offered, etc), Corbyn though that a short snappy headline was better even if it meant those who want to such contacts (and benefit from the flexibility they give) would be penalised.
Since the election last month, Corbyn has grown stronger and more bold . Labour MPs who have (unusually) been pro-EU and worked hard for the last 2 years in the Remain Campaign have been forced to abstain on votes to keep the UK in the Single Market and sacking shadow spokespeople who ignored Corbyn’s diktat (rather ironic considering Corbyn’s own record).
Then yesterday, Corbyn revealed himself to be nothing more than a two-bit popularist, willing to lie and dissemble just like others in the Brexit camp, just to secure power. Two statements stand out and show him up to be without principle.
Firstly, during the elction campaign, he worked hard to give the impression that not only was he going to abolish Tuition Fees but that he was going to wipe existing Student Loan debts. Agreed, he never said exactly that, just that he would “deal” with it, he left it to others to “expand” on it and say they would do that. Yesterday, he denies ever saying such a thing.
Secondly, he spoke on the Andrew Marr Show about Brexit and said we could not be in the Single Market if we left the EU (ignoring the fact that other non-EU countries are), possibly a genuine mistake or possible a lapse of memory but still wrong and not corrected. He then went on to say “has been used to “destroy” the conditions of British workers“. This directly contradicts the findings of a LSE report on “Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK” that has been available for over a year. One of its findings was “There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers. Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UK born workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.”
By using such inflammatory speech about EU migrants who have come here to work and contribute to our society, Corbyn has shown himself to be no better than UKIP & Nigel Farage. We already have rising violence against people from the EU in many party of the country and Corbyn has, intentionally or otherwise, given yet more justification to those who take part in such racist attacks.
Corbyn is no longer worthy of any respect and, unless the Labour Party and its members condemn his remarks, neither is the party he leads.