Things are going to be tough, make no mistake about that. Really tough. And yes, there will be moments of despair.
But at least now we have hope, and something worth fighting for.
When I saw a Comres poll earlier today that gave the Tories an 11 point lead do you know what my first thought was? I’m surprised it’s not higher. That might sound odd coming from an ardent Corbyn supporter such as myself. But seriously? Can any of us claim Jeremy’s leadership is going well?
If you are a voter who is anti austerity, anti trident and a huge sceptic when it comes to military intervention in the Middle East, you won’t currently support Labour because, aside from the leadership itself, the rest of the party are pro those things and as soon as they get their leader overthrown – after the Oldham by-election apparently – it will be business as usual. At least that’s what they are forever saying in the news. Might as well stick with the Greens, or the SNP, or continue to not vote at all.
Then if you are a pro cuts, pro trident, pro bombing New Labour type voter, you won’t support Labour while they still have that ‘bearded hard left Mr Corbyn in charge.’ Might as well stick with the Tories.
Due to the level of often disrespectful and outright hostile disunity we have now (remember the disgraceful Jihadi Jez nickname reportedly bestowed on Jeremy by unhappy MPs, or John Manns refusal to express his support for Jeremy on Daily politics?), we are left with the worst of all worlds.
And let’s be honest Jeremy isn’t helping matters. If he’s not refusing to belt out the National anthem while weeping with patriotic pride, he’s not bowing low enough to scrape his forehead on the ground at the cenotaph on remembrance Sunday. And don’t even get me started on his insistence we exhaust all other measures to control IS before bombing in Syria. Can’t he remember Iraq and how well that turned out?
Ok yes, I’m being facetious, but there is some truth in this too. This quiet, sincere man, is being torn to shreds in the media. As if that wasn’t bad enough, not a day goes by when someone from his own party doesn’t hang him out to dry. The latest headline is, Ed miliband says, “Corbyn is an even bigger flop than me,” or something to that effect. To be honest they are all starting to blend into one horrible nonsensical headline that goes something like this, ‘Tristram Umunna Mandelson Mann Danzcuk says if Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t clip his nose hairs by next Wednesday and teach them to sing the National anthem whilst simultaneously chairing a select committee committed to overseeing the abolition of peace and equality, they are going to stage a coup.’
Personally if Labour lose in 2020, especially if this briefing and plotting hasn’t let up long before then, I will hold all MP’s who engaged in it directly responsible. Divided parties never win and they are well aware of that.
I’m not saying for one moment Jeremy is perfect or that he hasn’t made mistakes. Of course he has. He’s only been leader for 10 weeks. But his mistakes are magnified by times a thousand – often with members of his own party turning up the magnification – while his triumphs receive relatively little attention – apart from the attention they receive amongst Corbyn supporters on Twitter and FB.
So with all this bad news how do we keep our peckers up? Here are my suggestions for what they’re worth.
We resign ourselves to how tough this is going to be. We get our tin hats on and dig our heels in, and make stoicism our watch word. After all, we brought this on ourselves. Despite being warned not to vote for Jeremy by pretty much everyone – and their pet dog – we voted for him in our droves. You could say we took the red pill, instead of the blue one everyone was trying to force down our throats. For those of you who haven’t seen the matrix, the red pill represents the real world with all its mess and stress, disappointments and challenges. The blue pill represents an easier, but ultimately less fulfilling life within the fabricated reality of the matrix.
When we voted Jeremy we were setting ourselves up for a rough ride. By voting for a leader who stands for fairness, greater equality and peace, we put ourselves in the firing line of every organisation, corporation, newspaper owner, industry and individual who has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, where the rich keep getting richer, and the wars just keep coming, and the poor in society know their place, and are grateful for any crumbs that are tossed their way. That my friends, is called choosing the red pill.
We try to maintain the same level of dignity Jeremy does. Not only is it the right thing to do, the more we rant and swear and demand deselections, the more we play into Anti Corbyn hands. Whenever we lash out in anger on fb or Twitter, often in response to what I acknowledge can be strong provocation, we become the ‘trolls’ and the provocateurs become the victims. The incident involving Ken Livingstone this week was a good case in point.
Ken had every right to be angry when MP Kevin Jones questioned his credentials to co-chair a defense review, but the instant Ken insulted Kevin, Kevin’s initial rudeness was suddenly irrelevant. That’s why Jeremy tries to drill it into all of us not to get personal or nasty. He knows that’s the moment we lose the argument. It’s hard, but it’s worth trying to remember at all times.
We don’t focus on polls. I know that’s hypocritical of me to say considering I started this post talking about a poll, and I’m often the worst offender, which is why I’m telling myself as much as any one reading this. Polls will depress us. Besides, we don’t want to become obsessed with something that has proven itself to be so unreliable, and changes week by week, even day by day at times. New Labour obsessed over polls and focus groups because they were a weather cock party. Jeremy is a sign post politician, and with our support, will turn Labour into a sign post party.
We campaign. We get stuck in any way we can, whether by joining or setting up a local momentum, going to CLP meetings, or organising morale boosting Twitter storms, or even all three if we have the time and energy. Campaigning doesn’t just get our message out to the general public, it also, just as importantly, brings us into contact with fellow Corbyn supporters – a great source of moral support over the coming months and years.
We join the party if we haven’t already. If all £3 supporters become full members we are lending more power to Jeremy’s elbow, and let’s face it, Jeremy needs all the power he can get right now. We are the reason he stood, so let’s thank him by committing to the party he now leads. Full membership also entitles us to engage more fully in the democratic decisions of the party.
We see this is a marathon not a sprint. We will have bad days, weeks or even months, but we will prevail in the end. Remember how Ed’s approval ratings went up in the short campaign? Well imagine how people will warm to Jeremy once they get to know him. That’s exactly why some sections of the PLP are so keen to oust him long before that happens. At the moment the party is in a state of flux, and let’s face it, some MPs are in a state of shock. But these ’emotional spasms’ (sorry Ben Bradshaw, couldn’t resist) will pass. Debates will be had, decisions will be reached, and eventually we will be able to move forward, presenting a more united front to the electorate. At the moment they haven’t got a clue what we stand for, and even if they do, how long it will last.
Obviously we will never agree on everything, but compared to the mixed messages we are sending the electorate now, our position on most major issues will be clear. And that’s when we will start to lose some voters for good, but gain those who like what we stand for. That’s when we will become that sign post party.
And that’s why it’s so ridiculous for any MP to even entertain the idea of staging a coup any time soon – and when I say soon I mean within the next few years at least. How can anyone judge Jeremy’s leadership against the back drop of so much change and disunity?
Finally we never stop thanking our lucky stars we are going through all this frustration and stress. The alternative – Corbyn losing the leadership, is too horrible to contemplate. If anyone else had won we wouldn’t be going through this angst. We’d be wallowing in despair instead.
So to summarise, yes, things are going to be tough. Really tough. And yes, there will be moments of despair, and huge mountains to scale. But at least now we have hope, and something worth fighting for.