We must respect Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate and be loyal to the party, say Corbyn’s loyalists, loyal to the man who has voted against his own party more often than David Cameron. Actually, I agree with them, precisely because of the mandate he has received. It’s undeniable. Whilst Labour has driven off the cliff, for today and tomorrow and maybe a bit longer, Corbyn rules the roost.
As ever, the far left celebrates as senior figures other wings of the party declare they cannot, in all conscience, serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, but that is how the far left are. They always enjoy the defeat of those who are nominally their fellow comrades far more than they do defeating the Tories. But there are a couple of points here. No one is obliged to stand for the shadow cabinet and who can blame someone who has such major disagreements with the new leader for not serving in his cabinet? They’d only have to resign from the shadow cabinet over some issue or other, quite probably within a week. What’s the point of that?
It is hilarious that Corbyn is regarded as something “new” or “fresh”, but what is undeniable, along with his mandate, he is very different from the vast majority of MPs in the House of Commons. He does vote how he likes, never follows the party line and in an age where politicians are as spontaneous as speak-your-weight machines, he has appealed to a certain branch of society. If nothing else, mainstream politicians of the left will need to learn the lessons of what has happened here.
My choice for leader was Andy Burnham. I accept that perhaps his campaign was not the most dynamic or inspirational but as with everyone except Corbyn, the media, including the BBC, didn’t bother to cover any campaign other than Corbyn’s. But he did, somewhat unfairly, come across as being part of the Westminster bubble. I say unfairly because when it comes to “career politicians”, no one comes under that category more than Labour’s new leader himself.
I am certainly not interested in imaginary attempts to oust the new leader, as suggested in some of the right wing newspapers this morning. Whatever reservations many of us have – and mine are, frankly, enormous – regarding the “new era”, but however ludicrous we believe the system was for electing a new leader, we are where we are. End of story.
We’re coming to the end of the election aftermath and all the navel gazing. It’s time to get on with the job of opposing the Conservatives. The job of the new leader to frame that opposition and unite the party around a credible plan for government. I don’t really have an open mind because I have seen this before and it usually ends in tears, but my side lost the argument. When it all falls apart, I will say “I told you so”, but for the foreseeable future, I have to stand to one side and see how it all pans out.