Jeremy Corbyn to become ‘very inclusive’ leader, stands for ‘real change’ – Labour MP
RT: How do you explain this extraordinary win?
Richard Burgon: Well, I think I can explain this extraordinary win by the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was offering something different. What people are sick of is the same old, same old, tired business as usual politics in the Westminster bubble. And Jeremy Corbyn isn’t offering that, he’s offering something different, something participatory. And he’s offering an alternative economic strategy. I think that’s what has attracted the hopes, aspirations, and energy of so many people across the country.
RT: Now, a lot of concern now about what happens next going forward – will Jeremy Corbyn be able to command the authority of the Labour party? Lots of people saying that they will refuse to serve in his Shadow Cabinet. What’s going to happen next?
RB: Well, the thing is, he does have the authority of the Labour Party, in that he’s just won by an unprecedented number of votes. He has the support of the Labour party in the country. As for the parliamentary Labour party, there’s now time for everyone to work together and unite against a common enemy, which is the Conservative government and what they’re trying to do to ordinary people across the length and breadth of Britain. I think Jeremy’s going to be a very inclusive leader. I think that MPs will find themselves listened to. Like in his speech, I was pleased to hear Jeremy saying positive things about each of the four leadership candidates, and now I think it’s time to unite, and take the fight to the Tories.
RT: Now, lots are saying, or Jeremy Corbyn himself just speaking recently, about attacks in the media against him, against his campaign, against his politics. Why do you think the media has responded in this way to his leadership candidacy?
RB: I think some sections of the media, not RT of course, are being unfair in the way they’ve treated Jeremy on his policies, and even intruding upon the lives of his family. And that’s because certain elements of the big business-backed right wing press don’t like real change. They don’t want people to vote for real change, and Jeremy and his policies do represent real change – and that’s why they see him as their enemy.
RT: How are they going to explain this away now? Three month ago he was unelectable as a Labour leader.
RB: So they say, but, I mean he has the biggest majority of any MP in the House of Commons. He has a 30,000 majority. So I think it’s funny when people say a man with 30,000 majority is unelectable. People said he wouldn’t win the Labour leadership election – he’s won it. Some people are saying he can’t win the next General election. I don’t believe them. I believe he can, and will, prove them wrong. For Jeremy, another reason he’s different, it’s not about him – it’s about all of us. It’s about everyone who’s been involved in his campaign, everyone who supports the need for these policies. It’ll be a different type of leadership, a collective leadership, a collegiate leadership. I think people find it refreshing. People are sick to death of the way politics is done at the moment.
RT: But lots of people, I guess, more to the center in the Labour Party, worry about going to what they say are the “Dark days of the 80’s,” when Labour literally wrote its “suicide note,” as it was known, in one of the election manifestoes. How does Jeremy Corbyn now gather a Shadow cabinet? Who is going to serve under him?
RB: Well, I’m sure he’ll have a mixed team with him, an inclusive team, and a team that’ll work well together. And I do think that Jeremy’s approach will be so inclusive, that some MPs, who don’t agree with some of Jeremy’s policies, will find themselves listened to and heard more, than they did under previous leaders, who they agreed with more.
RT: Do you think this is part of a wider trend that we are seeing in Europe as well, with a shift to the left in terms of politics? Some people have called it “A Syriza moment.”
RB: Well, I think that people are sick and tired of the same old, stale economic orthodoxy, which has ruled the roost in Britain, by and large, for the last 35 years. Neo-liberal economics isn’t working for ordinary people. Home ownership now is less than it was in the early 80s. And I think that people in my own constituency, for example, somebody that leaves university now at the age of 21 has less chance of a well-paid stable job than someone who left school at fifteen 40 years ago. Something’s going wrong, and so people are looking for alternatives, an economic alternative. And that’s what Jeremy and his policies and his team are going to offer.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.