Liberal pundits slam Corbyn pledge to carry on as Labour leader even if party loses election
Jeremy Corbyn’s vow to stay on as leader of the Labour Party even if it loses heavily in next month’s general election has been met with anger by liberal pundits, and relief by some on the left.
Mainstream media pundits and many members of the public were annoyed by the socialist’s comments to BuzzFeed’s political editor, Jim Waterson, in an exclusive interview published late on Monday.
“I love it, I’ve spent my life traveling the length and breadth of this country supporting people and I’m doing it all again,” said the premier hopeful.
When asked however whether claims that his leadership was responsible for the desertion of longtime Labour voters from the party, Corbyn told Waterson that what mattered was not him as an individual.
“What I would say is that is about the party as a whole, the policies we’re putting forward as a whole, and the individual messenger is the person who’s doing their best to put those policies forward. I was elected leader of this party, I’m proud to do it, and I’ll carry on doing it.”
Some commentators were none too pleased with the veteran politician’s attitude.
“When people voted Corbyn as leader they did it hoping he'd be supported by party & then endorsed by electorate. Why stay with neither?” argued Guardian columnist Rhiannon Cosslett.
Corbyn won't quit, he wants a Labour electoral wipe-out to cleanse the Party of internal opponents. Labour MPs should therefore quit him.— A C Grayling (@acgrayling) May 9, 2017
“Corbyn won't quit, he wants a Labour electoral wipe-out to cleanse the Party of internal opponents. Labour MPs should therefore quit him,” tweeted the academic A C Grayling.
And while a YouGov survey of Labour members from last March indicated that 68 percent were keen to see Corbyn go if the party lost an election, some analysts believe his departure would be a far worse prospect.
“If we lose and he leaves, left is gone in Labour forever,” author and University of London sociology lecturer Alex Williams said.
“There is no other option until internal changes take place. Alternatives would be Blue Labour or Husk Blairites. It's tenable if he doesn't resign and there isn't a challenge, or there is a challenge and he wins. We might want a transition to a stronger, more effective leader, but there's no mechanism to get one that isn't right wing.
“Until such a mechanism is created, if you want left-wing politics in Parliament this is basically it.”
If Corbyn leaves and “the party returns to the old way of doing things,” Williams added, Labour could see the same end as its Greek counterpart Pasok and fall into oblivion.
@MissEllieMae We might want a transition to a stronger, more effective leader, but there's no mechanism to get one that isn't right wing— Alex Williams (@lemonbloodycola) May 8, 2017
@MissEllieMae Until such a mechanism is created, if you want left wing politics in parliament this is basically it.— Alex Williams (@lemonbloodycola) May 8, 2017
However, a survey conducted last week by polling company ICM suggests Corbyn’s Labour is likely to suffer a heavy loss. The poll gave the Conservative Party a 22-point lead over Labour, at 49 percent compared to 27 percent in terms of voting intentions.
Perhaps for that reason, Corbyn supporter and the editor of news website Novara Media, Aaron Bastani, was more cautious in his analysis, telling RT that “it all depends on the June 8 results.”
“Fair to say the membership wants him and views him as not having had a fair crack of whip,” he added.
Corbynites on social media seemed to agree, with Twitter user Pam Charles arguing: “Transforming Labour back to representing the majority of people in the UK takes more time than 2 years. I'd like him to stay on right track.”