We need to stop blaming the Labour leader for the Tory car crash, says freelance columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
Since his rise to power in the Labor party, Jeremy Corbyns appeal to younger voters has been firstly underestimated and then often investigated. How is it that, despite his rather lacklustre performance during the referendum campaign, younger voters the majority of members of whom wanted to remain in the European union stubbornly persisted in vote in favour of him in the legislative elections? Labours much-denigrated failure to commit itself to freedom of push is a distressing sellout of his young allies, leads this wire of gues. So why are they chanting his mention at Glastonbury? To some, Corbyns popularity exactly does not compute, even now.
Perhaps an account of my own conflicted sympathies on the Labour leader might shed some light on why, for so many, his Brexit stance is not the be all and end all. Dont get me wrong, I and Im sure many other Labour voters deem Brexit to be the most difficult behave of political self-sabotage in my lifetime, with stark results for my generation and those following it. Were it to be miraculously cancelled I would be over the moon. But theres a sense that some would like everything to be about Brexit and simply Brexit. When it comes to what parties care about in 2017 and vote on the basis of that plainly is not the case.
I assembled the Labor party after the 2015 ballot. I had voted Labour then, despite reservations over asserts it was not the working party for beings on assistances( during part of my childhood my family had been on benefits, and I was already sick to the back teeth of the relentless stigmatising in the media, and find politically homeless as a result of it ). My main reason for voting as I did despite that cowardly programme of compensating lip service to the widespread Conservative-backed demonisation of poor people was that Jeremy Corbyn was my neighbourhood MP. He was anti-austerity, as well as well-respected locally as a dedicated and compassionate constituency MP. I detected able to vote for him with a clear conscience.
After the Conservative victory, I joined Labour. I was devastated by the result, and felt that I needed to be involved in the direction that leftwing politics in this country was taking. I voted for Corbyn as Labour leader( and would do so again a year later ), again motivated by his anti-austerity stance. During this period, Corbyns followers were announced naive and quixotic, but it was clear to me at least that there was something in the air. Momentum was improving. He might be unelectable, I told myself, but at the least he believes in something. And that something happened to be the sort of socialism that I envisaged had vanished from British politics for ever.
A year later, and the referendum decision was for Brexit. The Labour party appeared to be imploding, and I was ferocious with all of them. I was angry at Corbyn for not campaigning as difficult for are a matter of I felt he could have done, and enraged at the Labour MPs for their ruinous attempted coup at a time when they should have been nailing the Tories to the wall for their disarray. Yet again, I appeared politically homeless( because of tuition fees, I would never countenance voting Lib Dem ). This, combined with a general inclination of unease about political relationship not mixing well with journalism I wanted to feel like I could slag Labour off if I experienced they deserved it led to my leaving the party last-place summer.
Now, Im not laying claim to universality here; how any of us come to make decisions considering politics is as complex as it is personal. But I do know that many others I spoke to detected the same way as I did they adore the EU and what it expressed support for, were heartbroken to be leaving, and likewise felt that Corbyns campaigning on such issues left a lot to be wanted. So when another general election was announced simply a year later, many of our exchanges revolved around the question of who the hell we could vote for. And hitherto all of us, ultimately, ended up voting for a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
There were a number of reasons: a genuinely progressive, exciting manifesto; the opportunity for real political change; the feeling that Corbyn was authentic and that he was dedicated to attacking inequality in all its forms, including the growing generational schisms. There was also the facts of the case that the alternative a hard Brexit presided over by Theresa May and an increasingly hysterical rightwing press didnt allow thinking about. What Labour was offering to try to retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union seemed like the realistic, least worst option.
Brexit is a disaster, but it is happening. I may wish more than anything that it wasnt, but I too wonder how one can advocate that legislators can plainly ignore a democratic solution when they so choose. Labour is clearly is conscious that some of its voters also voted for Brexit and is trying to walk a knotty tightrope. As someone who has detected both dispossessed and politically eliminated, I balk at the idea of neglecting these voters, even if I myself believe that their vote to leave was misplaced. Brexit was never exclusively about leaving the EU a year ago, and nor should it be now. That election was as much a cry for help due to the housing crisis, austerity, and a deteriorating NHS as anything else. How can we just ignore that? In any case, a genuinely anti-austerity legislator is the best probability those same parties have at a better life.
I imagine there are quite a few people out there who experience the same as I do. To a limited extent Corbyns hand has been forced by his own party at a time when no one actually even is well aware Brexit will look like. But he is not the one in charge of this mess, and how the Tories gondola crash uncovers will have a significant bearing on the future of the two countries. Perhaps it is to them that we need to turn our eyes.
Rhiannon Lucy Coslett is a freelance writer