emperor: (Phoenix)
emperor ([personal profile] emperor) wrote2016-09-04 06:18 pm

Corbyn vs Smith

I have a vote in the Labour leadership election (as a registered supporter). I'm still not sure who to vote for, so I figured I'd email the candidates to see if they wanted to address my concerns...
Dear Mr Corbyn and Mr Smith,

Apologies for emailing you both together rather than separately, but that's the way that your emails to me have arrived, all marked "Reply-To" this presumably-joint address.

With a couple of weeks to go before I must vote for one or other of you, I'm still undecided; I'm sorry that this email is mostly about my areas of concern, but obviously I can find a lot about your positive ideas from reading what you've said online!

I was genuinely excited when Jeremy Corbyn was elected to be Labour's leader; I've felt that Labour had been too ideologically close to the Tories for some time, and didn't seem to want to attack the view that austerity was the only way to go, or address the toxic "strivers vs scroungers" rhetoric of the Tories.

I think it's fair to say that Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has not been entirely successful - Labour isn't doing well in the polls, whereas the Tories' leadership debacle has left Theresa May riding high. Some of this is undoubtly down to some Labour MPs not getting behind the leader, but it has become clear that some of that dissatisfaction has
been due to rather clumsy leadership - Lilian Greenwood's comments, for instance, are quite damning, and she's not the only person to have said similar things.

If Labour are to win the next election, we need a leader who can run an effective team in government, as demonstrated by leading an effective shadow team in opposition. I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn acknowledge that mistakes have been made in running the opposition, and some idea both of how those mistakes will be avoided in future and how he will re-engage with Labour MPs.

I've been a European all my life; to me, my European identity is as important as my British identity. I was involved in a local Remain operation, and was devastated when the referendum was lost after a deeply mendacious and depressing campaign. I'm also concerned by the suggestion that that's it, no further debate is to be had about being in the EU. When we lose a general election, we don't just pack up for the next 5 years, we keep fighting for the things that are important, and I want Labour to be campaigning to keep us in the EU. I believe that Britain in the EU is both good for Britain and good for the EU.

Relatedly, we must touch on immigration. Like "benefit scroungers", immigrants have been convenient scapegoats for years. Despite the fact that the best research[1] shows that immigrants from the EU do not drive down wages, increase unemployment, or damage public services, no-one has been willing to stand up and challenge these lies. The referendum result, and subsequent rise in hate crime are a direct result of no-one standing up to say "immigration is morally right and economically beneficial". Racists now think that 52% of the population agree with them, and that is a damning indictment on our politics.

That is why I've been quite concerned why what Owen Smith has been saying about immigration recently[2]. Just as it's unnaceptable to blame people on benefits for our economic woes, it's also unnaceptable to blame immigration for our problems. People can't get a GP appointment because of years of Tory cuts, not because of immigration - and when the contrary suggestion is made, it needs to be clearly refuted. I would like to see clear commitment from Owen Smith that he will not be pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment, and highlighting the benefits that migration can bring to Britain.

I hope to hear from you before I cast my vote.

Yours sincerely,

[livejournal.com profile] emperor
I'll let you know if I hear anything...

[identity profile] wpadmirer.livejournal.com 2016-09-04 06:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Good letter. I hope you do hear from one of them at least.
hooloovoo_42: (Default)

[personal profile] hooloovoo_42 2016-09-04 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Excellent points, well made. I'll be very interested to hear any relevant replies. I hope you get more than just a boiler-plate message, like the one I got from Nick Clegg before the 2010 election.

[identity profile] aiwendel.livejournal.com 2016-09-04 09:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Good letter xx

[identity profile] khalinche.livejournal.com 2016-09-05 10:53 am (UTC)(link)
Good letter.

[identity profile] cobalt-skye.livejournal.com 2016-09-05 05:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Well said, dear chap. What dire times we find ourselves in.

[identity profile] alextfish.livejournal.com 2016-09-06 02:19 pm (UTC)(link)
"Tilting at windmills" seems sadly likely to be accurate (in the sense of "struggling in vain"), but you never know.

It seems to me that far too many Labour MPs have bought into the framework that blames immigrants and benefit scroungers, and can't handle having a leader who doesn't agree with that framework. Which if nothing else provides a tidy account of both Corbyn's strength and his problem. Because how do you lead a bunch of people who stood for the Labour party but have more in common with Conservatives than with the leader and the grassroots?
Edited 2016-09-06 14:21 (UTC)