I must ask the question of who is speaking for liberal Britain right now?
It certainly isn’t the SNP who only ever come south of the border to talk about the hateful English and push forward a nationalistic agenda, and yet they sadly still provide a more coherent and passionate opposition to the Conservatives than Jeremy Corbyn’s demoralised party can.
During her many speech’s about Scottish independence Nicola Sturgeon will repeat the self-evident fact that the Labour Party has collapsed, leaving the Conservatives in power until an estimated 2030. This blatant attack on Labour will pass unchallenged by its MP’s, they simply don’t appear to have the heart or fire to fight for themselves any more.
When Philip Hammond delivered his first budget as Chancellor he took the opportunity to take declare that the previous Labour government would be last Labour government. Indeed the prevailing opinion among Conservative MP’s right now is that there is so little pressure on them from the Labour opposition that it feels very much like there is no opposition. And that’s a sad state of affairs in any democracy.
Corbyn was elected thanks to an intense and far reaching left-wing campaign, and yet so many people who once cheered for the man have given up and deserted him. People like Owen Jones and Charlotte Church heralded him as the inspirational leader the country needed, and yet now they have all silently drifted away from someone who turned out to be nothing but useless and divisive for the party. Even Simon Fletcher, the man who masterminded Corbyn’s rise to the top of Labour, has quietly walked away.
We could have predicted Corbyn’s leadership from the beginning, seeing it as nothing more than what it turned out to be, a failed coup from the left. Corbyn’s ideological obsessions have made him ill-equipped to be leader of the opposition, and most certainly to be an aspirant prime minister. Yet even ignoring his ideological standpoints there is absolutely nothing in his past as an MP to suggest this constant rebel is able to organise and unite his party, let alone create and potentially enact transformational polices. Corbyn was, and still is, steadfast and determined in his desire to recast us into a social democracy, he does not understand the post-liberal nature of British politics as it currently stands, and he lacks the ability to change it.
Of course I am not blaming the demise of Labour on Corbyn alone, it’s descent into its current state of irrelevance has been a long time in coming, Corbyn and his left-wing grass-root supporters have accelerated that decline.
After the devastating defeat of Ed Miliband and Labour in 2015 it was only natural that party activists were despondent and seeking some radical new alternative. Corbyn was unapologetically socialist and was openly proud of his many years rebelling against his own party from the back benches. He’s a passionate anti-capitalist who appealed to a vocal group of supports who value stubborn principle over pragmatism and logic. Corbyn did not speak to the majority of traditional Labour supports, instead his rise to power came from a new influx of left-wing members drawn quite considerably from students who were disenchanted by the rising cost of tuition and were delighted to see a politician speaking out against the political establishment.
Corbyn became the poster boy for the long repressed left of the country. For too long people felt oppressed by David Cameron’s England, Labour activists were sickened by the uselessness of their showing in the general election and they were looking for an alternative and believed that Corbyn could provide it.
To give him his due Corbyn knew what he wanted to achieve and spoke about his goals and desires freely, very much at odds with his often times tortured predecessor. Corbynism, as it came to be known, was meant to become a new kind of politics, an altogether gentler, kinder, and more progressive approach to the often stagnant world of British politics. Yet what’s become abundantly clear about Corbynism, aside from its dysfunctions and incompetence, is its intellectual mediocrity and its absence of ideas. It’s as if Corbyn no longer has anything of any real substance left to say.
As Abraham Lincoln once famously said; “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and sad to say but Labour is fatally divided both in parliament and out. If it continues as it is Labour cannot stand, the MPs do not want the leadership and the leadership do not want the MPs.
Corbyn is no doubt a man of honour, but he is far from a leader, he’s a rebel, he’s not someone to rally behind. He has failed to unite the party and he has failed to provide what he promised to those who raised him up from a back bench rebel to a possible prime minister.
This grand experiment of Corbynism has become a failure, and the electorate can smell that something is becoming seriously wrong with the Labour party. What’s more concerning to many is that Corbyn either doesn’t notice his own failings or he simply doesn’t care enough about his party to step aside and allow someone more competent to come forward and heal the rifts.
With Brexit fracturing many in the UK and dividing the electorate we need someone who will be a voice of opposition to the government and encourage debate and criticism where and when it is due. That categorically is not Corbyn, Labour need to unify behind somebody else but until Corbyn acknowledges he is not right for the job they will continue to decline into obscurity.
So the question remains, who will speak for Liberal Britain?