I can’t vote for Corbyn. I won’t leave the Labour party.

I do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister.

There are lots of ways of saying that and then dodging whether I’d vote Labour if he was our candidate for Prime Minister. I have a good local MP and I live in a safe seat, so really my individual vote is irrelevant. I could hide in such ambiguity. I  don’t want to.

In principle, I won’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. If there was a chance my vote could make that happen, I would vote for another party1.

Why say this openly? After all, loyalty to the cause is one way people in a minority within Labour prove they’re ‘real Labour’. On top of that, I grew up with the memory of the SDP split. That lent a certain resonance to the ‘Cowards flinch and Traitors sneer’ line in the Red Flag.

One reason is I’m sick of being expedient. When I ask people about what’s wrong with my brand of Labour, a lot of what I hear is disgust with how ‘people like you’ treat politics. People tell me my type want to manage the country, rather than lead it. That we don’t answer straight questions. That we spin. That we evade. That we are unprincipled. Cynical. Careerist. Only out for our own self-interest. That we don’t have core values, just electoral interests.

Arguing Jeremy Corbyn is a bad leader merely because he’ll lose only strengthens those suspicions

That’s just politics. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you get beaten really badly. My politics is not just about winning, or smart tactics. It’s about my beliefs.

Another reason, ironically, is that I learned a big lesson from the Corbyn campaign. I saw how enthusiasm for his directness overwhelmed every ‘moderate’ candidate. Sometimes dissenting principle is more admirable than loyal ambiguity.

My dissenting principles mean I can’t support Jeremy Corbyn being Prime Minister.

I believe Jeremy Corbyn’s  leadership is a repudiation of the best of my party, not an echo of it.

No Labour purpose is served by exchanging the social reformism of Griffiths, Morrison, Addison and Harman for the arid slogans of John McDonnell.

No Labour principle is improved by abandoning the popular radicalism of Young, Castle, Crosland and Blair for the impossibilist conservatism of Jeremy Corbyn.

No Labour value is honoured by exchanging the democratic internationalism of Attlee, Bevan and Cook for the pseudo-Marxist grotesque of Andrew Murray or Seumas Milne.

How can I say I believe Jeremy Corbyn would shatter the limited protections our alliances give those threatened by dictators, demagogues and religious extremists, then say I think he’d be an acceptable Prime Minister?

I’m a Labour party member because I believe the principles of the Labour party are my principles.

I can’t vote for Corbyn because of the agenda he wishes to pursue.

I can’t be ambiguous about the gulf  I see between the two.

My final reason is that a lot of people who feel the way I do are leaving the party. I want to show that you don’t have to leave Labour if you can’t support Corbyn.

How can I justify remaining a member of the Labour party while opposing the leader becoming Prime Minister?

The values argument is that the Labour party is more than Corbyn. More than his mandate, even. As I said above, I believe in Labour’s values and programme. Staying in the party will help stop them being abandoned.

The political argument is simple. I want to stay Labour because I believe in the party.

The constitutional argument is that there’s nothing in the rules to say I can’t be honest about my views and be a Labour member.

The Labour party rule book says that to “be and remain eligible”  a member of the Labour party you must:

Accept and conform to the constitution, programme, principles and policy of the Party“.

The principles are defined in Chapter 1, Clause IV, which sets out our ‘Aims and Values’. These haven’t changed since new Clause IV was introduced under Tony Blair. No problem there, then.

The programme is defined in Chapter 1, Clause V, which sets out how we decide our manifesto. Our Policy is defined as proposals agreed by Party Conference.

Amusingly, while I am in full agreement with the current Ch 1, Cl V, the Leader of the Labour party is not.2.

So there’s no ideological or policy issue for me.

What about the political aims of the party? Surely if I oppose Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, I breach the object of the party topromote the election of Labour representatives at all levels of the democratic process‘?

No. I believe Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership retards the election of Labour representatives, and that getting rid of him would promote their election at all levels.

But if I say so loudly, surely I’m hurting the party? Is that acceptable?

Yes, it is. Chapter 2, Clause 1 Para 8 says:

“No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party.”

The paragraph concludes, however:

“The NCC shall not have regard to the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions.”

So I can, and will, say I will not support Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister.

There is, however, a limit to this freedom. Chapter 2, Clause 1, Para 4 says:

“A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate… …shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member.”

I have no desire to support another party. As long as there is a chance Labour does not propose Jeremy Corbyn as the next Prime Minister, I will not support any other political organisation or candidate.

If the Labour party does eventually put Jeremy Corbyn forward as Prime Minister at the next election, I will have to inform the party that I am ineligible to be a member the moment polls open. When polls close, I will rejoin.

I might not be a Labour party member for one day.

Until then, I can do my best to make sure that day doesn’t arrive.

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  1. This doesn’t mean I will definitely not vote Labour. There are circumstances I would vote Labour locally. It’s just I don’t want to use them as an excuse []
  2. His office have briefed that he wishes to replace the NPF, and there are several policies agreed by Party Conference, including Trident and Tuition Fees which he publicly opposes []

69 Responses to “I can’t vote for Corbyn. I won’t leave the Labour party.”

  1. Erica Laine

    A very interesting article, thoughtful and considered. I no longer have a vote, been abroad for far too long, Asia and EU but have a keen interest in British politics. Will vote Labour when the vote is restored to me by the Tory government as I always did. Regardless of who is the leader, but taking the long view, hope JC has gone as leader by then.

    Reply
    • Mukkinese

      The idea of sulking and not voting does not appeal to me, principles or not.

      In what world would Osborne or Boris Johnson, the only other realistic candidates, be a better Choice for P.M. than Corbyn at his worst?

      Reply
  2. Pawel

    I enjoyed reading your article, thanks!

    But I’m curious about which specific policies of Corbyn you disagree with.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy Sutcliffe

    Well argued. I’m 99% in tune with it

    I would however vote Labour on the day as I’d want to keep my local Labour MP.

    But then, like you, I’m not in a marginal that would make a difference.

    Reply
  4. Eileen

    Thank you so much you put into words exactly how I feel. You begin to believe you are the only one out there who thinks like this. I almost went to the Social democrats last time but I just cannot leave the party I love and you make me think ‘Why should I ?’

    Reply
  5. Paul Noble

    My opinion is this..We simply will not win a General Election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader..A Fact..We will not be able to help those people who rely on us.

    Reply
    • Mukkinese

      Is it a fact?

      I am not a Corbynista, I don’t think he is a genius or has any special political view, but he garnered a spectacular win over those who claimed, like you, to know what it takes to win an election.

      The very same people who said over and over that “we must listen to the electorate” and the turned a deaf ear to what the party electorate were saying.

      He drew more attention and support to Labour than any other candidate. I don’t agree with all his polices. So what? No leader has my 100% agreement.

      What they could rely on was that I knew that even a “bad” Labour P.M. is better than a “good” Tory P.M.

      Reply
  6. Ed Patient

    I’m with you. Dan Hodges it seems may be limp and may have left the Labour Party. He couldn’t be more wrongheaded. “Now is the time for all good men (sic) to come to the aid of the party” is more than a typing exercise. I’ve never been a member of the Labour Party till now. I oppose Corbyn and his pro genocide fellow travellers. I despair when I think of his likely proposals for the Economy. I fear that England will become a one party state like Scotland. I can’t vote for Corbyn. I wonder how many congenital Labour voting new members of are like me?

    Reply
    • stanley raffel

      I know from Twitter that Dan respects what Hopi has decided and I suspect Hopi may well respect Dan’s alternative decision. I think they merely differ over tactics since both are offering a form of resistance. My main concern is that (as Dan has argued) most Labour MPs have not really joined the resistance in any effective way even though they have indicated they are more than not happy, indeed really actively disgusted, with Corbyn. They seem to have succumbed to intimidation. They (unlke both Hopi and Dan) are not really practicing or, in other words, affirming their principles.

      Reply
  7. Paddy Briggs

    Those attacking Corbyn always, as here, say it’s his policies they object to. Disingenuous nonsense. In fact the reasons are:

    1) He’s beaten the Establishment and they don’t like it.

    2) He lacks credibility because of his protester past and his non-conformity.

    I am a moderate Labour supporter and I find little in Corbyn’s policy proposals to object to.

    I think that it is unlikely he can win a General Election. But he’s very much entitled to try.

    Reply
    • John Quays

      Paddy, as a Conservative activist, can I just thank the pro-Corbyn Labour group for all the hard work they are doing on our behalf. Corbyn is the Establishment himself, he represents the North London bubble just as surely as New Labour did, in only a slightly different way.

      The Establishment always used to be taken to mean the conservative and Conservative elements of public life and society. I think it’s a silly label but in as far as it still applies, Corbyn Labour has not beaten us and never will. Think on that for a bit.

      Reply
    • Patrick Briggs

      Those defending Corbyn always, as here, say it’s the personal motivations of his opponents they object to. Disingenuous nonsense. In fact the reasons are:

      1) He doesn’t challenge them intellecutually in any way and they like that.

      2) He gives them a warm inner feeling because of his protester past and his non-conformity.

      I am a moderate Labour supporter and I find little in Corbyn’s policy proposals to support.

      I think that, as it is unlikely he can win a General Election it’s our duty to try support the millions who need a Labour government by trying to get rid of him.

      Reply
    • Michael Taggart

      Paddy, you’re right up to a point: we moderates who oppose Corbyn agree that he lacks credibility. Many of us also agree that some of the very few policies he has outlined are reasonable (not me – I think many are unreasonable).

      But we have deep and honestly-held misgivings about his casual attitude to the extreme views of the people he’s associated with, defended and supported over the years – the IRA and the Islamist clerics, for example. And the disingenuous way he has tried to justify this by pretending he has been a broker of peace. These things are important and deeply worrying.

      I don’t trust his judgement in supporting the odious, war-mongering Stop The West, sorry War, Coalition. I dislike his unwillingness to act against the anarchist thugs of Momentum. His work for the propaganda channel Press TV. His judgement in appointing an economic illiterate and apologist for terrorism to the role of Shadow Chancellor. (See also Seumas Milne and Ken Livingstone.) His divergence from the politics of the electorate and therefore his inelectability. His ideological pacifism, which looks anti-Western. His distaste for NATO, which flies in the face of Labour’s internationalist traditions.

      Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow travellers are soft on Bin Laden, Mao, Chavez, Jihadi John, Gerry Adams, Vladimir Putin, Hezbollah, Hamas, Paul Eisen, Carlos Latuff and Raed Salah and they’re destroying Labour. These are hardly trifling, disingenuous concerns.

      Reply
  8. MatGB

    I’d never dug that far into the Labour rulebook, well done for that, makes perfect sense. Question. As worded

    Chapter 2, Clause 1, Para 4 says:

    “A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party

    Doesn’t that mean that you can’t be a member of any external campaigning body, including, for example, Greenpeace, Stop the War, Friends of the Earth, Momentum, Liberty, etc?

    Because that’s how I’d interpret that.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      I think the party defines it only as political organisations which compete or intend to compete with Labour (for example, it’s obviously fine to be a member of the Co-operative Party!)

      Reply
  9. pregethwr

    I don’t think (probably wisely) that you take this to its logical conclusion. As a citizen you have a democratic duty to ensure as good a government as possible governs. If not Labour…

    Reply
    • Melanie Prendiville

      The time has come for all Socialist minded people who vote labour and care about our Country to ignore the young generation of Blairite labour members who should not be in the party anyway. The only thing about the Etonian Tories and Other Public School educated men and women is that they are taught loyalty and no trouble making is tolerated. Once a leader has been chosen by a democratic process you back up or “Shut up”. Unfortunately most of labour MPs behave in the unruly fashion that Margaret Thatcher’s State School system has encouraged. Parents and Teachers are wrong and the “Hooligan” pupils are right.
      Being abusive and critical of the leader is not abusive especially in the current Labour Party. They are destroying Labour – not Corbyn. As I said before – being kind and caring is “Left Wing” being an Extreme Right Wing big mouth “Bully” is acceptable!!!. It is refreshing to have someone like Jeremy as leader of the uncontrollable badly behaved present generation of young labour MPs.
      Melanie Prendiville
      London/Northampton
      CEO Westminster Mortgages 2000

      Reply
  10. June morgan

    I left the Labour Party as soon as JC was elected leader. I have no wish to be a member of his brand of Marxist ideology. i feel that the Labour Party has been hijacked – I well remember the militant tendency and how Kinnock ejected them from the Labour Party.

    Reply
  11. Gary Fox

    Any party member who would rather are a Boris Johnson led Tory Party supported by Ukip instead a Labour government should hang their head in shame. You can make pious didinenuous arguments about policy whilst the welfare state, the nhs, trade union rights and a fair treatment of refugees is esoteric isolationism.

    Reply
  12. Richard smith

    Just having these points of view aired in writing publically hurts the party as it gives the Tories the ammunition of a split and broken party, when are you going to get that doing this is exactly what the Tories want.
    Either get behind the leader or shut up until after the election, at least publically.
    If you have concerns then write to the leadership directly as this childish public spat is getting out of hand and will stop us having any chance of winning in 2020.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Did this analysis apply to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell when we were in government?

      I don’t recall either shutting up.

      Reply
  13. Sean Connor

    So you are more important than the 60% of the Labour electorate who voted for Jeremy Corbyn. You are another member of the Westminster knows best brigade. We have lost the last two elections because we followed the Tory prescription for the economy Austerity. Lets see we had Blair taking us into an illegal aggressive war against Iraq. We had Mandleson lying about with Osborne on a Russian oligarchs cruiser. I think it is time you left. Your ideas have had their day.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Not ‘more important’. I’m a minority in the party, and that’s fine.

      I am however, allowed to express my view that the majority have chosen someone entirely unsuited to being PM, just as a minority under Blair were free to say he was a repudiation of Labour values.

      Reply
  14. chris

    Would you mind spelling out sometime your policy disagreements in a bit more detail? What do you mean by “abandoning popular radicalism” in favour of “impossibilist conservatism”?
    I appreciate that some of Corbyn’s associates leave something to be desired. But in macroeconomic policy, he seems rather ho-hum. What am I missing?

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Very fair point. I’ll try to do that, and try to do it with some positive alternatives, so it isn’t merely a negative critique.

      Reply
  15. Mr Russell Miller

    I would describe myself as more a social democrats than a socialist but I welcome Corbyn’s leadership. The ‘moderates’ have put forward no polices to halt and then reverse the growing concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands And have no programme to stimulate the economy.

    Reply
  16. wb

    Very simple we give Corbyn the next two years to get the Party electable again,if he fails we get rid, should have done the same with Miliband. We are in it to win it.

    Reply
  17. Billy

    Hilarious. A supporter of last place Liz Kendell who is immensely unpopular with Labours own base making claims that the enthusiastic support Jeremy has delivered is somehow hurting Labour prospects. You’re the sort of “Labour supporter” who thinks progress is conceding economic, international and immigration policy completely to the Tories. Just join the Tories

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Corbyn _is_ harming Labour’s prospects. The evidence is clear on both our overall support and his personal ratings.

      But if he was on 60% in the polls, I would not support him. My primary issue is not his popularity. It is that I do not agree with him on fundamental issues.

      Reply
  18. Raymond

    Hmmm. I appreciate the reasoning but I’m not sure it really stacks up.

    I think Corbyn was elected leader so convincingly because Labour people were disenchanted/disillusioned with the Blair/Brown years and saw there was too little to choose between Labour and Tory policies.

    Now Labour has distinctive alternative policies and a whole raft of different faces on the front bench promoting them.

    I don’t think Corbyn is a great leader or orator – never has been, never will be. But he does represent something authentic, principled and consistent.

    I can’t understand people who say they want a Labour Government seeking to undermine him. By all means, beg to differ with some policies, but currently he is Labour’s best hope. Why do the Tories’ work for them?

    It looks likely that his will be a short-term leadership, but if someone can come forward representing the same principles and perform well in the Commons and on TV, then that surely offers a better future and more hope for Labour supporters than a Blair clone committed to a ‘Tory lite’ agenda.

    I think Harold Wilson was for a long time considered too left wing to become PM, but he made it to Downing Street and scored a huge election victory in 1966.

    Any Labour leader is guaranteed a media mauling, but the British public deserve to be presented with a proper alternative left of centre party.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Bluntly, I oppose him because I think he’s wrong on the issues he puts at the core of his political agenda.

      Reply
      • Mukkinese

        Surely even at his worst he is better than the only other realistic candidates for P.M.; Osborne or Johnson?

        Reply
  19. organic cheeseboard

    I agree with Chris up there – without an actual explanation of why you disagree so fundamentally with his view of the world, this post is little more than a bunch of ‘arid slogans’ of the kind you claim you dislike so much – in fact ‘arid slogans’ is itself an arid slogan. I get that you disagree with him on foreign policy, that bit is clear, but everything else is just waffle.

    I’m not especially keen on Corbyn, but man, his opponents collectively make an awful job of explaining why he’s no good.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      that’s fair. I will try to come back to the point about a popular alternative position.

      Reply
  20. Allan Challenger

    Dear Mr Sen

    I am very puzzled by your article. It does not help me understand anything about your reasons for opposing Mr Corbyn’s policies or his – still very much in its early stages – leadership. Phrases such as ‘conservative impossibiism’ obscure more than they reveal (is support for public ownership of the railways or a Green Investment Bank impossibilist?) … Your reference to lists of great figures of the past by whose standards presumably in your view Mr Corbyn pales doesn’t help either…I can quote lists of leftists who have made similarly huge contributions to Labour such from Keir Hardie through Stafford Cripps to Nye Bevan but that wouldn’t achieve very much either.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Again, that’s a fair point. I’ll try to come back to the issues of particular policy/issue disagreements in more depth, and try to combine it with positive proposals I think would be better.

      Reply
  21. septicisle

    Hopi, for those who don’t know, worked on Liz Kendall’s leadership campaign. Or at least I read that in a Graun article, so if he didn’t no doubt he’ll correct me.

    As a rejoinder to Hopi, here’s my story. Despite my politics being far closer to Corbyn’s than the other candidates, I joined the party as a registered supporter and voted for Liz. Why, apart from being terminally stupid? Because I thought she had the best chance of winning the next election.

    Which is one of the many reasons why the reactions to Corbyn from the 4.5%ers, of whom I’m one, so surprise me. They go on about how Corbyn’s supporters are more interested in principle than winning, then set out how they can’t vote for Corbyn and by extension the party. Whoever’s leader of Labour come 2020 will make a better prime minister than Osborne/Boris/May. Is that really so controversial a statement for someone who considers themselves to be on the left to make?

    I think you’ve drawn the wrong conclusions as to why Jeremy won. Yes, directness was a factor, as were his principles; but so too was the impression that he was standing for something while the “moderates” discussed among themselves in the immediate aftermath of the defeat how best to become the Tories in order to beat them. Liz recognised this had been a huge mistake in her concession speech.

    What you’re really doing here Hopi, is as all the cool kids are saying, is virtue signalling, and you know it. Adopting your enemies’ tactics might win you a few battles in the short term, but in the end it will destroy you. You’re indulging yourself, and if that’s what you want, fine. Just don’t expect others who also doubt Corbyn but desperately want Labour to do well as it can regardless to support you.

    Reply
    • Steve Cheney

      You are quite right, and a much bigger man/woman than Hopi appears to be.

      Having supported Corbyn from the off (and pushed for a more robust left-leaning candidate such as Kier Starmer or Dan Jarvis before that), I cannot claim objectivity, but it is just very hard for me to accept the twisting narrative of his opposition, who regarded him as a joke, then declared his supporters “entryists”, and now seem determined to oppose him as party leader even if it drags the whole party down with them.

      I am told that Corbyn got into power because of Tories and others who wanted to wreck the party… and yet who is now threatening to withhold their vote from a party they claimed to support?

      What seems to really really upset Corbyn’s opponents is that, while they endlessly pontificated about how best to get people from outside the Labour membership to vote for the party, consulting polls and focus groups and tabloid headlines… Corbyn just stood up and said what he thought, and boom – he’s roped in huge amounts of cross-party support without appearing to try – and indeed, partly BECAUSE he didn’t seem to be trying so hard.

      For what it’s worth, I think Liz Kendall’s campaign was just as honest as Corbyn’s for the most part – it’s just that the product she was selling was unappealing. British politics is saturated with “centre-right” parties, and the way that Labour is characterised by the right means that they’ll always be the third or fourth choice for right-leaning voters. But Kendall did at least lay her cards on the table. That’s more than can be said for the safe, sanctioned Cooper and Burnham – both capable politicians who inexplicably chose to compete over who could use the most words to say the least about their intentions.

      I don’t know. All I can say is that, when I look at the party’s supporters right now, only one group are threatening to withhold their vote from Labour. And it’s not us “entryists”.

      Reply
      • John P Reid

        Kendall’s campaign may have been unappealing to current members,but it was more appealing to the electorate who we needed to vote for us,to win an lotion
        Entryists IMO joining in bulk with groups paying for their admission to vote out current peopl,with an intention to drag the Labour Party away from,it’s centre left status it’s always had, never mind that the centre ground may have swung to the right in the UK in the last 40 years

        Reply
    • hopisen

      Volunteered, rather than worked, but otherwise, yes!

      TBh, I don’t really know what virtue signalling is, except it seems to be the latest Overton window. So I don’t know whether I’m doing it or not!

      The rest of the comment is v interesting and deserves a fuller response. Will come back to you…

      Reply
    • John P Reid

      Funnily enough, I know another person, who did exactly the same, but they’ve since left, leaving the party in disappointment, rather THan, walking away, and thinking too ones self, I hope the Labour Party destroys itself, is at best a tragic view.
      But the fact the Labour Party has distanced itself from so much of the socially conservative, a spring working class ( I won’t out white, as that character no longer applies to this category) I can’t see labour ever getting back ,so many people in England who fall, into that category, but after the NEC election next May, if the CLPD take a clean slate, and labour first doesn’t have the appeal,to connect to enough members to organize a resistance, then I see groups like the Henry Jackson society, blue Labour and Labour friends of Israel,being purged.
      There’s also the financial trouble labour will be in

      Reply
  22. Steve Cheney

    To me, it seems very simple: you either vote for Labour, or you get out of the Labour Party.

    I find it unacceptable, after so many years of voting for the party, for people to talk as if not having the exact perfect leader that they’d ideally have is a good enough reason to help the Tories back into power – which is what refusing to vote for Labour would do.

    Because for so many years, I’ve been voting for the party in spite of its leaders, in spite of its front bench, even in spite of its policies. And in all that time I’ve watched the party dwindle out of electability.

    If I have stuck it out all this time, you can bloody well stick it out now. Because this is no laughing matter. Last time a few overly precious Labour members decided that they couldn’t possibly vote for a leader who was slightly too left wing for them, the result was 30+ years of Thatcherism, and I don’t believe for a second that that was less painful for them than Michael bloody Foot in power.

    The same is true now. Oppose Labour because of Corbyn, and you will be supporting Cameron, Osborne, Boris bloody buggering Johnson… in what bizarro dimension could that possibly be preferable to a Labour Prime Minister of ANY kind?

    Yeah, that’s it really. There’s no excuse. You either vote Labour and deal with the fact that it’s not 100% perfect, like the rest of us have been doing for the last couple of decades, or you stop pretending to be a Labour supporter who just can’t bear to vote for them. If you think the Tories in power is better than Labour in power, you shouldn’t have been in the party in the first place. The end.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      My politics have been pretty much aligned with one leader of my party in my life. (He happens to be the only one who won a majority, but that’s by-the-by.)

      I’m more than happy to support leaders I don’t agree with on many issues – from housing policy, welfare policy, deficit policy, immigration (where I’m very ‘left’). That’s part of normal political debate.

      I’m not able to support leaders I have fundamental disagreements on over issues like national security and core economic issues like free trade and printing money. Because these issues are so basic, I don’t think someone with the views Corbyn has would be a suitable Prime Minister. It would be dishonest to say otherwise.

      To me, it’s a bit like if the Tories elected Hollobone or Davies as leader. Many Tories would find it impossible to say they should be PM. That wouldn’t make them suddenly loyal to Ed Miliband or Gordon Brown, or indeed Labour supporters at all.

      Reply
  23. Carl Gardner

    You mention that you “believe in the party”, Hopi—and I think this is the key to the stay/go argument.

    I’ve been struggling with whether to stay or go for a while, and have still not resolved the issue. But I’m likely to go soon, and am certainly not a committed stayer like you.

    By the way, my objections to Corbynism are a mixture of both disagreement in principle *and* conviction that it can’t win. I disagree in principle with Corbyn’s global outlook, which is basically “Britain’s bad, stop the west, whatever you’re talking about, America and Israel are the root cause”. To the extent that Corbynites campaign for good things (better housing, more rights at work) they will never win to be able to do anything about them. And on some things there’s a mixture of wrongness and hopelessness like on the vacuous “anti-austerity” stance, which seems to have abandoned Keynesianism in favour of a belief that all public spending increases are “investment” and therefore good, and all cuts bad, regardless of the state of the economy. Except when it comes to defence where all cuts are good if the unions will accept them.

    What distinguishes me from you is that I’ve lost my belief in the party, and am starting to give up hope it’ll ever come back. Labour has done some great things in the past, not only but most obviously from 1997-2010. But even during the good times, those things seemed to be achieved in spite of the party, not because of it. My London CLP back in about 2001 seemed very much dedicated to opposing the Labour government, for instance. I remember an idealistic new member being sent to Labour conference and (without having been mandated to vote either way) getting a roasting for voting with the government on pension policy.

    I think in Corbyn’s victory we’ve seen all the worst traditions of Labour come together, and all the best traditions and people put to rout. I’ve no intention of voting for any other party, but Labour is now fully as awful as the Tories, LibDems and Greens, and its leader is the worst of all possible near-future PMs (out of a bad and worrying bunch). I simply cannot vote Labour, or ask anyone else to do so.

    Most significantly, I find it hard to see how Labour recovers. In May, I thought the real danger—the worst that could happen—would be for Labour to lapse into yet another bout of mushy, continuity Brown: fake unity, based on worn-out clichés approved by Len McCluskey, and the certainty of electoral defeat. It now seems it would be a miracle if Labour could even get back to that hopeless, uninspiring place by 2025.

    So my faith in Labour’s drained away. We had a good speech by Hilary Benn. Otherwise, what? I want a definite visible internal resistance to rally to, urgently, or I’ll be off too. I’m not interesting in supporting a generation of cautious people while they build careers, slowly taking a low profile in the hope of inheriting one day. I will support genuinely courageous, principled people who are prepared to take a big risk, and make a noise now. If I can’t see and hear them, then there’s nothing in Labour *to* support, so let’s forget it.

    I’ll see in the new year. I hope Labour doesn’t die, and by some astonishing turn of events soon falls in love with someone sensible like Liz Kendall who could actually lead it to more achievements. But I doubt it, and I’ve got a feeling leaving it may be a sort of liberation.

    Reply
    • hopisen

      This, like Septic Isles comment above deserves a far fuller reply. Will come back to this, I promise.

      Reply
    • P

      Spot on comment. I was a £3 joiner but joined with the intention of voting for a moderate (as a occasional Labour voter who has drifted rightwards with age). Sadly there were not enough people like me. (Indeed I suspect that the problem for both main parties is that their support bias are full of zealous supporters and not pragmatic swing voters).

      I left the day when Jeremy Corbyn got elected. This was not just because Jeremy got elected (bad though that was) but because my local Labour MP tweeted “Jeremy has touched a chord amongst people who know that there is something fundamentally wrong with the direction our country is heading. Now is the time for the Labour Party to focus on kicking the Tories out of power. Please join us to help bring the change Britain needs.”.

      This annoyed me for a number of reasons.
      1. It seemed hopelessly naive at best or (at worst) indicated tacit support to a hard leftist candidate which I couldn’t agree with.

      2. Base assumption (Labour better than the Tories) didn’t seem true to me because I struggled to see a Corbyn led Labour as substantially worse than a Cameron or Osborne led Tories (in fact quite the opposite).

      3. it showed that despite his initial support for another candidate (and presumably awareness that a hard leftist wouldn’t be an effective and electorally successful leader) he had not intention of making a stand (and subsequently took a junior post).

      Ultimately I felt that if somebody as senior as my local MP wasn’t going to make a stand or show principles that I agreed with, I was clearly in the wrong party. I suspect that Tories will now win the next election and frankly as things stand I can only see that as a good thing!

      Reply
  24. atkinson

    It would be great if instead of examining the labour party you started to advocate policies for the country ………I don’t like Tristram but at least he is talking about issues we should address not in a solipsistic drone about the labour party and its entrails.

    Reply
  25. Brian Swift

    I agree with everything you say but am leaving the party after 30 years of membership. We barely survived the Bennite madness of the early 80s and now those very people are in the driving seat. I have no intention of being in the back seat while Corbyn drives the party off an electoral cliff. As people keep telling me “it’s not your party anymore so sod off and join the Tories”.I’ve fought the Tories all my life as an activist so I won’t be joining them. but the “sod off” bit is very appealing.

    Reply
  26. Terri Paddock

    This is brilliant and perfectly encapsulates my current state of mind. I will stay because there are so many good people in the Labour Party and it – pre Corbyn, at least – is the party that most closely represents my values.

    If we non-Corbynites asked him to resign for the sake of the party and country, any chance he may just go?

    Alternatively, can we not help embolden the MPs to organise a vote of no confidence?

    Reply
    • Mukkinese

      A vote of no confidence will not work, he will just win again in the next election.

      He has had several months of monstering by the Tories and the might of the press, aided and abetted by members of his own party and shows no sign of any weakening of resolve.

      Like him or not, he has a remarkable ability to stand up to a huge amount of aggressive personal abuse.

      Reply
  27. Alasdair

    Nice post Hopi, the one we’ve been waiting for. Kudos for standing by your principles.

    For my part, I’ve voted Labour before but not been a member of the party. I signed up as a registered supporter this year specifically to vote against Corbyn. Since he won, I’ve considered actually joining as a member to try to help retake the party, but I haven’t the energy and commitment for it; and besides, joining the party now would send precisely the wrong message. Instead, I’m going to join the very day Corbyn quits as leader, and not before.

    I’ll still be voting Labour in London next year though. Sadiq Khan’s a decent enough bloke and I’m not going to hold his nomination of Corbyn against him.

    Reply
  28. Newman

    Hmm thought I commented , perhaps I am banned

    I`m glad to see you have not yet been purged Hopi. I did wonder and for what its worth I like you and I have felt sorry for you and anyone else who is in your position.
    I have two questions that have been glowing in the back on my mind for a while
    1 It is not entirely clear to me that a “Blairite ” differed much form Corbyn other than in tactics ” . If Corbyn is beyond the pale then why was Ed Milliband exactly what the country needed ? Their polices are very similar and Burnham is pretty much on the same page in a Northern accent
    I would certainly be highly interested to hear what you have to say about that . You won`t be surprised to know that I find the idea that Blair was” right wing” utterly mystifying.
    The increases in spending under Blair were horrifying / lovely depending on your point of view but vast either way
    2 I am not convinced that you can stay in the Labour Party and disagree so profoundly with its leader and its members and my problem is this . The Labour PLP cannot go on winking to the camera when they are asked to defend Corbyn or speak personally, as if that mattered. If you are speaking for yourself then… why are you speaking at all ?

    You do address this but I wonder if you realise how it looks quite to have ( let us say) Caroline Flint berate Trump on QT as absurd when she is led by a man who has supported terrorists , chummed up with Hammas would leave NATO ditch America and invent an East German planned economy and presumably renege on our mountainous debts the existence of which he denies .

    Reply
    • hopisen

      Just the spam filter being unduly harsh. Apologies to all who have had their comments delayed.

      Reply
  29. hopisen

    Just to say I’ve got a fair bit of work on at the moment, so will be slow in replying to comments. Apologies!

    Reply
  30. Jane

    I was a member for 45 years and stuck with the party through the 1970/80’s given the antics of the extreme left and the 1983 Manifesto which was abhorrent to me. Everything that is happening at the moment I have experienced before. Attempts to take over the party machine, bullying of MPs who disagree with the hard left agenda and policies that would have left the country bankrupt. Never again………..

    I would be very frightened if Mr Corbyn entered Downing Street and even more frightened if Mr McDonnell were Chancellor.

    1. I would feel unsafe as a citizen as I would not trust the government to protect me.

    2. I would fear for my pension and investments. Anti austerity (what austerity I ask) would lead to more borrowing, higher debt, higher interest payments, exchange rate crash. Printing more money would do the same as it would result in inflation etc. How many investors would be willing to hold UK debt if this occurred.

    3. Renationalisation. I am totally opposed to Royal Mail being re nationalised. I am very happy with the service I am getting thank you and would not wish you to spend my taxes in fulfilling your aims.

    4. I cannot cope with someone telling me that all the world problems are caused by the West. i loathe the fact that someone who wants to be PM has supported terrorist groups. I loathe that an organisation he was involved with has condoned violence by terrorists.

    5. I have no time for those around Jeremy Corbyn such a s Mr Milne I have followed him for years and am well aware of where his sympathies lie.

    Mr Corbyn is only in touch with the young idealists (I was once one) and hard left networks which include some older people. He keeps mentioning his supporters and seems to use these as a weapon against his MPs. Bullying tactics and totally ignoring the millions of people who voted for labour but who are not members whom MPs also need to consider.

    It is a nightmare. He is not up to the job and for someone who by all accounts is a nice man, his words and threats to the PLP and demand for loyalty(hilarious) belie this assessment. He is not going away – I have.

    Reply
  31. Newman

    By the way as a Conservative (pro Europe if that gives you some idea ) I`d just like to mention that I thought Liz Kendall was an exciting and engaging politician. She gave one or two inspirational interviews .
    Old gnarled and hopeless as I am I would probably vote for a tolerably presentable Dachshund in a blue rosette but she would certainly have had wide appeal and tempted many more open minded voters.

    That is where Labour had to be to win but now , if Corbyn resigned and young Liz was ushered to the throne room the sad truth is there is now lot further to go .
    The cat is now out of the bag on what the Labour Party is and if you have ever tried to put a cat into a bag ..or box ( to go to the vet) you will appreciate there will be blood you manage it .

    Reply
  32. Angela

    I decided to leave, again. I only rejoined after the general election in the hope I could vote for a sensible leader, I did vote for the most sensible, from my perspective, but they lost.

    The tipping point for me, and the moment when I decided to send that email, was when they announced new guidelines on social media, as I felt this was the beginning of silencing opposition within, and there would be a point where I was going to be told I couldn’t criticise the leader, within the party, which is an absurd situation, as many of those now supporting Corbyn used to whinge about Blair all the time, when he was leader.

    I can’t see where the party is heading, I am dismayed by the mistakes that allowed Corbyn to win the leadership in the first place, and feel very strongly that if a political party is so inept that they can allow this to happen then how can they argue they are capable of running the country? The leadership election was a complete mess, it went on far too long, I found myself wasting far too much time arguing with Corbyn supporters, and it was just pointless. They all seem to hate Blair with a degree of irrationality that is absurd.

    Perhaps the digital age has killed the labour party, admittedly they should have thought about how irresponsible it was to let anyone pay £3 to vote in their leadership election, but in the end its now far like easier for minded individuals to gather together within Labour.

    There are aspects of the party I didn’t like, but in the end it has always been the least worst party to vote for, and be a member of, but I just could not vote for Corbyn. There are things he believes that I profoundly disagree with, and I am not happy that there are Labour Members of Parliament who are happy to support a man that is so enthusiastic about the STWC.

    There was a strange moment in the leadership campaign where Andy Burnham said party came first, and Liz Kendall corrected him and said country came first, but in my view those who campaign for Corbyn to become prime minister put party before country.

    Labour insulted the voters when they chose Corbyn as leader, people who vote for a political party do so as an act of faith, in the belief that they will run the country the best that they can, Labour has betrayed its voters who trusted them.

    Reply
  33. Mukkinese

    “I won’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. If there was a chance my vote could make that happen, I would vote for another party”.

    So rather than see a labour party that is somewhat different than the one you want in power you would rather the Tories remained in government?

    Because there is no other party capable of taking power under the present system.

    You have given a long and detailed account of why you do not want Corbyn as P.M., but it all boils down to this, if you do not vote for Labour then you are helping the Tories stay in power.

    You might not like that, it is not fair, but it is the reality of the situation…

    Reply
  34. Newman

    One problem with the left is that its moderate end have allowed collectivism as the highest ideal to go unquestioned while they made a presumably grubby deal with the forces of evil.
    What we see is that a quasi-religion has grown in the dark .
    This collectivist religion has a creed and it is that the individual is only properly employed as part of the whole . A heroic ideal, as it was called in pre-war Germany and the seed bed of National Socialism.
    By its dogmatic rules Hopi cannot admit that the fact that anyone wishing to be Labour MP is stuffed; is a factor. Of course it is, and quite rightly. Right to be ambitious, right to wish to be electable , right to wish to leave a mark, right to want to be well paid and successful . I don `t say that the obvious absurdity of Corbyn’s ideas isn`t an enormous hurdle for anyone with Hopi`s thinly disguised and charming intellectual, vanity , but here he is trying to out-holy the holy ones.
    You can never do that

    At the considerable risk of being horribly pretentious, what I see form Corbynites is a counter renaissance as ( I think) Mussolini put it. Nazism has been associated with Nationalism but at a deeper level it is a quasi-religious commitment to the idea of the heroic life as a part of the whole . The higher ideal as it were. These endless bawling droogs with their miserable self-righteous certainty reek of Fascism to my delicate nose .

    The moderate left cannot truly return until they start to attack collectivism as the highest and most heroic ideal . The rights of man, the Western discovery , the Renaissance individual as hero, they must regain confidence in that Liberal ideal and understand the deep and frightening reasons for Corbyn`s hatred of the West.

    Reply
  35. Harry Barnes

    The next General Election is a long time away. If Jeremy is still leading the Labour Party at that time, will he still be the person whom you can’t see yourself voting for ? There is at least one clear change to a strongly held long-term view which he has made already. He is now for us staying in the EU. Hopefully his new stance will be clarified in time. For the EU still needs massive reforms, so that it becomes a democratically controlled body, with a social agenda. These, of course, should be Labour’s objective internally within the UK also.

    So might we not see other shifts as time passes ? When for the first time in his life as an MP, Jeremy sees the real chance of achieving things on the national and international stage he might compromise on some of his past commitments.

    I appreciate, however, the claim that no matter how good your local Labour candidate is that a vote for that person will also be a vote for the Labour leader. When I stood once, a constituent from Clay Cross who had just had his works closed down thank to the failures of Blair and company asked me – “How can I vote for you Harry, without voting for Blair?”. I knew that I could not answer that one. Nor could Jeremy have really done so.

    Reply
  36. Bert

    Has he been sulking all these months past? Dry your eyes and come back, Sen. I want to see your views on the up coming Tooting by-election. Could be a tight one.

    Reply

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