The poll’s favourite to become next leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, has been criticised for being too left by Tony Blair. If Corbyn won the election as leader in 2020 “it would take the country back” said Blair. It is implied that he drew comparisons to his description of Labour in 1979, when they adopted the theory that the electorate of the time were “stupid” by moving to the left, losing the next three elections to the Conservatives.
One of the other three candidates for Labour leader, Yvette Cooper has also criticised Corbyn’s position, suggesting that if Labour has a swing sharply to the left or right, it may not be seen as credible by those who “depend” on Labour. This matched Blair’s comment that the party would not continue to be a contender to win again from a “traditional leftist platform”, rather it should “move on”, which suggests that Labour will never be able to return to its more socialist roots should it wish to remain one of the two main parties.
The backlash from what appears to be a Labour candidate with ideals that hark back to the time of Labour’s conception is worrying for British politics. A candidate is ready to make a stand against the commonality of the centre ground is being criticised for doing so. It is true that Britain in no longer sympathetic to the ideals of pure socialism, but Corbyn would provide Labour with a leader that has backbone, someone willing to put the party’s ideology first, rather than try to garner votes through appealing to those who sit outside the party’s ideological spectrum.
This week, the acting Labour leader, Harriet Harman called on Labour MPs to abstain from voting against a round of cuts that would, inevitably, go against some of Labour’s ideology. This move prompted disdain from many within the Labour party, even though Harman said she was looking to show the electorate that the Labour party was taking on board their concerns about how the benefits system in the UK is handled.
If Corbyn were to win the hustings and become leader, I would argue that this would benefit Labour and the whole country greatly by providing a legitimate Labour leader to stand for those who hold similar views and to rightly challenge the Tories on issues from a well-founded ideological position.