Jeremy Corbyn is a determined socialist who maintains the solid support of the overwhelming majority of his party’s half a million members. Corbyn however does not rely upon such support from the majority of his own party’s Blairite MPs and councillors.
So if Corbyn is serious about winning back millions of working-class voters to Labour’s new-found progressive party, he will need to ignore the advice being offered by a handful of out-of-touch Blairites, and instead campaign on a bold socialist program that can electrify the electorate.
There is always time to launch a fightback. Too much is at stake for Corbyn not to do so. But we should be mindful of the unfortunate company he is presently forced to keep. For example, in the Labour Party’s current local election broadcast, two of the four Labour leaders starting alongside Corbyn have been actively involved in opposing Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, these being Leicester’s deputy Mayor Rory Palmer and Sheffield’s very own Councillor Jayne Dunn.
Just days before Corbyn’s first landslide victory which saw him elected as Labour’s new leader, Cllr Dunn tweeted: “Corbyn has never been a team player in the past, or attended PLP meetings so how could he command the respect a leader would need too.” (September 3, 2015)
Or step back in time to last summer when Rory Palmer made the headlines in the local press with the Leicester Mercury running with the headline “City’s deputy mayor calls on Corbyn to go” (June 26, 2016).
As far as Corbyn’s many useless internal critics are concerned, Labour has been helpless in the face of Tory austerity, despite the fact that the government grant that funds local authorities has been slashed by half over the past seven years.
But now these arguments have to cease. For many tiring years, trade unionist and community campaigners across the country have been demanding that Labour-run Councils refuse to carry through further cuts to local services by setting legal “no cuts” budgets with immediate effect.
So far such fighting demands have been resisted. This must change.
Corbyn must now make it crystal clear that Labour will immediately bring a halt to all local service cuts and promise to restore local Council funding if Labour come to power in the general election.
Labour’s aforementioned election broadcast did not make any of these commitment clear, which is a big problem. The task at hand for Corbyn and his supporters is to ensure that his ongoing election campaign stakes out a radical program of socialist transformation which differentiates itself from the distinctly unsocialist political positions maintained by most Labour MPs and councillors.
If Corbyn is elected on such a program it would give him and his supporters a mandate to replace the Blairite rump with democratic, socialist and vehemently anti-austerity representatives of the working-class.
Come and see Jeremy Corbyn and hear about his vision for Britain in person this Saturday in Leicester (May 6) at mid-day: http://www.eastmidslabour.org.uk/jeremycorbynrally