Monday, 27 June 2016

A call for Unity

The few Labour MPs who have resigned from shadow posts probably think they have the best interests of our Party at heart. I don't agree with their actions but neither do I question their motives. They really think they are doing what's best.

It is ironic that Corbyn is being criticised for weak leadership. He has responded quickly and decisively to Hillary Benn's threat of resignation by removing him from his post and he has shown strong leadership by announcing a new shadow cabinet members quickly.

The EU referendum result presents a challenge to all parties who campaigned to remain in the EU. The results can be broken down along Party lines by looking at how many supporters did the opposite of what the party leaders campaigned for: about 4 out of every 10 Labour supporters voted differently to their party leader, this was similar for SNP supporters. Around 6 out of 10 Conservatives defied Cameron. Surprisingly 1 in 25 UKIP supporters ignored Farage and voted to remain in the EU. If you don't rate Corbyn then fine, but the above figures are incompatible with Corbyn-bashing.

The Referendum is now over, politicians on all sides need to listen to the concerns of voters. The messages sent by the electorate were clear; we don't like being told what to think, we don't feel like have benefited from our  EU membership and we are are uncomfortable with current levels of migration. If any politician hopes to be elected they must address these real concerns, we should learn the lessons of the referendum campaign and respond to these messages; don't preach to voters, be more positive in our messages and don't ignore real concerns over immigration.

Jeremy may not the have been the most loyal of backbench MPs he voted against the Party line on many occasions. He wasn't so loyal to Party Leaders, he didn't organise a coup, and he wasn't in the shadow cabinet but 28 years ago, he voted against Neil Kinnock, when Tony Benn stood for the leadership. What happened all those years ago could be repeated today; the incumbent leader - Kinnock - was re-elected by MPs, Unions and the party membership.

We have to move on and we have to unite, so I do not hold Jeremy's past misdemeanours against him. While I didn't vote to leave the EU there is now an opportunity to shape what the UK will now look like post-Brexit. This work is too important to be left to the individuals who campaigned to leave if we do that, then it becomes even more certain that the consequences of the vote to leave, will fall squarely on the shoulders of those least well placed to deal with them.

If Labour representatives truly had the best interests of our Party at heart, then they need to get more involved in the fight for a fairer United Kingdom and less involved in a fight amongst ourselves.

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