Voting for the new leader of the Labour party begins, who is ahead of the race?
This weekend, the voting for the new leader of the Labour party has began. The polls say Jeremy Corbyn is ahead of the race that began after Labour’s defeat in the 2015 general elections, with YouGov reporting he had 57% of the votes last week. Corbyn’s success has pleased many, worried some, and surprised most. The MP of a constituency in the north of London, he has not been a preeminent figure in the party.
- Monday, 30 November -0001
He represents the left-wing minority of the Labourites and speaks to young electors and those who are fed up with the austerity and the politics of compromise.
He has pledged to restore the educational maintenance allowance for college students, allow housing benefit for under 21s, scrap university tuition fees, bring back student grants and introduce properly paid apprenticeship schemes as well as reducing the voting age to 16. He has promised pro-business measures to support “small business, independent entrepreneurs and the growing number of enterprises that want to cooperate and innovate for the public good”. These measures include tax cuts, rent-control to prevent small shops from being priced out, and increase spending on training. They are part of an effort to provide an alternative to the pro-business measures implemented by the Tories and that favour big multinational corporations.
In foreign politics, Corbyn wants the United Kingdom to leave NATO, to renegotiate its place in the European Union, to disarm unilaterally and to stay out of Syria.
Some within the party find his promises, like renationalising the railways and the energy markets, economically unfeasible. Others, for instance Alastair Campbell, worry he will not be able to unite the party or to reach out to those voters Labour has been losing. The ex-director for communication and strategy under the Tony Blair government has called the party to choose “anyone but Corbyn”. Indeed, the majority of the party does not support Corbyn, he is not moderate enough. Lately, the Labour party has chosen more and more the moderate path, in order to try to win some of the votes of the conservatives. But those who fear Corbyn’s “extremism”, would alienate the electorate fall into that very trap that alienated so many during the May general elections, when the electorate struggle to distinguish between the three main candidates and many claimed Labour had “lost its soul”. Many in the party have nominated Corbyn without fully sharing his ideas, hoping his ideas would spark debate and goad the party out of stagnation.Regardless of who will win, Labour has a chance to go back to be the opposition party to the conservatives and regain credibility.