The Role Of The Leader Of The Opposition ...

Mick Hall is backing Jeremy Corbyn in the British Labour Party leadership race. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

The role of the leader of the opposition is to hold the government to account, and Jeremy Corbyn has the experience and tenacity to do this well.


 The Blairite and austerity lite candidates for the LP leadership, along with their high profile supporters are predicting a Corbyn leadership will not only fail to win in 2020 but take the party over the cliff into political oblivion.

What do they base their dire predictions on? Little more than blind adherence to the status quo, a hatred of the Left; and the outcome of the 2015 general election which saw the Tories gain power with a small majority. What they fail or refuse to understand is the core of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign is about forming a viable opposition now, both in Parliament and the country at large. He and his supporters are confident if he wins the leadership race they will be able over the next four and a half years to successfully hold the Tory government to account, and by doing so tilt public opinion leftwards and in the process win the 2020 general election.

It's a tall order for sure, but  Scotland and Wales are already Left centric

Corbyn is a consensus politician by nature. He knows he must build a coalition of differing political views, not only within the Labour Party but also with the Greens, Plaid Cymru, and SNP. While this will be almost impossible for any of the other candidates to achieve, Jeremy has few real political differences on societal issues with any of these parties. Not only that: he has long been sympathetic to Sinn Féin's aims so if there were a hung parliament after 2020 he may be in a position to call in favours from the currently abstentionist SF MP's.

He has almost five years to re-balance in the English electorates mind the LP's relationship with the SNP, which has been totally put out of kilter during the years of New Labour and distorted by the mainstream media during the 2015 election campaign. If he manages this he may be the only person who can save the union, which might not be popular with socialist republicans like myself, but nevertheless it's a fact.

Tony Blair and his cronies claim that the policies being espoused by Jeremy will take the Labour Party “back to the turmoil of the 1980s” are unfounded, and are being refuted. Former Labour MP Stan Newens pointed out in a letter to the Guardian:

In January 1981 Labour under Michael Foot was 13% ahead in the opinion polls and it was the launch of the Social Democratic party on 27 March 1981 by Roy Jenkins and three colleagues, followed by desertion by a section of right-wing Labour MPs, which destroyed Labour’s electoral lead. The behaviour of the left may not always have been faultless, but it was the disloyalty of a section of the right which was primarily responsible for our heavy defeat in 1983.
When you add in the Falklands War factor which gave Thatcher a massive electoral boost, Labours defeat had little if anything to do with the content of its 1983 election manifesto.

Even their own supporters have admitted the paucity of policies coming from the Cooper, Burnham, Kendall campaigns, but no worries Blair was given a platform by the Guardian to propose some policies on their behalf. When it comes to giving home grown war criminals access to the paper it has always been less than fussy.

The only problem being Blair's suggested policies were all included in the Tories' 2015 election manifesto as Gordon Best helpfully pointed out:

Tony Blair says that the policies being espoused by Jeremy Corbyn will take the Labour party “back to the turmoil of the 1980s”. Instead, he says, the leadership campaign should be focusing on what he refers to as “the challenges of the modern world”. He identifies four.

His first is “we should be discussing how technology should revolutionise public services”. On this topic, the 2015 Conservative party manifesto says: “We will save you time, hassle and money by moving more [public] services online, while actively tackling digital

Blair’s second challenge is “how young people are not just in well-paid, decent jobs but also have the chance to start businesses that benefit their communities”. On this, the Tory manifesto says: “We will treble our successful Start Up Loans programmes … So that 75,000 entrepreneurs get the chance to borrow money to set up their own business.

Blair’s third challenge is “how Britain stays united in Europe”. The Tory manifesto promises: “We will work to ensure a stable constitution that is fair to all the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island … We say yes to Single Market [and] … Yes to a family of nation states, all part of the European Union.”

The final challenge is what reform of welfare and social care can work in an era of radical demographic change”. On this, the Tory manifesto says: “We will deliver the universal credit, in order to provide the right incentives for people to work [and] reduce fraud and error; and streamline administration of the welfare system.

With Blair and the rest of the Labour establishment, including leadership candidates, yet again urging the LP membership to play catch up with the Tories, is it any wonder that members are flocking to support Jeremy Corbyn. At long last LP members and supporters are refusing to do what they are told, they are being offered a real choice and no matter how much they're hectored by the media and Blairites they are not going to pass up that opportunity.

During the early Miliband years, instead of opposing the Coalition at every turn from day one, the LP leadership allowed Cameron, Clegg and Osborne to set in stone the great lie it was Labour's reckless spending on the Welfare State which caused the great economic crash of 2008. This was such an obvious lie it cried out to be corrected but no Ed Balls the shadow chancellor who understood the truth better than most, sat on his hands allowing this lie to become the common sense of the age. It was a shameful dereliction of duty whilst under fire, and was the main reason why Labour lost the 2015 General election.

Most people have now come to understand it was a great hoax not that dissimilar to Blair and his pliable gofer Alastair Campbell's wicked lie over WMDs. It's the main reason why Corbyn is gaining ever more support. People understand the main role of a parliamentary opposition is to hold the government of the day to account. Unless this is done and done well any and all governments will abuse their positions of Power.

Out of all the candidates Jeremy Corbyn is best placed to hold power to account. If anyone doubts this they need to consider the failure of Cooper, Kendall and Burnham to vote against the Tories Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which is an integral part of Cameron and Osborne's strategy to smash the welfare state. Consider Cooper, Burnham and Kendall's sorry excuses for not opposing the bill with Corbyn's closest associate John McDonnell MP, who said in the debate he would "swim through vomit" to oppose the legislation.

This type of solidarity and tenacity is why tens of thousands of young people have signed up to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership contest.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

11 comments to ''The Role Of The Leader Of The Opposition ..."

  1. Corbyn is imo the only hope that the labour party has of returning to the basic principle of looking after the interests of the working class and not a meal ticket for middle class wannabe,s to further their careers,todays labour party is a fucking disgrace and those in charge would fit nicely into any conservative club without as much as a sideways glance, I hope when Corbyn wins he will have a massive clear out of those maggots.

  2. Mick,

    I've said it all before, but briefly the more the Labour Party tacks to the left the less electable it becomes. People like Corbyn attract people who are happy to take to the streets, take to the internet and basically shout everyone else down. This gives the false impression of mass support. When it comes to the privacy of the ballot box however that support turns out to have been negligible. Just ask Milliband and his 'Millifans'.

    I'll make a prediction. If Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour Party it will result in an internal civil war and ultimately electoral wipe out. Far from being a strong voice of opposition he will become 'the story' and the Tories will get away with murder.

  3. Full time political observers over estimate the analytical approach of the British electorate,imagining they are combing through a political parties manifesto in detail to aggregate all the information into single rational position. I suspect what did for Ed Milliband was the impression he gave after speaking for merely 5 seconds, basically summed up (and leaked to the press by a Labour party spinner) as 'looks weird, sounds werid, is werid'. It was always going to be an uphill battle for him. The immediate impression Corbyn gives is one of sincerity, authenticity, dignity. The rest of the 'would be' Labour leader dont even come close. As for the supposed disaster he will face at he election, I doubt the electorate will tot up what his economic plan will do for the yeild on 10 year bonds, as long as they basically trust him,they will give him a chance to lead them. Imagine if he gets rid of the monarchy in his first term !

  4. Cue Bono the cuntservatives are already getting away with murder and driving the disadvantaged to suicide that bastard Tony B,liar has made millions from mass murder, theres not a bees wing of a difference between Cameron and B;liar Corbyn could just be the breath of fresh air that stinking hole needs ,or is it still under the grip of the grey suits .I,m still of the opinion that Guy Fawkes is the wisest man to ever enter parliament.

  5. The immediate impression that Corbyn gives is of a man who detests his own country. Would any of you seriously put a wager on the British people electing him into government? They see a man who was inviting Gerry Adams into Westminster two weeks after the Brighton bomb. You are looking at fifteen more years of conservative government.

  6. ...They see a man who was inviting Gerry Adams into Westminster two weeks after the Brighton bomb...

    Whether this is a criticism or not depends on your view of the Brighton bomb.

  7. Daithi,

    I think it is fair to say that the British public were and are very much against it. If Corbyn was standing to be Prime Minister of South Armagh then he would be a shoe in. The People of the rest of the UK however see things very differently.

  8. Cue Bono,
    I think you are projecting your own feelings onto the electorate. I doubt the Brighton bomb will be a factor in peoples thinking, given ~34 years will have past by the next election. Additionally Adams has publicly emabraced Prince Charles since then, the other ex-Chief Of Staff has embraced the Queen, so its concievable he might even be seen as a pioneer.

    (There is a sequence of events I forsee before 2020 that would make Corbyn PM, first will be a delay in the UK referendum on EU membership until after 2020.)

  9. I hope he gets the leadership. They are about to throw the kitchen sink at him in the closing stages of the election. This might sound a little pessimistic, I just hope if he is elected he doesn't "Neil Kinnock it" to stay in power and abandon all his principles.

    Or on the other side of the scale, if he stays to his principles the establishment and the spooks will undertake a dirty tricks agenda to compromise his actions by possibly seeing him set up in some honey trap, something planted on him or possible simply bumped off.

    All for the greater good of the establishment, status quo and the great British Empire.

  10. Daithi,

    It won't be the Brighton bomb per se which ensures that he will never be PM, but the overall impression that he is a terrorist supporting idiot who hates his own country.

  11. Cue Bono, no doubt the newspapers will be going through any funds he has given to see if the recipients are affilated , to say, al-Qaida. Imagine that, before an election, Corbyn is even proven to have given arms directly to such groups all across North Africa and the Middle East. He could never stand for election to a parish council, let alone the top office in the country right? Maybe that example is too extreme to be believable.


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