Not only did the results of the Brexit referendum witness a colossal decrease in the value of the pound but also the apparent coup of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. As a Corbynite, I find this a disappointing repercussion but one that was almost expected. Subsequent to Labour’s reform, which created New Labour, Corbyn refused to acknowledge its move to centre-left and remained a staunch socialist, much to the distaste of other Labour members His rise to the position of leader was largely due to his supporters and the grassroots, who wanted a modest man to bring change to politics. Even his own party decided to allow his name to feature on the ballot paper solely to “broaden the debate” with his traditional, left-wing views, assuming he wouldn’t partake as a serious contender. Corbyn never had much approval from his party and that put him in a precarious position, generating internal animosity. People are beginning to doubt Corbyn’s ability to lead the party despite the considerable growth in Labour support and membership since he took over. Corbyn’s policies and beliefs in anti-austerity, democratic socialism, equality, and unilateral disarmament to name a few have not changed since Brexit, so I don’t see why his capability would. Instead, I think the problem is with the party itself.
Corbyn has been a traditional socialist from a young age, even though he grew up in what he calls a rural “toryshire”; a typical middle-class area. The only one of two socialists in his class, Corbyn was mocked by his classmates and I think his persistence speaks to his commitment to the cause, refusing to allow himself to be lead into the Tory trap in such an idyllic area. Corbyn has remained the most frugal and modest politician, often claiming the lowest expenses and has resisted the party’s managers over 5000 times. Corbyn has given a lot for Labour and the party has obtained a large following because of him. Corbyn did not cause the problems that Labour has today, he happened to come into the position of leader when it was already too late. Labour’s reform has created a large gap between the party and its voters. It appears that New Labour’s aim is to appease the middle class rather than the working class, which is who Labour was established to speak for. In my opinion, there is a disconnect and its widening every day. Labour is losing supporters to UKIP in working-class areas because of its pro-immigration policies but not gaining any more support with the middle-class because of it’s centre-left position.
Corbyn has a clear aim; to help those in need and create an equal society. His party disagree. The perfect opportunity has now arisen to act. Labour backbenchers and MPs claim that Corbyn is not fit to serve as Labour’s leader any longer because he did not fight hard enough for Britain to remain in the EU. Corbyn has been known to be a Eurosceptic and I agree, Corbyn should have organised a stronger campaign but I don’t think his hesitation deems him unfit to be a leader. Following the results of the referendum, MP’s begged Corbyn to step down because they believed that Labour would lose any election that they predicted would happen with Corbyn holding the position of leader. In protest of Corbyn’s refusal to step down and the sacking of Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, there was a mass walkout from the shadow cabinet. Subsequent to this, Corbyn lost a vote of no-confidence 172 to 40. Now Owen Smith is running against Corbyn in the Labour leadership race as a more modern left-wing contender. In my opinion, Labour needs more than a change in leadership to salvage it.