To portray Jeremy Corybn as a dinosaur is wrong. It’s a more accurate term to describe the previous Labour leadership who wasted five years in opposition, hoping for a Labour win on the basis that the country hated the Tories, rather than on developing progressive policies and a vision for our country and for all our people.
I could support a lot of what Jeremy Corbyn is saying and accept his view on the party needs to be a party of its members and not just an infallible group of MPs at Westminster, disconnected from people’s lives. I agree with him, and many others, that the party’s hierarchy stopped listening and arrogantly told us they knew best.
However, the choice now facing the Labour party is about our very future. The risk is that we are on the verge of becoming an irrelevance, not able to change our country and society. Make no mistake, that’s what will happen if we elect Jeremy Corbyn.
Why? Plainly and simply because he will never become Prime Minister and his policies will never appeal to enough of the electorate to ever become a reality. His supporters argue about principles, but principles don’t put food on the table and in life you can’t always have everything you want. Politics is an endless negotiation and the Labour party is more than just a protest group – it is a political party set-up to govern for the many not the few.
Therefore the alternative is to grow stronger by offering real vision and change not Tory-lite (or ‘Marxist heavy,’ for that matter), but ‘pragmatic Labour’ dealing with the problems of everyday life: tackling the failures of welfare to work, investing in our NHS, reforming our chaotic justice system, ensuring we have world-class schools for all, building enough new homes, sorting out immigration, protecting the environment and creating a fairer society were aspiration and equality go hand in hand.
In other words, offering hope to people. But hope, genuine hope, that comes from having a realistic chance of winning the next election. To do that, Labour needs to be competent in its approach to managing the economy and realistic in what we promise and how go about seeking to change things.
Jeremy Corbyn has created a debate that will alter the course of Labour Party history, whatever the outcome. I give him credit for that and to those who nominated him. He has woken up the real dinosaurs in the parliamentary party with a roar, but that alone is not enough.
We need a leader that not only stands up to the Tories but who can carry the whole country with them. I’m sorry, but that just isn’t Jeremy.