By Luke Andrews
“Jeremy Corbyn is in for a shock when he wakes up in 45 minutes,” said Paddy Power on Twitter. “Text from Jeremy Corbyn: “Shit.”‘, said fake account for Queen Elizabeth II on Twitter. “Jeremy Corbyn Responds: Theresa Mays Done What?!”, said Tom Harris on Twitter.
This is how the Tweeting masses greeted the news of a General Election on June 8th, now made fact by a Parliamentary vote which went in favour of the motion, 522 votes to 13. It is symptomatic of the biggest crisis in modern British politics – the lack of an effective opposition, depriving voters of a real choice in this Brexit-themed election. A crushing defeat for Labour, forcing Corbyn’s resignation (we hope), will allow the party to reformulate and become an effective force once more.
Since being elected, and re-elected, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has driven his party from bad to worse. He has failed to unite them over the biggest issue of the day; Brexit. He has failed to formulate a coherent policy on freedom of movement, saying during a speech in Peterborough, “Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principles, but I don’t want to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.” And, he has failed to develop a well-considered Labour Brexit plan.
The polls reflect just how the public sees this abysmal performance. Labour are already 24 points behind the conservatives before campaigning begins, according to a YouGov poll, taken on 18th – 19th April 2017. This has already been reflected electorally. Labour lost Copeland in a by-election and has seen the complete disintegration of its support base in Scotland, putting it into a position where it may never regain power.
Voting against Labour in this General Election will, hopefully, lead to Jeremy Corbyn’s removal as leader, giving Labour a fighting chance once again. A good opposition is what this country needs, especially at such a historic and crucial moment. As the Brexit negotiations begin, a strong opposition that will fight the governments’ negotiating strategy and decisions every step of the way is essential. It will ensure that we get the best Brexit for everyone.
It is already clear that Labour cannot provide this opposition under Corbyn.
Voting for a different party with a clear policy on Brexit may well be a win-win strategy. It will (hopefully) trigger a change in Labour leadership, allowing the party to reconstitute back into an effective opposition, whilst emplacing effective opposition in Westminster. A possible alternative to Labour is the Liberal Democrats. Unlike their left-leaning neighbour, they are clearly against Brexit. Putting more of their MPs into Westminster will bolster anti-Brexit opposition, which will help to check the governments’ negotiating strategy.
The Greens are another anti-Brexit party on the left that could be considered. There is still a space for a pro-Brexit, left-of-centre party. UKIP and the Conservatives together form the pro-Brexit group in parliament. There are many fantastic alternatives to Labour and Corbyn. A vote against them will put real opposition into parliament, and help Labour regenerate as a force to be reckoned with in British politics.
Photograph by Garry Knight via Flickr and Creative Commons