Jeremy Corbyn and British Labour
Sir, – Paul Delaney describes Jeremy Corbyn as “light-footed” and “fast-thinking” (Letters, September 11th).
Since becoming Labour leader four years ago, the MP for Islington North has lost his party two national elections. Labour also lost the 2017 local elections on his watch while the 2016, 2018 and 2019 contests were so close as to be essentially “score-draws”.
That’s a disastrous record for an opposition leader at this stage in the electoral cycle. The last time Labour was 10 years in opposition was 1989, when Neil Kinnock typically had them 10 to 15 points ahead of the Tories.
It’s now almost 15 years since Labour won a general election, and some 25 years since the party prevailed in a European election.
If Mr Corbyn is “fast-thinking”, one can only imagine how Labour might fare under a “slow-thinking” leader. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Dr John Doherty (Letters, September 10th) characterises Labour’s Brexit position as being suitable only for voters who “haven’t a clue” about whether they want to Leave or Remain.
However, Jeremy Corbyn has very clearly and reasonably confirmed party policy as being to hold a second referendum that would include a “credible option to Leave” as well as Remain.
Labour’s strategy of “constructive ambiguity” towards the 2016 referendum result has been a necessary attempt at triangulation between Labour, Leave and Remain voters. It has also been an honest attempt to find a compromise in a divided nation.
If Mr Corbyn had bowed to his many critics and nailed Labour’s colours firmly to the Remain mast earlier, there’s little doubt that it would have been a huge own-goal. Theresa May would likely have won a large majority in the 2017 UK general election, and a hard Brexit would probably already have happened.
Instead, it seems most probable that there’ll be, at least, a people’s vote (either before or after the next general election) to choose between a no-deal Brexit/withdrawal deal and staying in the EU. Most Remain advocates would have torn your arm off for such an outcome only a short while ago.
By taking a cautious, wise and consensual approach to the most divisive issue to afflict British politics since the second World War, the Labour leader deserves huge credit for helping lead the UK to where it is now – with Remain still very much a live option. – Yours, etc,
Dublin 7 .