When Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader last year, it seemed rather like a sideshow to the “real” politics in the country. It was mildly amusing to see him politely ask questions e-mailed by the public at Prime Minister’s Questions, with David Cameron politely answering. More recently, the weekly sparring session returned more to its usual format, but Corbyn’s performance has been at best mediocre.
Our political system needs an effective opposition in order to function. Someone has to hold the government to account, challenge them, and provide a viable alternative administration. Amusing as Corbyn’s incumbency may have seemed at first, even back then it simply wasn’t healthy for our democracy to have him as Leader of the Opposition. Even the most ardent Tory must surely see that it isn’t in the best interests of the country to have such a poorly functioning Labour party.
Now, however, the country is facing one if its gravest challenges after the referendum vote to leave the European Union. The Conservative government is now likely to be taken over by right wingers who will further damage the country by taking us as far from Europe as possible. We need an opposition to challenge that, and to offer an alternative vision at any future election.
Jeremy Corbyn is not the right person to lead such an opposition. Not only is he a weak leader out of his depth; it’s no secret that his heart has never been in remaining in the EU either. Like all traditional left wingers, Corbyn would rather we left the EU, hence his lacklustre performance during the referendum campaign, which certainly had an impact on the final result.
Yesterday, Corbyn’s right hand man, John McDonnell, said that we must accept the result of the referendum, and appeared to imply that freedom of movement should end as a result of the vote. He later backtracked slightly, stressing this wasn’t Labour party policy, but he had already shown his true colours. On Europe, Corbyn and McDonnell could be singing from the same hymn sheet as the most right-wing anti-EU Tories.
Corbyn and his team have never really been interested in leading a serious, national political party, or at least have never realised that is what they are supposed to be doing. Instead, they pursue their own minority, left-wing policies. Corbyn might be suited to the post of a Students’ Union president, but not for Prime Minister of the country.
As someone who has never joined any political party or been a firm voter or supporter one way or the other, I’m sure many people across the country will agree with me when I say Jeremy Corbyn has to go. We need an effective opposition for the sake of our country at this difficult time.