THIS IS A TWEET doing the rounds as I write:
“First Officer: Captain, there's an iceberg ahead. We need to change course.
Captain Jeremy Corbyn: We can't change the Titanic's course. The ship was launched. The heading is set. What we can do is understand the reasons people bought tickets to New York.”
It's devastating and embarrassing to see Jeremy so widely mocked, not by the usual suspects, but by young people who have joined Labour to support and deliver Jeremy's socialist vision of a future ‘for the many not the few’.
My real fear is that Jeremy feels cornered. He has succeeded so far because he has always acted according to his principles and because he has an instinct for what is right. He lives in the real world, not in an elitist Westminster bubble. He’s survived as Labour leader not because he follows populist ideas but because he has made unfashionable ideas (pro-immigration, anti-austerity, nationalisation) popular. His success so far is because he’s the kind of politician we need - “a signpost and not a weathercock”, as Tony Benn would have put it.
It's now clear to everyone, from pretty much every political perspective, that Brexit will be an economic, political, social and environmental disaster. Clear too that, as always, it will be the poorest and the most vulnerable who will suffer the most.
So I’m genuinely baffled as to why Jeremy isn’t putting forward the obvious and urgent case to expose Brexit as the nationalist fantasy it always was and change course. If it’s because of a perceived need to appease working class people who voted Leave then that’s just patronising given the gravity of the situation.
We must reject attempts by the likes of the Daily Mail to frame anti-Brexit arguments as “elitist” or against “the people”. After all, we’re the Labour Party! We are the people! We are the bloody working class!
I want to believe that Jeremy's current ambivalence on Brexit is part of a brilliant secret plan. But I fear that if we wait for the perfect moment to show leadership, we may have missed the boat. Or worse still, sunk the ship.
Olivia Knight, Lewisham Deptford CLP
Lewisham Deptford CLP