This week we witnessed the astonishing response of Labour MPs to Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that he wouldn’t push the nuclear button. Rather than treating this as welcome evidence that the man has at least a shred of human decency, they argue that this makes him irresponsible and a threat to national security. What we need in a leader, apparently, is someone who has no compunction against starting a nuclear war which, it’s no exaggeration to say, could wipe out life on earth.
The Labour party’s new supporters, signing up as part of the recent leadership election, were asked to affirm that they shared the party’s values. But what are these values? With Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn in the same party, it’s difficult to discern. Corbyn’s selection of his political opponents into the shadow cabinet demonstrates his desperation to unite the party, but also reflects the fact that so few of the party’s MPs actually share his views. The party simply doesn’t have enough suitable Corbyn supporters to form a shadow cabinet. It has led to chaos, with his own front bench constantly briefing against him and contradicting him.
So why wouldn’t anyone who shares Corbyn’s views just stick with the Green Party? We have none of these problems with rifts within the party. There is debate over issues, of course, but our members accept the party’s postion as democratically arrived at. We clearly lay out our core values, and those values are genuinely shared by our members.
The answer to this question of course, is that many Corbyn supporters don’t have the Green Party’s values. Many are intent on waging “class war” but have no particular concern for the environmental crisis. Many believe that constant economic growth and corporate subsidies are the way to improve their standard of living. On the other hand, his detractors within the Labour party (of which there are many) have views that are diametrically opposite: passive acceptance of the need for “austerity”; support for Trident; climate change denial; support for piecemeal NHS privatisation; support for a series of misguided wars; the list goes on and on.
I’m interested to watch developments within the Labour party but I’m glad that I’m able to do so from the outside, as a Green Party supporter.
Chris Owen, October 2nd 2015