I founded a Momentum branch – but will be supporting Owen Smith

Jeremy Corbyn has inspired change in Labour, now Smith should be trusted to carry it forwards

 

I am a little bit left wing — a trade unionist since I started working and a Labour Party Member for about 17 years.

I voted for Jeremy Corbyn last year and I am one of the small group who voted for Diane Abbott in the previous leadership election.  I set up and chaired a very active Momentum branch in Medway.

I am also supporting Owen Smith in his leadership campaign.

Over the last ten months, I became increasingly frustrated with the leadership of the Labour Party. I hear the policies put out by John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn and I wholeheartedly support them. I cheer the support and rejuvenation they have brought to our party. 

But what I see in practice is different. I see a leader confined by an inability to compromise and to reach out to make alliances — the basis of pragmatic politics.

In Wales, Labour maintained its control of the National Assembly this year only by building an alliance with the Lib Dems’ single AM. That alliance saw off an unlikely collaboration between Plaid Cymru and UKIP.

Alliances in politics matter and create success. Yet, while Carwyn Jones is left to negotiate the future of Port Talbot Steelworks with Theresa May, we are left with a party leadership in Westminster which cannot bridge alliances within our own party.

The operation of the current leadership permeates throughout the Momentum movement. Nationally, the failure to communicate and engage on supported policy is chronic.

Organisers hand out policy and approaches as a done deal with little, if any, consultation to committees, let alone members. Even the national committee was scarcely consulted on the instant selection of Rhea Wolfson as an NEC candidate after Ken Livingstone fell from grace.

Momentum, like the Corbyn leadership, is a body on the brink of self destruction; unable to listen, blindly pushing out ideology while local groups flounder unsupported, and just a few unpopular decisions away from collapse.

My father passed away at the end of May. In true Welsh style, the community turned out and visited my mother and me. In  the  time spent over cups of tea and memories, conversation often drifted to politics and the message that came  out from old family friends was ‘you’ve got to get rid of that Jeremy Corbyn’.

These were solid Labour voters. People who actually were part of the communities that came together and organised during the Miners Strikes. Traditional, old fashioned socialists.

They understand the need for a strong socialist party in government, but have no confidence in Corbyn’s Labour.

My confidence, which was waning, was knocked. At work, in a  heavily unionised environment, people told me they had always voted Labour but had strong doubts now. 

The final straw came after EDF finally made a decision to proceed with the Hinkley Point C project, which I have worked on for five years as a Branch Councillor with Prospect.

As a union, we have worked solidly with our colleagues in Unite, GMB and UCATT to support this project, which represents an £11 billion investment in the UK business economy, which will create over 25,000 UK jobs. It will produce seven per cent of the UK’s power needs with a vastly reduced carbon footprint, avoiding 90 million tonnes of CO2 production annually and is predicted to generate three per cent of the UK’s entire corporation tax when in production.

The project was initially conceived under a Labour government and has been supported by Labour, but team Corbyn’s response was derogatory and facile.

This tweet mocked the work of hundreds of nuclear engineers who have worked doggedly for years devising design solutions to combat the safety concerns raised by Fukushima. There was no advised policy, there was no coherent response and there was no support for the work of the unions.

I have felt immense relief in leaving the Corbyn camp and joining with Smith. We need a strong, organised Labour Party and he is offering that. 

Owen, as a committed, soft left politician can relate to and embrace the needs of a Labour movement that has cried out for change. He has seen how the membership feels and responded. He is offering policies that sit firmly on the left but the real difference is in what he personally offers.

His policy is offered in a way that works within the constraints of our political system. It’s offered with the support of the majority of MPs who desperately want to represent the entirety of the Labour movement and make a difference to people’s lives.

Different leaders have different strengths. Many agree that Winston Churchill was a good leader in wartime but an abysmal peacetime prime minister.

Corbyn has been an inspirational force for change, but now we need to continue that change by adopting a leader who can hear the message and move the party onward to electoral success. To do that, we all need to admit and put aside our differences and work together.

We need to to build on the inspiration generated by Corbyn, by entrusting the party to the safe hands of Smith.

Rachel Garrick is vice chair of Rochester & Strood Labour Party and a trade unionist with Prospect.

See also: Diane Abbott: Jeremy Corbyn’s vision can win a general election

46 Responses to “I founded a Momentum branch – but will be supporting Owen Smith”

  1. Happy Warrior

    Sensible and well thought out article

  2. Deborah Alma

    Well done for having the courage to write that and to be so properly open minded. Best wishes.

  3. Dr Gary Burn

    Are you mad or what? Do you think that Corbyn has managed to generate 500,00+ members and such enthusiatic support by chance? We know that if Smith becomes the new leader of the Labour Party, before you can say “we’re all in it together” he’ll be spinning and triangulating, in effect, siding with the Tories, because like most of the PLP he is, essentially, a Tory and a believer in neo-liberal economics…. Owen Smith would become overnight the new Ed Miliband (there was a leader who could really lead which is why you supported him for 5 years without a murmour) and all this talk of opposing “austerity” and protecting the NHS would be forgotten. Of course, the Labour Party would have hardly any members left and nobody to knock on doors and hand out leafets at the next election.

  4. Dr Gary Burn

    You say Winston Churchill was an abysmal peacetime prime minister. Really! I can think of a lot worse. Where do you want me to begin? Thatcher, Heath, Home, Blair, Brown, Cameron, Eden, Wilson, Major. That leaves only Attlee, Macmillan and Callaghan. They say we get the leaders we deserve, so you have to wonder what heinous crime the British people committed on the day Churchill resigned.

  5. Robert Morgan

    Comrade, I whole heartily agree. Corbyn should be thanked for bringing our party back on course but he’s not a leader. After the two leadership debates I’ve seen, it’s clear that he can not control his own supporters and thus from the originator of a ‘different kinder politics’. Not a bit of it. During the debates he could easily have told his supporters to stop jeering Owen Smith but he dies nothing. He just stands there with a smug look in his face… This is not debate it’s thuggery and if he does win the Tories will be in power until 2025, at least..

  6. Andy Coombes

    Nuclear engineer (principally safety and safety related systems) of forty years standing here.
    Bull. There was no critique of safety by Corbyn, but an accurate statement that the technology doesn’t work.
    Next
    Owen is soft left? So why are his professed policies trying to out-left JC?
    On Momentum:- Rachel – I put it to you that you either need to get out more, or that you are deliberately lying. I don’t see many Momentum branches on any brink of self destruction…

  7. Catherine love-Madden

    Bizzarre, Owen Smith has no prospect of winning, this is like committing political suicide. You moved your alegiance to follow along with GMB based on one tweet regarding Nuclear energy, with no compromise on the subject yourself. It takes two to talk and one to take the lead. In a twitter debate you have told me that you do not support GMB or Owen Smith in their support of Fracking, is it that you feel you have more power to sway a weak minded Owen Smith? or talk GMB into a different ideal? His policies are of direct payments to pay for private treatments, a step towards the privatisation of the NHS, his policies are a combination of Tory policy and those he has borrowed from Jeremy Corbyn for his campagn to become leader. Nobody believes him, he can change his mind at any moment, he has a weak will unlike Jeremy, who has surelly proven by now that regardless of all the lies told in the press and by those who have attempted to get him to resign, he is absolutely electable, and the more people realise his elecability the more will agree and join the fold. It has been the disgraceful backstabbing of MPs within the party who followed Hillary Benn out the door, and continued a pack of lies that they still repeat today which cannot even remotely be supported as truth. As above, Corbyn has managed to generate 500,00+ members and such enthusiatic support that many who were never involved in politics before are now. This move does not make any sense at all.

  8. Kate Whaley

    An excellent read which raises some very relevant points about the current leadership.

    I have noticed a comment which suggests Jeremy Corbyn has attracted a membership of 500k+. I would like to point out to that contributor that he has grossly exaggerated the number of supporters who have joined since Corbyns leadership (less than 300k) and not all of those would be Corbyn supporters.

    I think it speaks volumes about your character Rachel, that you are able to reassess and take a different view of what the party needs after being such a firm and vocal supporter of Corbyn. Your ability to apply critical thinking to our current situation is admirable.

  9. Beryl Oldroyd

    Thank you for this article. It confirms all that I hear when talking to people. Many do not want to vote at all, rather than vote for CORBYN – led party. Many express the same fears about jobs as you have mentioned.

  10. Ben Samuel

    John Major, greatest Prime Minister ever.

  11. Judy Adamson

    Spot on, Rachel – you’ve summed up the current situation, and what has led to it, perfectly!

  12. Dr Matthew Bennett

    Wonderful piece, excellent erudite and well informed. You seem to have been carrying out the same soul searching as me. Keep up the excellent work and we can keep our Party together!

  13. LeMar

    “Momentum, like the Corbyn leadership, is a body on the brink of self destruction; unable to listen, blindly pushing out ideology while local groups flounder unsupported, and just a few unpopular decisions away from collapse.”

    Really?

  14. Steve Cheney

    Owen Smith may be a good leader, he may be a good MP, but you ask me to *trust* him? Specifically, that word, “trust”?

    Nothing about Owen Smith commands trust. He comes across as morally flexible to a staggering degree. I’m sure there are tasks that you can point someone like that at and they’ll get them done with ruthless efficiency and effectiveness. But trusting them is impossible and I can’t ask anyone else to do it.

  15. Andrew Stanley

    Corbyn is also in the camp that says there was a democratic vote for Brexit, ignoring the disenfranchised tax-paying EU residents who can vote in local and European elections and the 16-18 yr olds who got a vote in the Scottish referendum. No leadership in the teeth of an economic car-crash – unforgivable. P.S. I know he went up and down the country being lukewarm to a miniscule proportion of the electorate. That doesn’t count.

  16. Cynical Dave

    Oh dear, Owen Smith should drag you right back into your comfort zone if you were motivated to join during the Bliar years. Slippery Smith is just standing against Jeremy in an attempt to do as much damage to the man and the party as possible, in order to pave the way for a Hilary Benn challenge after the next election. Theresa May will no doubt call an election immediately after we have smashed one another senseless during this leadership coup, in the hope that we have been holed below the waterline. Anyone who can’t see this is living in dreamland. Get behind Jeremy – he is the only Labour MP to offer a fresh vision for decades.

  17. Dr Gary Burn

    “John Major, greatest Prime Minister ever.” Is that the Cones Hotline calling?

  18. Steve Mizzy

    You’ve reached the same conclusions I have about Corbyn, Rachel.

    I too voted for him, then rejoined the Labour party due to his winning the leadership as i felt this was a real opportunity for changes and for the party to find its radical, progressive voice.

    That, to a degree, has been accomplished. In doing so, Corbyn should be thanked but it’s become blindingly obvious that he cannot form an effective Parliamentary opposition and so fails in the first and most important function as leader of the opposition. There are other insurmountable shortcomings that convince me that Corbyn isn’t leadership material. Put simply, the man isn’t up to it.

    Will Smith lead Labour to the promised land? Frankly anyone leading the party is going to have one heck of a job in wining an election, or in getting enough seats to form some sort of coalition. So while I’m not bullish about Smith I’m certain he will lead a largely united PLP that will provide an effective opposition. Thats a step in the right direction. If we can’t oppose properly, we cannot hope to persuade voters to put us into Government. Goodness knows there’s loads else to do, but a credible leader, who has shown himself to be a good Parliamentarian and an effective communicator, with most of the PLP behind him seems to me to be a pretty basic requirement.

    Right now, Smith is the man to go with.

  19. Catherine love-Madden

    I didnt think my comment would go on there, but I know you know it makes sense really.

  20. Michael WALKER

    It’s nice to see Corbyn supporters above refuting all suggestions that their hero could be fallible. anywhere. Anytime.

    We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. And learn from them – or not.

    So supporters like that should consider they are in effect supporters of a cult. Cultists find their leader inspirational, can do no wrong and can be abusive if challenged. They are also deeply unappealing to others who don’t believe.

  21. Jacqueline neilson

    My sentiments really put eloquently by Rachel. Been a true Labour Supporter for over 40 years, have never experienced a leader less able to articulate, organise or compromise. Under Jeremy Corbyn the Party has no future but perhaps it’s aim is not to be in opposition but to be in revolution.

  22. Catherine love-Madden

    @Michael Walker and all others here who continue to state Corbyn doesnt have it in him to win Final CLP nominations are in: Jeremy Corbyn 285, Owen Smith 53. This is no Cult the people have spoken!

  23. Steve

    Sorry that this is slightly off-topic but you might like this piece on the potential impact of a Trump Presidency on European security http://thesparkuk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/what-would-donald-trump-presidency-mean.html

  24. Geordie

    ” I see a leader confined by an inability to compromise and to reach out to make alliances — the basis of pragmatic politics.”

    Really ? I saw a leader who appointed Blairites to his shadow cabinet, surely as good a compromise as you’re likely to find. Corbyn reached out to make alliance in my view.

    But you see, in the last leadership election the script demanded that Corbyn trail in a poor last place, allowing the Blairites to declare all this socialism nonsense dead once and for all, allowing them to get on with the serious business of neo-libereal capitalism.

    He didn’t roll over and die, and they cant forgive him for that. What the membership want is of no importance to them, at least until they’ve finally alienated it totally and find they don’t have one anymore.

  25. Mike Kennard

    In had thought that you had come down from your initial anger at Teresa May’s postponement of the Hinkley project and were being a little more rational is your relationship with your comrades. It appears that this is not the case. You claim to have set up Momentum Medway – your role was pivotal, but what about Rob, who was the organiser and did much of the groundwork? Don’t you think he desreves a name check? Momentum, far from being on the brink of collapse, is growing rapidly, and the Medway group has trebled in size and is still growing. Corbyn has been under attack from the PLP since his campaign took off in 2015, even before he was elected leader, including from within his own Shadow Cabinet. The selection of an alternative candidate for the NEC to Ken Livingstone had to be made quickly and sometimes the leadership of an organisation has to lead. While the leader of the Party has the responsibility to lead policy discussion, if people are appointed to Shadow Cabinet briefs they should be the ones to lead on those topics – the whinging from some of the deserters about his leadership style indicates to me that they needed their hands holding and were maybe not up to the job. I and my colleagues in Momentum will continue to support Jeremy Corbyn and are looking to develop an energy policy which does not depend on a dangerous technology which leaves us dependent on the goodwill of foreign governments

  26. Frann Leach

    This is illogical and wrongheaded.

    The reason Corbyn is popular is because he is what Tony Benn used to call a signpost. Smith, otoh is a weathervane, as is obvious when you compare his voting record with what he SAYS he believes now. But people aren’t stupid, and they can see through this sort of chancer very easily.

    Labour hasn’t presented an alternative to the Tories for a long time, losing millions of votes as a result. Owen Smith is not in a position to change this. Jeremy is.

  27. Susan Thomas

    Regarding the Wales Question. Carwyn Jones had to reach out to the Lib Dem as his leadership was challenged by Leanne Woods of Plaid Cymru another left wing MP, whereas Carwyn Jones is not. I did not vote for Labour in the Assembly elections as Wales is the poorest in the UK. Carwyn just spouts things are going well, Oh but we just have a few problems. They lost the Rhondda to Plaid Cymru , there are 7 UKIP AM . I think the Welsh were losing interest in Labour as some areas see no benefit at all. For years Labour in Wales have invested just in Cardiff, yes they have used EU money to build roads and infrastructure but that has failed to bring jobs into some areas. Leanne woods talks about the Barnett formula being unequal for Wales, the only time I have heard Carwyn Jones talking about this is when we voted out of the EU and then he said he would have to fight for more equal money for Wales. Well, HELLO shouldn`t he have been doing this anyway. I attended an event with Jeremy Corbyn in Swansea who promises equal monies for Wales and more investment and jobs. This is what people need in Wales, better paid jobs as so many are minimum wage. Owen Smith is a weathercock, he is being supported by progress. Jeremy Corbyn is a signpost and knows where he is going and that is not a bad thing. He has principles that is refreshing in this age of spin and lies. There is another way of reforming the Labour party and that is if those CLP who are supporting him re select their MP at the next election we will have a true left Labour Party who are singing from the same hymn sheet.

  28. Jack Walker

    Garrick’s destructive piece is foolish.

    We know that nuclear technology is not safe. This is so particularly when it is in private hands where profit is more important than safety (Three Mile Island) but also when it is in state hands (Chernobyl) and when the powerful forces of nature are ignored (Fukushima). I know, from the many stories told to me years ago by a then close friend who worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, that UK staff in power stations commonly turned off alarms when they had really bad hangovers (from the subsidised bars) and wanted peace and quiet. We know that this particular system does not work yet and we do not know when it will. But still it will be the most expensive building on the planet. We know that when it delivers electricity that electricity will cost the UK twice the going price. This is another piece of PFI stupidity that robs the people to subsidise the capitalists. It will put a vital (when it works) and dangerous object in the hands of traditional enemies of the UK. It will create jobs in the wrong sector while they are being drained from the green energy sector – the green energy in which the sector technological costs are falling rather than rising.

    Smith would be a disaster for a democratic socialist party. His historic voting record and his employment record show that he is no socialist, and his participation in the #chickencoup show that he is no democrat. But worse still even if his sudden Damascene conversion to the Corbyn policies that he now spouts might be genuine, once in office as leader of the party (heaven forfend) he would be much easier for the extreme right wing (think David Miliband, think the dark Lord Mandelson, think Tom Watson, think the vile Foster – or the toad-like Akehurst) to dislodge in a fresh leadership challenge next year – the number of yearly challenges is limited by the rule-book but there are 4 years to 2020).

    Yours, etc

    Jack Walker (no relation)

  29. Jackie walker

    I understand the affect of others particularly at such a painful time. But I’m bewildered, not so much by Rachel’s support of Smith but the naivety of the change. To actually think Smith, backed by Progress and Akehurst and all the most right wing candidates, would not remove any chance of members having a voice is breathtaking. As for Momentum, an organisation barely a year old that is running the most effective campaign of the leadership contest, of course there are issues- many. However the recent influx of money from membership and donations will allow paid staff, computers and proper office space to be purchased. Considering that Momentum has been mostly run by volunteers under the most difficult conditions I think it’s done pretty well

  30. Coilla Drake

    Misguided.
    No I don’t trust Owen in the slightest to carry out Corbyn’s policies and neither should anyone else, I do however trust Corbyn to do so.

  31. David Harkman

    It takes a brave person to stand up and be shot at, while you may not agree with everything Rachel says at least she is honest and explains her decisions fully. Life is too short for all the vitriol and hatred that this Leadership election has created.

  32. Barry Hearth

    Rachel, I live in Wales and lots of ex miners don’t ever vote, and it’s got nothing to do with Corbyn, Brown or even Blair, it has everything to do with Kinnock and his refusal to offer one once of support to the miners.
    They’ve seen their jobs go, their livelihoods lost, their sons and daughters forced to emigrate away from Wales for work, and worse still they communities decimated. You want to buy a house? Come to Wales they are almost free.
    After thatcher and Major, there was just a chance that a new Labour government could DO SOMETHING, but there was no will, or desire to help working class people, only those already wealthy. Corbyn has come along and all he’s offered is hope, nothing more, but to the desperate it’s all we have.
    BTW the Welsh Assembly is almost irrelevant here in Wales, and the Labour party have rarely had a working majority.

  33. Will

    Hi Everyone. Don’t fall for it people , smith is not there to shift Labour Leftwards, he is there to keep it centrist, that’s it all and there is about it. I really can’t see how anyone could support Smith. All the socialist policies will be reversed, they will NOT carry them out if Smith is elected. It will be more of the same after all that is the reason they are ousting Corbyn. They Do not want change, and they know the people are restless. Plus Owen Smith has shown some quite awful aspects of his character since this coup, personal attack after personal attack… Unedifying for a leader. Nope Corbyn all the way… He is the real deal and has been hampered from the day of his election by the media and PLP collusion..

  34. Jeremy Bateman

    Thank you, Rachel, and well done for being brave enough to state this. I have been in Labour 24 years and have never before been in meetings where I’ve felt the hostility that comes from those who not only want Jeremy Corbyn to remain as leader, but react with clearly audible hostility to any criticism of him whatsoever.
    I don’t agree with every detail of what you say – but it’s possible to do that and agree with your broad argument. I agree with Corbyn on most of his policies, but he is not a credible Prime Ministerial candidate. I have heard his supporters respond to this point with ‘Well, should we just be thinking about power?’ and ‘We don’t just want a media performer!’. But that’s what his job entails. He didn’t enter the race last year to win it, and I don’t believe he wanted to. He has had 32 years’ experience of being a backbencher without a day as a minister or shadow minister, so lacks the experience those positions have given serious leadership contenders.
    And I don’t particularly like the whipping system, but one thing that stopped me voting for him was his record number of rebellions – over 400 when Labour was in government. Whatever you think of these, it was well known that a great majority of Labour MPs regarded him as unsuitable for the job. They could therefore make a moral case for any rebellion against his whip. (I’ve seen his supporters answer ‘Yes, but those were on moral issues, and they have no right to oppose the leader’. CORBYN SUPPORTERS: You don’t have to agree with it, but COULD ONE OF YOU ACTUALLY ADMIT TO SEEING MY POINT HERE JUST MIGHT BE VALID??)
    As popular history will remember Blair for Iraq and Cameron for Brexit, I fear that Corbyn will be remembered not for decades of being a great constituency MP and principled spokesman for causes often neglected, but for a 2020 disaster for Labour.

  35. Paula

    Corbyn is our leader – Smith is just another career politician who will flip flop to try to win votes – who knows what he really believes – Smith would be returning to the old style of politics – whereas Jeremy symbolises a change in politics – no we can’t jump ship at the start of this journey – stick with Corbyn for the possibility of real change.

  36. Time for Change

    It’s obvious that Rachel’s main reason for jumping ship is her involvement with Hinckley Nuclear Power Plant. You are deluded if you believe that it’s in Britains interest to do some dodgy deal with the Chinese government and French EDF Energy. Not only will this be an enormous financial burden to the UK – eventually producing some of the world’s most expensive electricity – but the very serious issues regarding national security and nuclear waste disposal are terrifyingly overlooked.
    The jobs you talk about could be created by the training and development of a sustainable energy policy. This has enormous potential for the UK, and is incredibly ignored. Renewable energy policy is the way forward..and future generations will thank us all for it. They will hate us if we continue down the dangerous and expensive road to nuclear power.

  37. Max Tasker

    If Corbyn is so unpopular in Wales then how come Most of the CLP’s have nominated Him. Something you seem to have ignored

  38. david ingram

    Yes, the issue is the credibility of JC. Owen Smith has grab hold of Jeremy’s coat tail for policy (or perhaps he hasnt) I just havent heard much about him in the past. If he is only been supported as the alternative candidate because ‘he could win an election’ where is the evidence? His performance so far hasn’t impressed and I wouldn’t give him my vote. Corbyn however does need to offer a more positive leadership and remember that many of us supported him because we were fed up with the leadership style that lost us 2 elections. He has made a good start in making us think about where we want to be. That does not mean inside a Corbyn Bubble. .One of his recent claims was to be critical of Tom Watsons views on entryism, implying there is none because there are not 300K trots in the country. Maybe not, but if he remembers the 80’s he will remember it only needs a few in a lot of constituencies to do a lot of damage and gain a lot of control. JC still has to remember the Labour Party is still a broad church and he will not become PM by advocating a philosophy that is unacceptable or not understood by the large proportion of the electorate. The Labour Party as a whole has to determine its Policy through Annual Conference and everyone, members and the Parliamentary Party have to accept that policy, and then campaign and persuade the electorate that it is the right policy for the Nation. Then Labour can be returned to Govern.

  39. Paul

    I find the Welsh perspective interesting.

    My part of the U.K. (not if Mr Corbyn can help it) along with Wales has the highest concentration of Trade Union membership. Neck and neck, but according to official stats Northern Ireland is the only region where membership is growing.

    Contrast this with Labours approach. Northern Ireland residents were denied membership rights until the early 2000s. Labour only changed policy after the threat of legal action. They didn’t want the embarrassment of defending a discrimination case sponsored by the GMB.

    But they didn’t embrace change and they barred Northern Ireland members from standing in elections as Labour members.
    A policy endorsed by Mr Corbyn and Mr Smyth. So much for political justice. Northern Ireland has experienced the Corbyn effect and bizarrely a CLP meeting voted to back him (6% turnout)

    Mr. Corbyn is undeniably unfit to be lead. Getting people fired up is one thing, delivery is another. How many new members are fans rather than actual members? Smith on the other hand is uninspiring.

    Labour needs someone to put fire in its belly. Someone who can relate to most people rather than someone who has just read about it.

  40. Joe Baxter

    Thank you LFF for making me aware of this person’s decision to campaign for Smith, I don’t know where else I might have heard about this otherwise.

  41. David Hamilton

    Interesting and compelling reasons why someone would change their minds on who to support in the leadership election.
    The main issue with Corbyn is clear – he could not lead his way out of a paper bag, but then neither can Mcdonnell or Abbot.
    Smith clearly knows how to approach leadership and should in my opinion be given the chance.

    What is really begging to scare me is not the terms of the debate, nor the abuse or planned support at the hustings, but the absolute certainty of many of Corbyn’s supporters that he and only he can take this forward. That Corbyn and only Corbyn is an honest politician. If you believe this then fine, I am not going to produce the standard abusive comments. I would just ask yourself just one question. What has, apart from becoming leader and getting people to join the party, Corbyn achieved between 1983 and 2015. Thats 32 years, 13 of which Labour was in power. What did he achieve?

  42. Glen Adams

    Margret Thatcher was not responsible for Thatersm. Far left and militant activists were.
    Globalised industry isn’t responsible for global warming. Far left and militant activists are.
    Reality isn’t black or white. It’s grey.
    If Corbyn supporters want the government opposition to be the SNP and then UKIP, carry on not thinking.
    Owen Smith is a sharp thinker and an effective leader.
    Don’t be selfish like Corbyn and crash it all to dust, be smart like Owen Smith, be True Labour.

  43. Dennis lane

    The point on the miners strike is lost on me,Ask were Owen was and what did he do for the miners,
    Jeremy was here there and everywhere supporting the miners when Kinnock was knocking the miners, Kinnock Mandleson Blair Ed Milliband are supporting OWEN,enough said.

  44. Tom Gabriel

    @Catherine Love-Madden

    Owen Smith has actually never supported fracking. He voted in the minority for explicitly requiring environmental permits for fracking and he voted against the 2015 Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations because they were insufficient. Corbyn did exactly the same but papers such as the Sun characterize Smith’s latter vote as him being ‘against greater restrictions on fracking to extract shale gas in national parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty and so on’. This is simply a lie by the right wing press and so it is sad to see Corbyn supporters, who so readily critique media bias, repeating it.

    As for your claim that Smith’s past support for ‘direct payments to pay for private treatments’ is necessarily ‘a step towards the privatisation of the NHS’, this is simply not true. Firstly, the NHS has always made direct payments to the private sector as part of the provision of its services, but even if you specifically mean Smith’s past support of Labour’s previous policy of using some NHS funds for the likes of private healthcare hip operations, I’d simply ask: if that is proposed alongside Labour’s doubling in NHS spending, why is that necessarily wrong? Of course, you might argue that there is a danger of it becoming a slippery slope to privatisation by the Tories, and Smith has voiced sympathy with that view, but it is perfectly moral to give temporary payment to private providers for certain over-subscribed NHS services, especially when people like my Nan had to wait inhumane periods of time on NHS hip operation waiting lists, meaning that even as an NHS user and life-long tax payer who’d worked for the NHS, she eventually had to stump up the money for a private operation herself. Frankly, I think that is wrong and you should be careful not to just throw people like her under the bus of your ideological agenda.

    The same, sadly, is true of your flat out denial that Corbyn is unelectable. Corbyn has the worst personal ratings of any Labour leader, he has averaged 11% worse in the polls against the Tories than even Ed Miliband managed, Corbyn has led the only opposition to have lost seats since the 1980s, and he has only been ahead of the Tories (by the smallest of margins) in just 3 anomalous polls of the 88 conducted so far, which is unprecedented for an opposition party given the artificial boost they get in mid-cycle polling. Simply put, a vote for Corbyn is a vote for the Conservatives to win the next election and, as a Clause IV socialist myself, I see that as a gross abdication of our party’s solemn duty to fight meaningfully for the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

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