Well, this isn't a feeling I have had all too often. In my voting lifetime I have always been supremely confident in who I was going to vote for and I am happy to say that to this day it has been Labour all the way. Sure I have flirted with the idea of voting Green or even Socialist but in my heart I had always known that Labour provided closest to what I was looking for. The 2015 election was no different apart from that I really did believe in Ed and his policies but Labour lost convincingly and now the party is in a complete mess!
I believe 2015 wasn't lost on policy but on a lack of cohesion in the party and that has been never more apparent than in the leadership election that is currently ensuing. 4 very different candidates vying for one position;
Andy Burnham: White Male, 45, MP for Leigh since 2001 and former Cabinet Minister
Yvette Cooper: White Female, 46, MP for Normanton, Pontefract & Castelford since 1997 and former Cabinet Minister
Jeremy Corbyn: White Male, 66, MP for Islington North since 1983
Liz Kendall: White Female, 44, MP for Leicester West since 2010
Above you will see pure facts and from those you can get very little of substance so we dig a little deeper to where their politics lie and why we'd vote for each. So on a rudimentary political paradigm, Corbyn is on the Socialist Left, Burnham and Cooper are moderates and Kendall is on the Right of the party. Ok so at this juncture I will throw in my first two cents and drop a candidate.
The Labour party, founded in 1900 as a bastion of hope for the underprivileged of the UK, was formed as an opposition to the Conservative party, a party full of wealthy land and factory owners who's oppressive and greedy ways kept the rich rich and the poor poor. So now why do the Labour party have a candidate who has no distinguishable difference from the Conservatives of today, she refuses to rule out further privatisation of the NHS and backs plans for hefty welfare cuts. Her arguments for success are that she can win back the swing voters in seats such as the famous Nuneaton and I'm sure that is valid as they have most recently voted Conservative and are likely to want the same again, what she neglects to realise is that in doing so she complacently forgets about the Labour core who are turned off by her views. So I am glad to see that Kendall lies in last place in the polls as it would suggest I am not on my own in thinking like this.
But now is where we get to the real meat of the situation and where my problem lies. On paper Corbyn is my candidate, I locate myself on the left and find the vast majority of what Mr. Corbyn talks about to be similar to my own beliefs. Beliefs that everyone should pay their fare share to help others and that war is fundamentally wrong.
Burnham and Cooper find themselves somewhere in between Corbyn and Kendall and although don't cater fully to my political whims they do so as much as any previous Labour chief has and every now and then they come out with something which I really like, so much so that for the early weeks of the election campaign I was torn between the two, Cooper possibly edging out Burnham as although Corbyn satisfied my socialist desires I didn't think of him as a plausible or likely leader, sighting the 1983 General Election as my proof.
I was fairly set but then came the Welfare Bill, a dedication from the Conservative Government to make £12 Billion in cuts to welfare over the next Government. Corbyn unsurprisingly was strong and voted against the cuts that would hit the poorest in society the most. Kendall stayed strong to her beliefs too she agreed with the temporary leader Harriet Harman and said that the proposed cuts were in essence correct and abstained as was party line. But then we had Burnham and Cooper who vehemently disagreed with the bill like Corbyn but decided to abstain, letting the Bill through with ease. From this moment forward I had been a Corbynite, an honest man who stuck to his morals no matter what instead of weak yes men who will quite happily say one thing to your face and another behind your back. Again the country seemed to agree and the Corbyn bandwagon hasn't slowed down since, overflowing rallies and an increase in membership on unprecedented levels.
My views on Corbyn as a plausible leader too had changed, this surge in popularity was telling me that in fact this is what a lot of people want and as leader I believe that he could do a lot of good but, and there always is a but, I still can't see him winning a General Election. I do believe that in opposition Corbyn would force the attention of the media on some atrocities that are allowed to happen under the current Government, the housing crisis, the joke that is the minimum wage, the cost of trident, tax avoidance, tax evasion, the list is endless. In doing so my hope would be that as a result these issues could no longer be ignored and that even were he to lose the 2020 General election, that the political landscape in the UK would have shuffled to a more appealing position and that by 2025 there could be a quality alternative.
The last few days though my bubble has been burst, the tirades or abuse from the right wing of the Labour party has been incessant and the silence from the Conservatives have been deafening. If Corbyn was to become leader surely he would then open up to an even more unpleasant scrutiny from the other side, saying that it is hard to think it can get much worse than the deeply unpleasant bile coming from Tony Blair. Already he has been called anti-Semitic for his pro-Palestinian stance and will likely suffer similar for his association with the Irish Republicans. The press would overload anything positive he did with ten times as much rumour and speculation. True he does not have a perfect record but I am sure none of them do but the press won't be as hard on people that they will benefit from or at least perceive that they might do so. The opposition within the party too wouldn't die down and a split would be quite likely as the voices of Labour past would never be too far from the foreground. However disappointing I may find it I think a Corbyn Premiership may well be self destructive despite it being what I really want.
So I am stuck. I still have Kendall firmly on the do not vote list but I have to make a choice between the bland Cooper/Burnham leadership that in reality will be slightly left of Blair, slightly right of Milliband and entirely uninspiring but with a reasonable chance of becoming PM especially after five years where cuts will hurt or a Corbyn leadership that in a perfect world would be a perfect solution but with a general public who tend to be on the greedy side of aspirational and a poisonous press who again would rather tell the stories that keep them rich and powerful than the ones that really matter, would probably result in another 10 years in the Tory Wilderness. I unfortunately think that in writing this I have chosen what I didn't want to be the right answer.