The growing despair of a Labour loyalist

“… what enrages Corbyn’s critics most is not a doctrinal difference with the leader, but their assessment of the damage he is doing to the party. Their chief concern is over Labour’s prospects of ever again winning the trust of the British people and forming a government. And they want a Labour government very badly. In other words, they despair of Corbyn not because they are on the right, as the leader’s chorus would have you believe, but because they remain on the left.”

“… when MPs or other Labour voices condemn Corbyn and his team, their chief motive is not ideological disagreement. It is their hardening conviction that, with each daily misstep, the ruling circle is making Labour unelectable and turning the Tories’ lease on Downing Street into a freehold.”

 something has to move. There is less time than some in Labour might like to think. The party’s reputation is declining with each passing day. Labour needs to rescue itself, not for its own sake – but for the sake of the country it once aspired to govern.”

These quotes, from an article in today’s “Guardian” newspaper by Jonathan Freedland, certainly reflect my growing despair as a Labour Party member of 46 continuous years. I was there when Harold Wilson was leader, I was there when Michael Foot was leader, I was there when Tony Blair was leader, but another shambolic week by the current Labour leadership lets down the millions and millions who need an effective Labour Opposition and then a credible Labour Government.


  • Adrian

    Roger. I feel compelled to comment, not just on this posting but also, and I suppose inevitably, on your other two postings about Corbyn and McDonnell.

    I’ve also been a Labour Party member for more years than I care to recall and I have never been as depressed about the leadership as I am now. Even during the dark days of Foot and Kinnock, I was able to console myself with the thought that these were decent people trying their best to lead decent politics. Now we have infantileism and inexperience being dressed up as party democracy.

    The point about political parties is that they are supposed to have to guts to provide leadership and guidance even when that may not be a popular thing to do. As an example of this, I can only refer to the ridiculous email I and other party members have received from Corbyn asking for our views on bombing terrorists in Syria.

    Leaving aside for one moment the awful substance of the ISIL campaign, I have to make the point that in our version of democracy we elect a government and opposition and expect them to get on with it. I’m not suggesting that democracy is a once every five years event, far from it. Nevertheless, I do expect a united leadership giving direction and then having the guts to defend a collective position.

    I’m not even convinced that Corbyn and McDonnell even understand the concept of collective and disciplined leadership. Quite frankly, I despair because the issue isn’t about how I feel as a relatively comfortable retired trade union official; the real issue is that millions of people far less fortunate than me are relying on Labour to provide strong opposition to the most regressive Conservative government in living memory.

    Corbyn talks about Labour defeating the cuts in tax credits. Please, let’s not delude ourselves; the cuts were defeated by a coalition including, crucially, Lib Dem and Labour peers – the same peers that Corbyn would have abolished in any other circumstances. No, this has got to stop and before any more damage is done which could then cast the millions of poor and insecure to ten or more years of Tory theft.

  • Roger Darlington

    I agree with you entirely, Adrian. But Corbyn was elected on the first ballot in a large turn out in a democratic party election. Labour MPs cannot – and dare not – ignore this mandate.

    Whatever i think about Corbyn’s politics and policies, I think that he is an honourable man and that sooner or later he will realise that he is not the person to lead the Labour Party to victory and do the honourable thing.

    When Corbyn was first elected, I thought that this process would take two or even three years before sanity prevailed. But, every week now, I fear that there is no way we can wait that long or that events will take that long.

    This week, we have crucial votes on bombing in Syria and a by-election in Oldham. The ground is shifting at a terrifying speed.

  • Alan Surtees

    I enjoyed reading your blogs on the current problems facing the Labour Party. I feel that Jeremy Corbyn is probably a decent man who is going with his convictions, but I worry when I hear Ken Livingston and Diane Abbot, who appear to be in his camp, spouting their version of socialism. Surely, both of them are yesterday’s people and are very unlikely to attract support from the electorate. If they are going to be the face of the Labour Party in the near future, count me out.

  • Roger Darlington

    Hi, Alan.

    What concerns me more about Livingstone and and Abbott is the personal nature of their conduct of politics – the first referring to a colleague’s mental illness and the second mimicking a colleague’s accent. I thought Corbyn favoured a kinder politics.

  • Jim Moher

    Perhaps all should have withheld these despairing comments until the first real poll result in Oldham! Big bye-election turn-out, larger Labour share etc!
    Maybe in their rather gauche way, Corbyn & MacDonnell are getting through with a more Labour appeal of hope? Scottish elections will be the next test of whether they can recover Labour’s cataclysmic decline. Give them a chance I say, even though not my ‘cup of tea’ – especially with Livingstone and others in tow. They are certainly a refreshing change from previous Fony Labour and clearly an Opposition, raising important issues for the country! Plenty of time to go. Thought u would have been wowed by MacDonnell’s ‘iPad Socialism’, Roger.

  • Roger Darlington


    Please see my comments on the Oldham result here:


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