The attempted coup by UK Labour MPs against Jeremy Corbyn is an outrage. It is a complete denial of democracy and a sign of total disrespect and disregard for the will of the people. This isn’t about Jeremy Corbyn or whether you like him or not. This is about the principle of democracy.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected by a majority of Labour members. Whether his colleagues – who were elected by much smaller numbers of people – like him or not does not change the fact that Corbyn is the democratically elected leader of his party.
When Corbyn ran for his position, it was well known that the majority of Labour MPs did not support him. He won anyway. And polls show he would win again, with an even bigger landslide.
The fact that the Brexit side won, and Corbyn “didn’t campaign hard enough,” is being used as a pretext by those who have wanted to get rid of him since the beginning. Corbyn didn’t call the referendum, David Cameron did. Corbyn didn’t campaign for Brexit, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson did. Why should Corbyn pay the price for the actions of others?
The deeper problem with the attempted coup on Corbyn is that it makes party membership meaningless. The actions taken by Labour insiders, including trying to block Corbyn from even participating in a new leadership vote, throwing out recent members because they may be “too likely” to support Corbyn, and raising membership fees to make the party more exclusive, demonstrate the insulting elitist attitude that has turned so many people off from politics in the first place.
Labour MPs should consider why their preferences have shifted so far from their party membership. People who consider themselves Labour supporters voted for Corbyn. If a Labour MP doesn’t like that choice, they are free to run as an independent or create their own party. Corbyn has some troubling past actions and stances that are areas for legitimate concern. But Labour voters knew that and they elected him anyway.
The response to his perceived flaws is not to stab him in the back and betray party voters, it is to either create a new party and advocate against him, critique him while respecting that he won his position fairly, or try to bring change from the inside. The solution is certainly not to deny him the right to run for the position he holds or silence those who support him.
Around the world the democratic system is under severe stress. Rising inequality is fuelling growing anger, and that anger is manifesting itself in politicians who are against the status quo. But anyone who thinks that the solution is to use dirty backroom deals to stifle the democratic will, is deluding themselves.
The solution is to actually make people’s lives better, to support low-income and middle class people, to fix the rigged system, and to empower every person to achieve their goals and dreams.
Dirty tricks might win a tactical battle here or there, but they will create a powerful backlash and only make things worse. The will of the people must be respected, and that means the coup against Corbyn must stop.
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