I salute Corbyn, but his time is past
I write as one of the many Labour members identified in Andrew Rawnsley’s article in despair at Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude to the EU (“To stop Brexit, Labour supporters will have to revolt against their leader”, Comment, last week). With friends and colleagues, I have tramped the streets election after election for the Labour cause. None of us will be doing that next time round unless Labour finds a leader who can support a people’s vote with conviction, articulacy and passion.
Corbyn has done an important service for the party, repositioning Labour as a genuinely left-of-centre alternative to the Conservatives. He has many obvious limitations: lack of presence, inability to think on his feet, poor management and leadership skills. But Corbyn is an essentially good man and until now I have supported him. His negative attitude to the EU and his rejection of a people’s vote, though, are far too serious to overlook. Labour must now urgently look for a new leader.
The longer this distressing equivocation over Brexit continues, the more frontbenchers are disqualifying themselves from the leadership role. But there is ample talent on Labour’s backbenches. The time has come for someone with vision, intellect, gravitas and warmth to put themselves forward for the leadership and give the people a chance to vote again, now the implications are better understood. David Curtis Solihull, West Midlands As a newish member of the Labour party who joined specifically to support Corbyn, I have to agree with Andrew Rawnsley. Sad to state, speaking as a lifelong socialist, I would say that Brexit has split the left as much as it has split those in the centre and on the right. The Labour party could just as easily have got a leader who was strongly Remainer but instead it got Corbyn, full of radical ideals but not a believer in the EU. I know plenty on the left who voted Remain and have been of the same conviction ever since. Mark Abraham Manchester Andrew Rawnsley strives to portray the preference of Labour party members for a second referendum as a disaster for Corbyn. As evidence: “Since nearly all of his career has been spent in rebellion against his own party… we should not be too surprised that Corbyn seems so determined to defy it over Brexit.” To rebel is not good or bad per se
– it can only genuinely be judged on the nature of the rebellion. And don’t forget that he is abiding by the party decision taken just three months ago at conference. To Labour members, I say look to the character of our leader, who has spearheaded a remarkable regeneration of the party. Eddie Dougall, chair, Mid Suffolk Rural Branch Labour party
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Full of radical ideas, but not a believer in the EU.’