I salute Cor­byn, but his time is past

The Observer - - Comment & Analysis -

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.’

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