By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2912

What next? Here’s what Corbyn thinks

Will there now be a wider electoral challenge?
Issue 2912
Corbyn with a microphone in a tented area with a large crowd

Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the Marxism Festival on Saturday

 
Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected independent MP for Islington North, said he is ready to confront Keir Starmer’s government.
 
“Of course we’ll be holding the new government to account,” he told Socialist Worker. “That’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re making great strides already,” he added, referring to himself and the other Independent candidates elected to Westminster. “We’re talking to each other already.”
 
Corbyn compared Labour’s 9.6 million votes this time to the vote when he was the party leader. “The Labour vote was lower in this election than it was in 2017 and 2019,” he explained.
 
“I was asked to condemn myself for losing in 2019 by one of the media this morning. I happily condemned myself but pointed out that I got more votes than the current government.”
 
Corbyn’s Labour votes reached 10.2 million in 2017 and 12.8 million in 2019.
 
“Now others must take responsibility too. Labour needs to think very carefully about its result,” he said. “Yes, there’s a huge number of Labour MPs. That’s fine, great. But the vote was down, the percentage growth for Labour support was around 1.5 percent.”
 
Corbyn won his seat of over 40 years with 49 percent of the vote—almost 15 percent more than the Labour candidate. 
 
He said the Labour Party lost support in the election “because of Gaza”. “The Independents and myself were elected over this, and in many other constituencies, Gaza ceasefire Independents did very well.
 
“Andrew Feinstein and Leanne Mohamad for instance got very good votes, and they almost won. There’s some very significant things there.”
 
But, Corbyn warned, “There’s also the worry of the far right. We have to oppose the whole agenda of Nigel Farage and the dangerous populism of targeting refugees as the cause of all our problems.
 
“They’re not the cause of our problems. The real problem is the greed and inequality of society. We have to point that out and it’s partly an education exercise.”
 
Corbyn’s win in the north London constituency neighbouring Starmer’s is a blow and a warning to the new prime minister.
 
Starmer may have hounded Corbyn, his legacy and the left out of Labour, but the victory for Corbyn and the Independent MPs is important. There will be discussions about future electoral challenges. But the most crucial element will be events such as the Palestine demonstration that Corbyn joined and spoke at on Saturday and strikes and militant protests.

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