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Corbyn must fight against the Labour right, not placate them

This article is over 7 years, 3 months old
Issue 2543
Jeremy Corbyn must fight back against the Labour right

Unison union leader Dave Prentis said the defeat had to be Labour’s “final warning” and said Corbyn had to take “responsibility for turning things around”.

He called on Corbyn to “strive for unity” inside Labour—code for working with the right who constantly seek to undermine him.

Prentis added that Unison still backs Corbyn but implied that this could end. This would be a damaging blow to Corbyn.

Other “soft” left Labour members said Corbyn had to improve his communication with the media and his “message”.

Many would prefer to replace Corbyn with MPs further to his right. But this would move closer to the politics that meant so many people became fed up with Labour in the first place.


Closer allies of Corbyn sought to pin the blame for Labour’s defeat on manoeuvring and sniping against him from the Labour right.

Yet the right will never stop attacking Corbyn. Attempts at unity so far have only seen Corbyn make crucial concessions in a bid to keep them on side.

He has already dropped his opposition to nuclear power and Trident nuclear weapons. He has signalled he could drop support for freedom of movement of European Union migrants.

U-turns and confused retreats from former principles do not make Corbyn seem credible.

Polls show that many people see Corbyn as a timid leader at the head of a party whose top hierarchy hates him.

Breaking out of this means fighting the right, not placating it. Crucially there have to be more of the struggles that give a sense that society can change—and Corbyn has to be part of it.

Big demonstrations against Trump and racism, and in defence of the NHS, are a start.

It is good that Corbyn will join the protest for the NHS this Saturday. But there needs to be far more focus on active battles against racism and austerity.

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