I’m voting in the Labour leadership election this summer. I’ve been watching the debates, reading the Guardian and listening to Owen Jones. But I’m lost. How does Labour win in 2020 and still keep to its core values? It seems impossible.
I’m happy to admit I was an Ed Miliband fan. The manifesto was unconvincing, but he campaigned superbly and many of his core principles mirror mine. Nevertheless I completely understand the need for change in the Labour party, a new direction and a fresh start to win back voters who now identify with the ‘nasty party’.
I thought this was Yvette Cooper. She’s Labour at heart, but is also willing to move more to the centre ground to win votes and keep the party representative of the people. Arguably most importantly, to me, she sounds how a Prime Minister should sound: earnest and honest, impassioned and caring. I wonder though, is she too much like Miliband? She’s not radical but her actions and policies are well considered. She may make a fantastic leader of our country, but if she can get there is a bigger question.
And then there’s Jeremy Corbyn, who is now a serious contender in the race. He’s a socialist, which is scary (although it shouldn’t be) for Labour, but this means he is a new face and a fresh start; he stands for a radical restructuring of the party. He wants an elected cabinet, he doesn’t want to lead from 10 Downing Street, and he would ideally take Buckingham Palace away from the monarchy. He is a change—not the change that some see Liz Kendall as bringing—but a sweeping, fair change. If Corbyn had a few terms in government, I can imagine a different, equitable, honourable, amazing Britain that we can be proud of. I know this is an ideal—an unlikely fantasy—but with five years of a harsh, evil Tory government, people could, maybe, be tempted by the true left.
It’s a risk to vote Corbyn. Maybe it’s a risk to vote Cooper when weakling Burnham has better odds and patronising Kendall is maintaining worryingly solid support. Whether I put Cooper or Corbyn as my first choice, both votes rely on the Tories continuing to ruin our country, and the rich noticing the injustice felt by the poor. Do I want a Labour party that’s stable and smart, or beautifully progressive?