Jeremy Corbyn: The Final Nail In The Coffin For Young People

I was asked today why I’m not optimistic following Corbyn’s victory in the first round of the Labour Leadership election. Optimism is quite the opposite of how I’m feeling.

Consider the potential of rising tuition fees, the scrapped maintenance grants, the inability to claim housing benefit and the insult of a rising minimum wage not applicable to young people. This was all delivered during the first Conservative budget for 19 years. Today, Labour has naively and selfishly condemned young people to another 10 years of Tory rule. Considering the latest polls, this will most likely see George Osborne or Boris Johnson become Prime Minister in 2020. Neither will buy into Cameron’s more compassionate brand of conservatism ideologically, and electorally when challenged by Corbyn will have no need to do so. The cuts will be harder and young people will continue to fall victim to the majority of them.

But my concern goes further than this. Even under Blair, there were attempts to label Labour the loony left, the death of aspiration, to make out that the party would spend money it didn’t have and raise taxes in order to do this. These accusations weren’t made by desperate Conservatives without purpose; they were made because left-wing government of heavy taxes and spending is simply not desired by the British electorate. The majority of Labour-Tory swing voters at the last election voted Tory due to Labour’s economic incompetence. Corbyn’s victory not only gives way to an opportunity of successive electoral victories for the Tories, it allows them to cause total destruction of the Labour brand. The very same Labour that gave young people the education maintenance allowance, increased funding for youth services and whose tax and benefit reform reduced child poverty at a record-breaking rate.

Young people need a strong Labour Party. They need a strong opposition to a Government ripping apart their youth services and making education a privilege. Conversely, they will receive a Labour Party fighting an internal battle against a leader who has no right to demand discipline from his MP’s. They will see policy announcements which excite them ever aware that they will never be implemented. Most importantly, they will see the deterioration of the only anti-Conservative mechanism strong enough to create positive change. Corbyn’s values may well attract more young members, yet in opposition they will remain nothing more than principle, only through winning elections can the policies which benefit so many young people come to alter the lives of those who rely on them most.

Labour electing Corbyn is sort of like them signing a world class striker – you give them the chance and they should do a lot of good – knowing that striker will be eternally be sat on the bench where they can’t really do anything. It will be a long while until the next Labour government, today is a sombre day for the oncoming generations of young people.


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  3. I am feeling much more optimistic than most, it seems. He has a real chance to lead a very different party, and potentially garner votes from the generally quite apathetic youth voters. Yes, it is unlikely he will steal votes from the Tories but he will appear to large sections of society who didn’t vote at all. Those that saw all the parties as the same, so there was “no point”.

    I would like him to be given a fair chance. If MPs resign, so be it. They are all replaceable. Maybe then Corbyn can fill his cabinet, and his party, with MPs who share his vision. After all, that’s what members want and that’s why they voted him in.

  4. Interesting thoughts, and certainly those things could come to pass. However, I am unsure on a few points here:
    1- why does Jeremy have no right to demand discipline from the MPs? The Labour party members elected him – remember many people didn’t want Ed when he was elected leader – and it didn’t come down to needing the votes of the supporters and unions. He received, going on the figures released earlier, almost the same number of the votes as Kendall, Cooper and Burnham added together from full paid up members. This isn’t a slim win – it’s a very definite and clear win from the party members.

    2 – I wouldn’t be so sure that the British public wouldn’t want an anti-austerity government. Look at how well the SNP did in Scotland – a large amount of that is because they clearly oppose austerity.

    I’ve seen a number of people saying that Labour won’t survive or that Jeremy will be out within 3 months or similar. If that happens (and it’s a massive IF), then I cannot see how Labour will continue as one party. It’s been fairly clear for weeks, months even, that the public doesn’t want New Labour any more. It’s now also clear that almost 50% of the Labour party members don’t want New Labour to continue either. The size of margin is a clear indictment of the policies offered, and if that’s not an indication to the senior members and National Exec Committee that they need to do some serious work on what Labour stands for, then I can’t think that anything will be other than the party tearing itself apart.

    Let’s be hopeful about Corbyn’s election, and give him a chance instead of writing him off immediately. He can’t fix everything immediately, but let’s see what happens.

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