This morning I read Labour supporter and ‘Milifandom’ founder Abby Cuddleston’s article, defending Andy Burnham’s reasons for abstaining on the recent Welfare Bill; a bill which will yank Britain’s youth away from getting a foot on the property ladder, and will plunge Britain’s lower class into even worse living conditions with a lower threshold on the benefits cap. Cuddleston stated that if Burnham opposed the bill he would be going against the decision of interim Labour Leader Harriet Harman to abstain, and would therefore cause calamity in the shadow cabinet from Burnham showing a lack of loyalty to the interim leader. This argument from Cuddleston is perfectly viable, and as she said in a recent Sky News interview, a united shadow cabinet is far better than a disjoined cabinet with sporadic intentions.
However my gripe comes from when Labour-candidate Burnham openly criticised the wording of Harman’s initial amendments (which, as we all know, were defeated)- and then went on to state that he would oppose the bill at the Third Reading if he were to become the Labour Leader in September. So, in my view, what Burnham has in fact done is openly vilified the Interim Labour Leader- by saying that in truth he would oppose the bill, but he’s only playing along so he could stay as mates with Harman and everyone else in the shadow cabinet until he gets elected. He’s also deserted those who will feel the welfare and social cuts the most from this Welfare Bill, by throwing traditional labour principles out of the window and rolling over to accept further austerity in this already butchered social sector- so what has he actually achieved? Burnham has sat on the fence for so long that it’s collapsed and broken his neck.
Former Prime Minister and Labour Leader Tony Blair recently claimed that Labour needs to move further to the centre-ground with a leader such as Andy Burnham in the future to have any chance on winning the national election in a few years time- indeed, Burnham would be a suitable candidate in this case because he shows striking similarities to Blair, by whisking left-wing principles away in order to become elected, a prime example being his recent abstinance from opposing the Welfare Bill. What this tells young voters such as myself is that potential leaders such as Burnham are willing to become ‘Tory-lite’ in order to get their foot in the door, offering a drab and gloomy future for young left-wing enthusiasts such as myself.
But this is where Labour candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s transparent and perspicacious characteristics shine, like a light-house in the otherwise shrouded sea of darkness that is the future of left-wing politics. Offering a clear, left-wing alternative to Britain’s youth and the lower-class, Corbyn gives many exhausted Labour followers enthusiasm and hope that they have not had in many years. His infectious, ‘real-world’ demeanour is highlighted in instances such as his humanitarian approach to the crisis at Calais and in his openness to say what many of us believed about Tony Blair’s leadership, branding the Iraq war as ‘illegal’, and that he should face a war crimes trial, which I completely agree with.
Corbyn’s principles are not as easily corrupted as Burnham’s, Liz Kendall’s or Yvette Cooper’s, with Corbyn being the only running candidate among the 48 Labour MP’s who rebelled against the Welfare Bill– his defiance of austerity and bravery to stand strong for what he believes in is something which young voters crave, and it’s no surprise to me that he is the only Labour candidate to capture the hearts and minds of the left-wing youth– as cliche as that may sound.
In September, Labour voters will have a decision to make: vote to move further to the centre-ground and continue to sever the ties with the middle/lower-class through welfare cuts, or revert to ‘dinosaur’ politics and become the left-wing opposition, with honest views and a clear agenda that the youth and those in poverty are crying out for.
With the Liberal Democrats electing a leader who opposes gay marriage and Labour’s forgetfulness of what their party stands for, the Conservatives will no doubt be laughing and preparing to be at the helm for the next 10 years. With a tenacious and honest leader in Corbyn who can give hope and energy similar to that of the SNP and Syriza in Greece, the right-wing could be having sleepless nights ahead.