Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s Donald Trump. The Republicans are showing us what not to do with a disastrous leader

by Samuel Dale

Every Republican in the United States is being asked a very simple question that must be answered: will you vote for Donald Trump as president?

There are four approaches. First, total support as we have seen from Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Secondly, qualified support as shown by Paul Ryan, John McCain and others who are holding their nose and voting for Trump out of party loyalty.

Thirdly, abstention and neutrality as backed by both former President Bushes, Jeb Bush, Lindsay Graham and others. Finally, outright rejection which is not currently a popular view but is backed by Colin Powell and other Republican mavericks.

These are the four choices that Labour members will face in 2020 when they are asked the same question: will you vote for Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister?

The Republican mess is a useful guide for how Labour members can handle the Corbyn nightmare in 2020 and how not to handle it.

1. Total support

Christie, Rubio and Carson look like the shameless job-hungry careerists that they are. They spent months claiming Trump was totally unfit to be President – not in the normal primary knockabout but seriously unfit to hold office.

There will be Labour total supporters come 2020 who fear for their role in the party if they show disloyalty to Corbyn such is his grassroots support.

This is the road to disaster. Members and MPs should think about the long-term future of Britain and how to install a centre-left government. Blindly backing Corbyn will taint supporters and the party for decades to comes, just as it will for some Republicans. Differences must be made clear.

2. Qualified support

This is perhaps the worst approach of all. Paul Ryan set out a seemingly sensible idea of being a critical friend of Trump, calling him out where needed and pushing his own conservative agenda.

But you can’t deal with incompetent, hot-headed extremists like Trump and Corbyn. Last week, Trump said that any judge of Mexican – or Muslim – heritage, including Americans, has an “inherent conflict of interest” against him because of his policies.

Ryan slammed him as a “textbook racist”, which should be applauded, but then repeated his endorsement for President Trump. Ryan is effectively saying that tax and social security cuts – the centrepiece of his insane right-wing agenda- are more important than racism. Madness.

The Labour problem with Corbyn has many similarities.

How can Labour moderates support a man who wouldn’t order police to shoot to kill terrorists on the rampage around London? Or backs nuclear disarmament? Or flirts with full pacifism? Or his temperament and competence to do the job? And how can anyone support Corbyn’s high tolerance for anti-Semitism but extremely low tolerance for any complaints about anti-Semitism?

Anyone who backs Corbyn will be repeatedly asked about his latest outrage and cock-up during the campaign and to defend him, just like Trump. When they criticize his positions again and again but still support him as PM then they will look as ridiculous as they do today.

There comes a point when the means cannot justify the ends. Tolerating anti-Semitism is not a price worth paying for higher welfare. A line has to be drawn in the sand.

Paul Ryan and the Republicans have reached that point with Trump and continued to support him.

It will taint the Republican party and all supporters to the moral catastrophe of Trump’s candidacy for decades. Labour supporters have the same choice in 2020.

3. Neutrality

This appears to be the most sensible approach but doesn’t work in the UK. Jeb Bush is able to say he will not vote for Trump but will campaign for Republican congressmen, Senators and governors.

There is no such luxury for Labour MPs and members when deciding whether to back Corbyn at the general election as the legislature and executive are inextricably linked in our system. If you support Labour MPs then you are backing Corbyn as PM.

Labour MPs could say they are running on a Labour ticket but will not support Corbyn as PM. This would cause a chaotic election where MPs disown a manifesto and leadership but remain members of the party. It would be constitutionally unprecedented and the consequences would be largely unknown but some can be predicted. Would the leadership try to expel them? Almost certainly. Would other left-leaning parties run candidates against them? Almost certainly. It would be a messy compromise that try to show loyalty to Labour and opposition to Corbyn. It wouldn’t work.

4. Outright opposition

This would be a pledge to vote for another party while still remaining a member of Labour. It would be a pledge to stop Corbyn.

It would almost certainly lead to expulsion in line with party rules and as such is the nuclear option. Yet for many it would be the only honest choice to make. If you believe that a Corbyn premiership would be a moral and economic disaster then it is insupportable.

This is by far the most principled approach and appears to be backed by Tony Blair who called a Corbyn premiership a “dangerous experiment”.

The problem is dislike of the other side. Many Republicans feel nauseous about holding their nose and voting for Clinton just as many Labour folk would feel sickened at voting for Boris or Osborne as PM. But holding your nose is the most honest way.

Put simply, it’s party versus country. Are Labour members – just like their Republican counterparts – going to vote for someone they find morally insupportable out of party loyalty?

By 2020, it will be time to make choice about whether Labour sinks with the Corbyn disaster or rescues what’s left of the party. If Corbyn remain in place then I will be voting for anyone else who can stop him.

Sam Dale is a financial and political journalist


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16 Responses to “Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s Donald Trump. The Republicans are showing us what not to do with a disastrous leader”

  1. “How can Labour moderates support a man who wouldn’t order police to shoot to kill terrorists on the rampage around London?”

    This seems a perfectly proper position for him to take, given that a) the PM has no power to give such an order, and b) no such authorisation is required for the police to shoot to kill if necessary.

  2. @Samuel Dale said:

    “Many Republicans feel nauseous about holding their nose and voting for Clinton just as many Labour folk would feel sickened at voting for Boris or Osborne as PM.”

    I can understand that logic in the US context, but not unless you live in a Tory-Labour marginal in the UK.

    Under first past the post, in most seats in the UK, who you vote for won’t change the MP, so won’t affect who is the next Prime Minister.

    However, it will have a symbolic effect.

    The votes for the major parties will be tallied up, and the percentage of the national vote that Corbyn gets will be important.

    So, for those who don’t live in a marginal seats, who can’t vote Labour because they don’t want to endorse Corbyn, they don’t need to vote Tory. They could vote for another party altogether.

    @georgetsk

  3. Forlornehope says:

    It’s quite simple, people who cannot support Corbyn as the future Prime Minister have no place in the Labour Party and certainly should not be standing for Parliament as Labour Party candidates.

  4. John Kelly says:

    I’ll admit it the headline drew me in (perfect click bait), but even then I was amazed that the author would wind up actually recommending that party members vote against Labour at the next general election. Sam if you have not already resigned from the Labour party, please do so now and go and start writing for Guildo Fawkes it is the only honorable thing left for you to do.

  5. Tony says:

    “How can Labour moderates (sic) support a man who wouldn’t order police to shoot to kill terrorists on the rampage around London?”

    What he actually said was that he did not support a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Such a policy gives the state a blank cheque to shoot whoever they want in whatever circumstances they want. The French authorities did not have this policy as they killed some people but took others alive.

    How can anybody trust a journalist who so blatantly misrepresents the facts?

    “Or backs nuclear disarmament?”

    Why does the author have a problem with that?

  6. James Martin says:

    The sheer crazed nastiness of the Labour right is really bubbling to the surface now. As a Labour member for many decades I supported the Party of Blair, often with gritted teeth and a few expletives, voted for a Party whose policy on things like foreign policy, PFI and privatisation I bitterly opposed but voted nevertheless. But it seems those like Sam Dale are incapable of doing the same, incapable of showing loyalty or respecting membership democracy. In the case of Dale he also seems incapable of supporting the Non-Proliferation Treaty (hint Sam, even multilateralists are supposed to actively support nuclear disarmament, something you clearly don’t even realise, or have you gone totally Dr Strangelove?). As for ‘dangerous experiments’ I think the half-million dead civilians in Iraq due to Blair’s lies indicate who was always the real danger, and not just to the Labour Party whose votes he steadily frittered away as a result.

  7. Peter Kenny says:

    Drivel. Possibly the worst thing I’ve read on here, and that is saying something.

    He doesn’t seem to have noticed that Coryn was elected by the members who he thinks are in some moral quandary about supporting him.

    I guess he means MPs because maybe they’re the only members that matter in his world. Look, someone stand against Corbyn and let’s sort it out – or are you just going to be posting this chest puffing stuff from now until god knows when.

    If you want to use a US frame Corbyn is clearly closer to Bernie Saunders in history, policy and style but let’s not let sensible political comparison get in the way, eh?

    Trump – build a wall to keep out migrants
    Corbyn?
    Trump – no gun control.
    Corbyn?
    Trump – kill terrorists families.
    Corbyn?
    Trump – punish women for having abortion.
    Etc etc.

    As for Blair – Chilcott is coming. There will be a debate then, I imagine, about the wisdom of following his advice.

  8. james says:

    As I said at the time we all know what he MEANT on the subject. The point being that the leader of the opposition needs to understand the context in how he or she is regarded and provide a clear answer that cuts through the prevalent perceptions of him or herself. The fact that he didn’t spoke volumes as to his political acumen.

    This was a real iconic moment where body language and clarity of communication was required. Most people don’t have the time or inclination of looking at the whole context of the arguments. They just want to know `if IS were killing people in my local theatre – would the leader of the opposition agree that trained people should have be trusted to use their judgement in keeping people safe as much as humanly possible?`

    The fact that he didn’t understand that is very telling.

  9. john riches says:

    I occasionally visit this site to see what the dead part of Labour is doing and thinking, and this is without doubt the most ill-thought through, inaccurate, and hysterical piece I’ve yet seen.

    Labour Uncut, you’ve jumped the shark.

    Sam Dale, if you can consider voting Osborne or Johnson – despite what both would do to the country – then you have no Labour principles. None.

    The shoot-to-kill mis-allegation is dealt with above. The anti-Semitic one has been comprehensively debunked elsewhere; I can’t be bothered to rehash it here, as you obviously either aren’t getting the point, or are wilfully misreading it.

  10. Mike Homfray says:

    Glad you are leaving the party. You really should have never joined because you’re not a socialist of any description. Indeed if you haven’t done so already this should be enough to ensure your expulsion. Enjoy the Tories.

  11. paul barker says:

    But what happens if The Election comes much sooner than 2020 ? There are obvious scenarios that could lead to a snap Election & those who oppose Corbyn but are waiting for something to turn up could find themselves locked in to a Government they cant support.
    If you think you will be leaving in 2020 then the sensible (& honest) course is to go now.

  12. John P reid says:

    obtuse angle, police are told to shoot in the chest as it’s the most dense area to stop a bullet going out the other side and largest area, it also is less likely to kill than a James bond style super hero who could should someone in the head who is moving form a distance of 100 feet away

    shoot to kill was brought in especially for stopping suspected suicide bombers, again police have to have a very strong case to justify they suspect someone is a suicide bomber or they won’t be cleared of self defence .

    the idea a pacifist politician can tell a police officer go up to a suspected suicide bomber and detain them ,even by shooting them in the stomach, and not expect that suspected suicide bomber to not detonate themselves is silly, its taking away the right of the police to use shoot to kill,will either mean that the police won’t be able to shoot a suicide bomber and that bomber detonates themselves, or the cop goes up to the suicide bomber who then blows himself up ,killing the police officer and who ever told the police officer to go up to the suspected suicide bomber ,knowing the risk is then prosecuted for corporate manslaughter

    tony it doesn’t give the police a blank cheque they have to justify it, same as they have to justify when arresting a little old lady whether to put her in hand cuffs, in case she escapes, and comparing the UK law to the French is pointless, we all know they just ignore the law anyway

    mike homfray, enjoy years of endless opposition, maybe we could expel the electorate for not voting for us

    James you’re right about him not making clear what he meant

    fornlornehope, define not having Jeremy as prime minster, suppose a MP stayed within the party, Jeremy won, and that MP voted against the whip 532 times
    they may disagree with a war for instance, and were later proved right

  13. Mike Homfray says:

    As I would never vote for your sort of Labour party John it’s really irrelevant. I vote for what I believe in and that wouldn’t include a return to the right wing

  14. Peter Kenny says:

    John P Reid no ‘shoot to kill’ policy has ever been ‘brought in’ and a good job too.

    There was wild talk about this after the 7/7 atrocity – the result was the killing of an entirely innocent man on the tube.

    Jean was shot at close range in the head in a crowded tube train. If he’d been a suicide bomber the people who killed him and a load of others would have died in the following explosion.

    ‘Shoot to kill’ just means incompetent, frantic, reactionary violence against god knows who. It was never ‘brought in’. There are no clinical, dispassionate James Bond types thinking about head shots, obtuse angles etc in the Met.

    Read the report about JCM – utter fuck up from start to finish. If it didn’t end in a man’s death it would be pure conedy. Please don’t talk about them as if they’re fit to hold the responsibility of any ‘shoot to kill’ policy.

    Sceptism about the use of state violence has a reasonable basis to it, don’t you think?

    What remains the case is that people, including the police, have a legal right to use ‘reasonable force’ to defend themselves, including killing people. As you say people have to be able to defend that.

    So – Corbyn is against state sponsored murder – good.

  15. Tafia says:

    Peter Kenny, there is no ‘shoot to wound’ policy. When the target presents itself, you take the centre of the mass on display – which will either be just under the chest or the centre of the face. As soon as the target is down, if it moves it gets another.

    People who witter about firearms and shot policies usually have no experience of how difficult it is to shoot – even for experienced marksmen ( I was army pistol champion), nor how much damage a round actually does when it hits someone ( a bullet in the head disintegrates the skull and usually empties the brain or most of it, out. One through the centre of the torso will usually explode the liver, and if it’s at c;ose enough range rip the aorta apart as it exits through the back).

    But you don’t piss about trying to shoot to wound. That puts other people in danger.

  16. sean connor says:

    Mr Dale makes two mistakes. Jeremy Corbyn is, unlike Trump, not a fascist.
    Secondly, Dale should join the Tory Party.

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