Britain must do better than a choice of Johnson or Corbyn for PM

by George Kendall

Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn. Is that an acceptable choice for Prime Minister?

Boris Johnson is a man who his former employers sacked as a liar, who has sold Brexit on the basis of a series of lies, yet he is the odds on favorite to lead the Tory party, and appears set to call a new General Election in the autumn.

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed he did all he could to avoid Brexit, but half his shadow cabinet appear to think otherwise and are resigning. One Labour campaign source claims the head of the Labour In campaign, Alan Johnson, asked for a meeting with Corbyn in April and was told the only available date would be July, after the Referendum.

Neither Johnson nor Corbyn are fit to be Prime Minister.

The country is in an unprecedented political, constitutional, economic and existential crisis. It may well break up.

The First Minister of Scotland is preparing for a second referendum to leave the Union, and Northern Ireland may do so as well. During the campaign, voters were assured this would not happen.

Those campaigning to Leave have now splintered into two camps, one for retaining trade agreements with our largest market, the other for ending them. Their campaign was based on a series of promises that they are both now disowning.

It would be a travesty if there were no viable candidate for Prime Minister who represented the values of the 48% who voted to Remain in the EU.

Once it becomes clear what leaving would involve, and if, as seems likely, the major promises made by Leave turn out to be false, it may be that the British people will want a further chance to express their view on this. If so, we should give them that opportunity.

If those who want a tolerant, outward looking and honest government are unable to prevent Johnson and Corbyn from being the leaders of Labour and the Conservatives this autumn, they need a viable alternative. What that choice is, depends on many things, but most of all, it depends on who is willing to put country before party.

Once we know the result of the Conservative leadership election, there may be an immediate general election, so we cannot afford to wait. If the 48% are to have the voice they deserve, we need to start organising now.

George Kendall is convener of the Social Democrat Group – a Liberal Democrat organisation to develop the social democrat tradition of the Liberal Democrats, and to build links with social democrats in the Labour party

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15 Responses to “Britain must do better than a choice of Johnson or Corbyn for PM”

  1. Mike says:

    I understand the arguments made. I was a reluctant remain voter. However, if the 52/48 result had been the other way would you call for a second referendum or say you respect the ones who voted for leave? The EU has a reputation if making countries revote when they get the wrong result. This happened in Ireland and Denmark.

    It is true some people who voted leave voted reluctantly for that. But there are many, like me, who reluctantly voted to remain. There are very few enthusiastic remain voters, like Lord Mandelson. Britain is a very EU sceptic nation.

  2. George would of course like Nick Clegg, sorry Tim Farron, to be the choice. Don’t worry George this could be the beginning of the Liberal Party fight back. I will certainly encourage those New Labour members of the PLP to join you.

  3. Anon E Mouse says:

    The country will not break up. The working class have finally been given their voice and they have spoken and the sooner silly articles like this one stop the better.

    Johnson is a winner. Corbyn is a winner. Either could run this country.

    If corny hadn’t been forced to adopt the wrong side in the referendum he would now be a hero. If Labour force him out stand by for the party to collapse in England and Wales as it has in Scotland.

    Let Corbyn’s real voice about the EU ring out or let Nigel Farage sweep up your voters.

    You lot lost so move on

  4. Joe Roberts says:

    It’s “strange” isn’t it that so many people are accusing the Leavers of basing their campaign on lies whereas we all know the Remainers’ campaign was based solely upon facts!

    This nonsense has to stop and any talk of a 2nd or 3rd referendum put to bed as already stated by Cameron. Simply suggesting that 52% of the population voted for leave based solely upon lies is in itself a lie.

  5. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “Britain must do better than a choice of Johnson or Corbyn for PM”

    ……and your choice of candidates would be?

  6. @Mike

    Hi Mike

    You’re quite right, I wouldn’t call for a second vote. Which is why I’m not signing the petition for a second vote at this stage.

    Once those who voted for Leave realise they were lied to, it’s possible that they’ll demand a second referendum. Until then, I think it’s premature.

  7. @Mr Akira Origami

    I’m not yet sure who would be the best champion for the 48% in the likely General Election this autumn.

    However, there’ll be many good people who would be excellent, some of whom I won’t know. I had never heard of Jo Cox before she was struck down, but she wasn’t the only superb, principled politician in the House of Commons.

  8. @Jo Roberts

    Hi Joe

    My views on this are similar to the following quote from Sam Bowman:
    “All politicians lie and all campaigns are dirty, but the Leave campaign has been an order of magnitude worse than usual. *ALL* of Leave’s key messages have been bare-faced lies that Leavers *know* are lies: about the UK’s contribution to the EU, about Turkey’s chances of joining, about the UK’s power to veto EU treaties. They’ve released conspiracy theory videos about Mark Carney being in the pay of Goldman Sachs. They are Britain’s answer to Donald Trump, and like Donald Trump if they win will destroy important norms we have about (relative) honesty, decency and sanity in politics.”

    At present, most Leave voters don’t realise how bad the lies were, but I think they may start to before long. And when they do, I wouldn’t want to be Michael Gove or Boris Johnson.

  9. Tafia says:

    Don’t over-estimate the importance about lies of leave.

    The hostility to the EU is such that what Leave said wasn’t that important as to why Leavers voted. They just wanted out of the EU.

    Apart from which Carney has condemned Remain for deliberately misreporting and deliberatelly misrepresenting his figures and the Treasuries figures, amongst other things

  10. Peter Kenny says:

    It’s Tim Farron, isn’t it?

    He’ll be the man!

    Keep on keeping on, George!

  11. steve cook says:

    I disagree completely with this article-I am not going to even call it an argument-it is nonsense and elitist and anti democratic and anti working class .
    most of the country voted out-if you are like me English then over 53% -a majority-mostly working class and poor -do you despise democracy ? or do you despise the working class? or both ?
    secondly all the lies were told by the remainians -you idiot-didn’t you hear about ww3 ? or the end of civilisation? or global recession ?
    didn’t you haer about the £ 4250 per household per year cost to leave ?
    didn’t you hear about the completely illogical self destructive non-sensible threatening spiteful nasty cruel evil punishment budget ? where pensioners were told they would lose their triple lock protection? or where taxes had to go up 2% ?
    I heard when pressed to answer a outer say we could spend up to 100 million per year of the eu on the nhs if we chose to through electing a party on that mandate as part of a manifesto pledge and I heard when pressed an outer say we could get immigration down to 100 000 per year-as per camerons lie .
    100 000 immigrants per year is realistic and an improvement and is fair as a stop gap till potentially harsher limits can be implemented years in the future or maybe the figure will be revised up from 100 000 in the decades ahead if the elected govt stood on that issue ?
    saying up to a third could be spent on the nhs of the savings made by leaving the eu is also fair realistic and far better than the present situation .

    so all the insults threats lies and completely unbelievable far fetched nonsense was from the remainians and yet they insist on stating lies were told by the outers predominantly -evil nasty anti democratic elitist gits .
    I heard 100 000 immigrants and I heard 100 million per week on the nhs -I probably saw almost every minute of tv footage aired -so I know what I heard before you call me a liar also .

    democracy means reducing foreign aid and controlling the borders and sovereignty and immigration controls and an English parliament and an end to hs2 and an end to the hated Barnett formula-I am sure you being a vile elitist lying anti democratic person will hate all these famously popular demands that have not been made available to vote for by the elitist stitch up of electorate-the English white working class majority -over 70% of the electorate of the uk and 80% of the English electorate want these things but as the snp and greens and plyd and the labour party and tories have agreed to never allow them to be voted for the public have been robbed of democracy .
    like many people I saw on tv -I want immigration controlled and immigrants to be law abiding and even skilled and I want sovereignty as the eu are anti democratic and I am happy to lose money for this and happy to lose Scotland and happy to see parliament thrown into turmoil ie boris and corbyn etc
    you are in a minority-you don’t respect democracy-you lie -you hate the working class who predominantly voted for out -you are an elitist and typical labour supporter-typical foreigner or typical Londoner and typical wealthy -the labour party only appeals post brexit to the millionaire elititsts especially in ultra posh areas like west London Bristol st.albans and Cambridge and black or brown foreigners -who largely live in a few dozen ghettos -in London and Bradford Leicester luton Peterborough and Birmingham -this combination of privileged and black or brown foreigners can never produce a majority -not ever and it can never address a single policy issue popular with the majority and the working class.
    Scotland is 5 % of the population and over represented unfairly and heavily subsidised and represented in our parliament as well as their own -why wouldn’t you support the white English working class majority who are victims of all these evil unfair betrayals ? you and your sort have caused the circumstances we are in -many many people said oon tv when asked post brexit-infact most of those asked in the tv clip I saw -said it cant get worse and anything is worth a try and I don’t mind being a bit poorer and we need democracy back and we need a country that’s ours to pass to the next generations -and I understand and sympathise and even agree with those sentiments -and you would say carry on the grand betrayal and suppress democracy and inflict and victimise the majority-the poorest the indigenous white working class -who are the vast majority of the English population and even the majority of all the uk population -but you would support their exploitation by the privileged and the elite and the middle classes and political classes and the ruling classes and you would favour black and brown foreigners and scots over the interests of the indigenous poor and working class majority-because you hate and fear democracy and despise the white working class majority .
    labour are about to become extinct-not as severely as in Scotland and not in an instance but half their voters will not vote labour again post brexit-they are history in England and wales -and their votes will be largely taken by ukip .
    the majority of outers were labour voters or working class blue collar workers-not the 25 or 30 % claimed-I guess 75% of the outers were traditional labour voters but labour don’t want to admit this and the tories don’t wish to either -however it is obviously true .
    even if all of England were racist-what would you suggest ? ban elections? you are very judgemental and totally undemocratic and intolerant .
    I can live with corbyn or boris or anyone who is democratic and egalitarian and honest -I have made my views clear-but I don’t hate anyone and when I don’t get my way I am happy enough -especially if it is for democratic reasons -not ethical moral elitists corruption or pragmatism .
    the facts are the white working class majority are the only victims-and the institutions and sources of their victimisation are the unreformable eu and unreformable labour party and the parasitic scots and ethnic and religious minority foreigners and the privileged and elitists -you I think are one of the working class haters and anti democrats and I disagree with everything you wrote
    I finally say this-if Cameron hadn’t threatened ww3 and the end of civilisation and osbourne hadn’t said it would cost every household 4259 per year and a 2 % hike in taxation and an end to pension protections etc then the out vote would have been even larger-maybe 60% ? as many people said they only voted in because they were scared by project fear .
    add to that the northern irish and scots who are not English or allies like the welsh -and you have an even greater majority of nearer 70% -take out London where 66% of the electorate were not even born in the uk and who wishes to run away with our money now-and leave England as they are traitors and not even English and parasitic -then the majority rises even higher to about 90 % of the English electorate -so that was watered down by including Londoners and foreigners and scots and northern irish and then watered down further through project fear lying so severely that they intended to scare people into changing how they voted-just like they did in Scotland .

  12. Hi Steve Cook,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m not calling you a liar. I direct that at the people who lied to you.

    It’s early days for us to see the damage from Brexit, so I’m not surprised you’re not yet convinced. I hope I’m wrong, but if this carries on for another six months, I fear there’ll be little doubt of it. But, by then, it’ll probably be too late.

    I respect the choice of the 53%. What I said was, “if … the major promises made by Leave turn out to be false, it may be that the British people will want a further chance to express their view on this. If so, we should give them that opportunity.” Do you think, in that situation, it would be wrong to give them that opportunity?

    Why do I think they were lying? I don’t see how anyone could deny this was a lie:

    Do you have a link to Cameron saying Brexit would cause WW3? I’ve read the transcript of his speech, and it didn’t say that. I suspect that was just a journalist sensationalising the story.

    I don’t know if the £4250 per household per year cost to leave is correct. I understand that was estimated from what economists thought would be the lost growth a number of years from now. I know it sounds an enormous amount, but I fear it might be true.

    We won’t know for many years, because the most serious cost of Brexit won’t be from the recent fall in the pound or the drop in the stock market. What will do the damage is the gradual ending of external investment as, one by one, projects that would have got international funding no longer do and jobs that would be created are lost. Jobs have already been lost. I know of one company that has had to go into liquidation, because it is no longer viable in the new situation. But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what is to come.

    If you’ve read the links I point to above, and they aren’t enough, have a read of the following:
    Or this

    Incidentally, I’m not a Labour member, I’m a Lib Dem. If you want to know what I think politically, this will give you an idea:

    However, there’s a lot you wrote that I agree with.

    I think the government has neglected those on low incomes. For example, I think it’s scandalous that there has been so little building of affordable homes. I think need to stop talking about life-long learning, and start making sure it happens, so that those whose jobs are replaced by mechanisation have a realistic chance of another.

    I even posted as much at the following link. Have a read, and have a read of the great article by Kevin Meagher which I was replying to. He makes a lot of points which I imagine you should agree with.

  13. @Peter Kenny

    This is a Labour blog, and I’m enormously grateful to Labour-Uncut for allowing me to write here, so I probably shouldn’t respond directly.

    What I will say, is that Jo Cox was clearly a fantastic MP, but there are many other fantastic politicians in parliament. Any of them would be a vast improvement on either Johnson or Corbyn.

    And I’m now more optimistic than I was a few days ago, that we could get one as Prime Minister.

  14. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Are you going to name any George?

    Otherwise you appear to be saying the best choice for PM has been mudered.

  15. @Mr Akira Origami

    No. I won’t name anyone.

    There are good people in the Labour party, some I know, many I don’t.

    I’m not in Labour, I’m in a rival party, so it wouldn’t be helpful for me to name names. Besides, as I said, just as I didn’t know Jo Cox, I won’t know all the best people in Labour now

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