Will the voters punish Corbyn for betraying everything he promised in 2015?

by George Kendall

In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn made an idealistic call for a different kind of politics. In the four years since, step by step, he has broken an astonishing array of his promises.

He promised straight-talking, honest politics. What happened? One front-bencher, Barry Gardiner, now proclaims: “Labour is not a remain party now”, but the deputy leader,  Tom Watson, says: “We are a remain and reform party.” Yet from the leader, all we get is obfuscation and manipulation. When talking about a People’s Vote he uses weasel words like “a vote.” This could mean a confirmatory vote on May’s deal without an option to remain, a general election, or even just a vote in parliament. After two years of watching him enable a Tory Brexit and undermine the campaign against a People’s Vote, and after listening to how he talked about the EU as recently as 2010, does anyone honestly believe that he is a genuine supporter of EU membership?

Back in 2015, he promised that Labour members would have the final say on policy. Yet, on the most important issue of the day, when Labour grassroots wanted a chance for Conference to vote on a clear commitment to a People’s Vote, his people organised to block it.

He promised to usher in a new era of civility and bring seriousness back into debate. Instead, an army of his supporters hound any who disagree with them, on social media and in real life. They dismiss any inconvenient facts with an attack on the person speaking. And when they hear an inconvenient fact from a respected think-tank or a left-of-centre media outlet, they dismiss it as biased, while failing to provide any alternative authoritative source.

Back in 2015, he defended sharing a platform with murderous organisations like Hamas and Hezbollah, by saying you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree. Yet, when the future of our country’s relationship with Europe was at stake, he was not willing to share a platform with former leaders of the Labour party, let alone with politicians from other parties. Small wonder nearly half of Labour voters were unaware that Labour were officially in favour of Remain.

He promised to be as inclusive as possible. Yet his supporters constantly try to hound his opponents out of the party. Bizarrely, this has even included MPs without whose nomination Corbyn would never have been able to stand for the leadership in the first place.

In 2015, he highlighted the plight of people desperate to come to this country, but then, in January of this year, his equivocation about opposing the Immigration Bill undermined a nearly successful campaign to defeat it.

Perhaps most extraordinarily, in 2015 he said he was fed up with unnecessary poverty. Yet in 2017, he put forward a costed manifesto that involved implementing £7bn/yr of the additional cuts that the Tories had planned. Cuts that would impoverish some of the most vulnerable in our country.

The failing support for Labour in polls for the European election indicates that the voters may have finally rumbled him. A key question in these European elections is: how bad a defeat will be necessary for it to cost Corbyn the leadership?

George Kendall is vice-chair of the Social Democrat Group –  https://www.facebook.com/SocialDemocratGroup/   – a Liberal Democrat organisation to build links with social democrats outside the party. He writes in a personal capacity


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22 Responses to “Will the voters punish Corbyn for betraying everything he promised in 2015?”

  1. I’m happy to debate this article in the comments, but comments can take a little time to come up.
    If you want a quicker response to your comments, you can comment here:
    https://www.facebook.com/SocialDemocratGroup/posts/2410778825834921

    Best,
    George
    @socdemgroup

  2. Alf says:

    4-day working week, nationalised steel, green new deal. Not a bad start. Much better than the previous Tory-lite offerings from the Blairite wing of the party. And he is right not to share a platform with Toxic Tony.

  3. @Alf

    (Out of interest, Alf, do you, yourself, want us to Remain in the EU?)

    If Corbyn was right to refuse to share a platform with Tony Blair (and Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband), was he justified in sharing a platform with Hamas and Hezbollah?

    By not sharing platforms to show support for Remain, if massively undermined the Remain campaign. My conclusion is that he was quite happy to do so because he hadn’t really changed his attitude to the EU from six years previously. See: https://twitter.com/NudderingNudnik/status/1062812050697658375

    I am really worried about policies like a 4-day week. I fear it would mean companies moving their investment out of the UK, and so no longer employing people in this country. That would mean, for too many people, not a 4-day week, but a zero-day week.

    Creating jobs and improving living standards for the average person is fiendishly hard for a government to do. I can provide numerous examples of how, when a government has tried to solve it by central diktat, it has gone disastrously wrong. Can you provide an example where it has worked?

    Where it has worked is in the social democracies of northern Europe, all of which are in the Single Market. Corbyn’s office has said they want to leave that single market because they say that what they want to do is forbidden by the single market. I find that a really alarming indication that they aren’t trying to implement social democracy at all, but follow another model somewhere else in the world … but they won’t give an example of where that model isn’t an utter disaster.

    As for the last Labour government being “Tory-lite”, on welfare, Corbyn has been far more Tory-lite. The last Labour government substantially increased in-work benefits, Corbyn’s 2017 manifesto involved cutting welfare £7bn/year deeper than the Coalition had.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/20/labour-manifesto-keep-planned-tory-benefit-cuts-resolution-foundation

  4. John Reid says:

    Checked out he social democrat group on tiwtter at first I though tit was to do with the relaunched SDP,then I twigged it’s affront for the lbidems, as it has the is the bird the lidbems logo-not the social democrats? don’t think a blairite twitter account will go down well here

  5. Alf says:

    @George Kendall

    New Labour introduced compulsory work-for-your-dole “workfare” schemes to the UK under the New deal. New Labour introduced the hated Work Capability Tests for the sick and disabled. Food bank use increased exponentially under New Labour; and New Labour abstained on the Tory Welfare bill in 2015.

    New Labour did increase some in-work benefits but only because they subsidised employers who paid low wages (a £55bn pa bung to the employing classes). The priority for New Labour was to apply downward pressure on wages rather than provide a proper social safety net. In-work benefits and workfare were both North American ideas not socialist ones.

    I’d call that Tory-lite.

  6. Anne says:

    I do feel we have to move away from this silly name calling and start to focus on the situation which faces our country today – the country is in a real mess – both economically and politically.
    In the next article Kevin talks of the current situation regarding Brexit – reluctantly I agree with his solutions.
    The best outcome is a general election and allow Kier to head the Brexit situation – I trust him to give our country the best outcome. Once a deal is in place we can then progress to start building our country – investment is required.

  7. Hi John,
    The SDP doesn’t need to be relaunched.
    It lives on in the party it merged into … the Lib Dems.

  8. Alf,

    In-work benefits aren’t a bung to the employers, they provide vital support to families on low incomes.

    If you replace in-work benefits with too high a minimum wage, companies will either move their operations abroad, or they will automate jobs.

    That will mean that, for many, instead of a lower wage topped up with in-work benefits, they get no wage.

    That’s doesn’t help those in poverty, it hurts them.

    That sounds pretty Tory-lite to me.

    If you want more detail on this, the IFS has done a lot of work on it. See here for an overview:
    https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/10287

    I’ve rarely been angrier than in 2015 when the Tories introduced savage cuts to welfare after the end of the coalition (whilst simultaneously claiming to be compassionate Conservatives). I couldn’t believe it when the then Labour leadership abstained.

    But Corbyn did worst than abstain. He incorporated £7bn/yr of those planned Tory cuts into his costed 2017 manifesto.
    See https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/20/labour-manifesto-keep-planned-tory-benefit-cuts-resolution-foundation

  9. Greggo says:

    George Kendall living in blairite sunny uplands…
    New labour were woeful in social housing an absolute disgrace..
    Minimum wage set too low , Iraq war , Afghanistan, loss of Scotland , membership of the party halved …Corbyn and McDonnell saved this party from the abyss it was heading under NL.
    As for your beloved EU – what has it done for working class towns up and down the country – absolutely nothing, people can’t see it , and certainly don’t feel it – that’s why they voted to leave . A visa free skiing tr

  10. Landless Peasant says:

    “Hamas and Hezbollah”…yawn. Here’s an idea, how about putting a stop to all this tiresome in-fighting, get behind your leader Jeremy Corbyn, and focus your attacks against the real enemy the Tories? As for a “peoples vote” they’ve already had one, it was called a referendum.

  11. Landless Peasant says:

    It’s about time we had a 3 day week, sod working 4 days. Also the proposed Unconditional Basic Income would be a good idea too, could shut down all the Jobcentres then and save a fortune not to mention making everyone happier, and it would be a good way of redistributing the wealth. And while we’re at it, reduce State Pension age to 60 for both men and women, thereby creating more jobs for the young people.

  12. John P Reid says:

    George Kendall, when David Owen launched the SDP before Roy Jenkins came back from Europe and tried to turn it into a liberal party with the idea of getting ex labour votes to a new liberal party, Owen would have created a New Attlee style party,
    When Owen refused to merge with the liberal or a take over as it was

    In fact the SDP came close to winning by elections in 89
    When Owen folded the SDP mark 2 in 1990 it continued, in fact a lot of blue labour style people Liam stokes, Ben acibley and Giles Fraser, plus ex Ukip MEP Paul Flynn have joined it, it will do well in the peterBorough by election

    Landless, take your point but people like money, and there won’t be enough people to do the work

  13. Landless Peasant says:

    Ohhh now I see, all becomes clear, a last ditch attempt by the Right to oust Corbyn using the European Parliament results as an excuse!

    https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/05/26/get-ready-another-attempted-labour-coup-after-the-eu-election-results-is-looking-more-likely/

    https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/05/26/is-this-the-first-salvo-in-the-new-labour-coup/

    Talk about desperation lol

  14. @Greggo
    I’m not a Blairite (see the strapline under my article)
    But it’s a fact that New Labour significantly increased in-work benefits. Corbyn’s 2017 manifesto involved significant cuts to in-work benefits – over and above the cuts brought in by the Coalition. See https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/20/labour-manifesto-keep-planned-tory-benefit-cuts-resolution-foundation

    Thank you for your attack on the EU, that may be useful. When I meet Labour members who are angry that Labour is being described as a pro-Brexit, I may point them to your comment.

  15. @Anne
    How is my article name-calling?

    I’ve provided links which give detailed reasons for my comments about Jeremy Corbyn. And, if anyone wants to debate these issues, I’ve been responding to their points in detail.

    As for Brexit, about half of my article *is* about Brexit.

    You’re right that the country is in a terrible situation. In his article, I think Kevin is wrong. I may submit an article to explain why. But part of the reason for this crisis is that there is no serious opposition to what the Tories are doing.

    Though I am from a different party, I have respect for Keir Starmer. But he has an impossible job. He has spent three years trying to steer the Labour leadership into provided a proper opposition to the Tories on Brexit. He doesn’t and he won’t have the lead on Brexit – if only that could happen.

    I fear this is because the real views of Corbyn’s are better reflected by the comments of @greggo in this thread, than Corbyn’s deliberately ambiguous public statements over the last three years. I would be interested if anyone can provide clear evidence that I am wrong to think so.

  16. @Landless Peasant

    Thanks for your comment.

    Do you know of any countries in history that have tried the policies you suggest, and what the results were?

    For myself, I prefer to learn from the successes of North European social democracies.

    (Regarding focussing my articles on the faults of the Tories, I do that elsewhere.
    But the reason I post on Labour-Uncut is to debate, not to preach to the choir. I find debate helps me hone my ideas, and I hope others might occasionally find it interesting and useful)

  17. Landless Peasant says:

    Oh well, Labour didn’t do too badly in the euros comparatively speaking, and the Tories got a right thrashing! Predictably, all the Nationalists, Racists,Xenophobes and assorted Reactionary bigots all voted for the Brexit party as expected, but why the hell anyone would vote for the bloody LibDems is beyond me, though the Greens as ever are always a good choice. The rise of the far Right in general though is a cause for concern, and a very good reason to back Corbyn in any forthcoming elections.

  18. John P Reid says:

    Landless the Brexit party returned 2 more black and Asian MEPs on Sunday than labour have in 40 years

    Why do people vote libdem well they’re liberal and the EU isabneo liberal capitalist club
    Ironic that the former guardian liberals who interpreted CorByn as a liberal are now trying to get a remain candidate feeling sympathy for Tom Harris Alastair Campbell and Owen smith

    If only they’d not vote for Jeremy they’d have got their second referendum

    The current opinion poll is hilarious 21% and th combined. Brexit Tory vote 36%

  19. Tafia says:

    Landless Peasant Predictably, all the Nationalists, Racists,Xenophobes and assorted Reactionary bigots

    Would this be the Brexit Party that fielded a far more ethnically, religiously and sexually diverse set of candidates than any other party bar one? (which wasn’t Labour by the way). A party that fielded candidates from across the left-Right spectrum? With even non-Britiish born candidates one of which wasn’t even British?

    I reckon anyone that didn’t vote for such a diverse party is a racist, homophobic, islamophobic, anti-semitic small minded tosser. What do you say?

  20. The Labour party use to appeal to Christian Working-class voters with the view of Methodists stick with us get out of debt, the independence and We’ll deal with it, Gordon brown send the message he’ll go out and work for the better of the people, And the Christian discipline work ethic, the same as the Working-class work ethic for A mission to build A better life and don’t let the community

    This romantic Methodist view of everyone lived living under a labour council in Barking ignited working class flight-
    What do councillors know About education ,when we say that local government who wants to set the curriculum say we Yearn for the 50s and don’t want to end rationing
    Poorer and free privatise dictatorship happy with New Labour taking on the Thatchetrite TINA(there is no alternative and the Idea labour were embarrassed to be associated with a labour strand of Hovis bread and whippet-the ID politics of Thatcherism won that everyone should aspire to be snobbish and middle class and ignore the northern leave church and pub going working class as ID politics was only for those who voted Remain, winning by elections showed the public there was a alternative despite what Thatcher said to her view,

    ,Labour Region control who they target the votes for and they don’t care about winning the Working class vote, and if I was them I wouldn’t care either, but to let it get to the state where they couldn’t win back Thurrock
    Jon_Cruddas said Labour wrongly thought A policy of 2015 by not wanting a referendum we’ll get back ex Libdem votes form student and Farage will split the right vote and it’ll be enough to win
    Labours 2019 policy take away the word wanting and a similar general election result as 2015 will prevail

    This has caused labour view on politics to be We want to talk about stuff we’re interested in but not to talk Brexit to the working class

    the bitterness to say Brexiters are ultra-capitalists or little Englanders, we’ve been shat on since we voted to leave, the only way a immigration group could be classified (actually they’re economic migrants) is to say those migrating here for jobs, are the same in the work for under minimum wage, when as a kid there’s was a rule on minimum pricing so those selling products couldn’t under cut each other sell in bulk and drive the little shop owner out the market,

    The it’s a Moral victory to lose the working class vote and remain and there’s no point getting WC votes and the cost us the seats and cost us money and votes pat themselves on the back in 1983 those who’d suffer the jack boot of thatcher as leas they’d won their moral victory of getting their manifesto seen by the public

    it’s the Blue labour style member who’s quitting the labour party for the Brexit party in the EU vote, for a few years the Blue labour wing were saying labour is ignoring the working class at it’s peril, then the rise of momentum who are just as much middle class identity politics as. Progress have told the blue labour wing to keep quiet dismissed their concerns as prejudiced, and eventually ignored Brexit too the point that, labour thinks it can win some kind of 4)majority by being a middle class liberal party, and it took till the beginning of this year for the working class blue labour wing to finally move away and they’re taking the working class vote with them in their stride, and the progress/Momentum wing, just like the Bennites before them are oblivious too the damage they’re doing as long as they think they’ve got hold of the party and that their wing can somehow virtue signal that by backing remain that they’re appealing to enough middle class voters of their own kind, while ignoring the anger that betrayed working class brexiters are feeling that they’re jumping ship to the Brexit party, it could signal the end and destruction of the labour party ,as a working class party ,the anger isn’t racist or thick and some of those quitting labour who feel this anger were actually reluctant remainers, this reads of the time Gordon brown called a lady concerned about immigration a Bigoted woman ,when she wasn’t. yet she was right on ‘No go zone areas’ & justify that it incites division and sympathy to call brexit views hate speech its free to not be labelled has a point
    East end of Londoners in social hosing are moved out as the Councils there ,mainly as they don’t’ work in the areas they live or have retired, want to get in EU workers living here who still work, as such they don’t recognise their own area or the new area they lived in the they see a new culture foreign to their own and are angry they’ve bene turfed out and that they’re now far away from their relatives and their relatives don’t’ have baby sitter that can’t accept their values and are angry as they feel that they want more control of border and financially don’t do well out of it.
    The view it was a labour area was a Not so romantic idea when Dagenham went to the bnp in 2006and brexit sealed that fate in Barking Thurrock labour did worse in London in 87 than 83 Thurrock although boundary changes were a Remain labour lost at and haven’t. We havne’t won it back since 2010 ,Ed milibands idea Win default trash the review and get ex Libdem votes
    In a way identifying ex Libdem votes and seeing The right swung to UKIP was Ed Miliband playing with Tory politics although Labour would He’d have hit the excluded back if David Miliband has won as leader

  21. Landless Peasant says:

    Brexit is about Racism and xenophobia, and a misplaced notion of Nationalism, no matter who they manage to hoodwink into representing it. As Socialists we should be working towards establishing a world without borders.

  22. Landless peasant how are you going to convince other countries to have your socialist utopia even if JezBollah became PM
    Ans it wouldn’t be socialist if the other country, has a different economic police, say Le pen or the Gillet Juanes on in France,

    No borders oth Attlee and ilsin introduced legislation to Stop commonwealth immigration after Windrush in 1948

    We can’t tell other countries have no borders because we know you’re gonna be all guardian liberals like us,

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