Sunday, 29 November 2015

Jeremy Corbyn: I'm going nowhere

After a grueling week for his party, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he's going nowhere, whatever the outcome of the upcoming Parliamentary vote on Syrian airstrikes.

Appearing on this morning's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Corbyn repeated the fact that he had a "very clear mandate", and that people had refused to accept that the Labour Party was now in a "different place".

Responding to demands from a Labour MP that he should resign, or risk dividing the party over airstrikes in Syria, Mr Corbyn brushed over the turmoil of the past few weeks. He told Mr Marr that Labour had actually managed to claim victories over the government, concerning tax credits and spending plans for the police service.

Next week is expected to be a very tense time for Labour; the Oldham West and Royton by-election is expected to take place on Thursday 3rd December. The seat has been quite a safe seat for Labour, especially since 2011. UKIP and the Tories were virtually neck and neck, as the opposition to Labour in the seat, back in May.

There's a tangible threat from UKIP now; Nigel Farage is trying to appeal to Tory voters, and his party candidate hopes to actually usurp the seat. An article by the Daily Mail last week claimed that critics of Mr Corbyn will try to launch a coup against him, if Labour loses the by-election.

Mr Corbyn seems to have taken one old saying too literally; keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Even if the by-election goes in Labour's favour, the vote on Syria could still risk destabilising Mr Corbyn. All it takes is a mass-resignation of Shadow Cabinet members, and a motion of no confidence to bring him down.

In his appearance on the Andrew Marr Show today, Mr Corbyn insisted that he was "enjoying every moment". Somehow I doubt it. Mr Corbyn's leadership is more of a desert island, surrounded by a sea of boiling acid. All it takes is one stumble and he'll be dissolved in an instant. It's hardly an enjoyable predicament.

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