Oh Jeremy Corbyn
At this moment in time, you would be fooled into thinking that Labour is in a state of crisis, that internally they are tearing each other apart and electorally, Labour are doomed. As a Labour Party member, I can tell you none of this is true.
Labour today has its strongest electoral identity in decades, gone are the capitalist policies of New Labour and in its place, socialist policies that put Labour at complete opposites with the Conservative Party.
So, what is wrong with the Labour Party? Why are Labour trailing in the polls after 8 years of austerity under two Conservative Prime Ministers,
Two words, Democracy and Spin.
What is happening in the Labour Party currently, has been happening since the party began. The battle between the factions is historic, but why is it suddenly so rife, and such a big media story? Well, the only reason I can think of is it’s the left wing winning against the centre-left. Cries of “hard-left takeovers” are rampant when, in reality, it is democracy that is prevailing. The left is organised, they know where they need to be, and they are winning the seats they want. Local members, young and old, new and existing, are voting democratically for their representatives, and those they are voting for are on the left of the party. The same happened, but opposite, under Tony Blair, where the centre-left and right wing of the party won the elections (democratically I might add), and the left was losing.
So why the increased media scrutiny? It all comes down to spin, and the problem isn’t Jeremy, it’s the team around him. From the moment Corbyn became the leader, he has been attacked from all sides. Attacked in the media for being too supportive, not supportive enough, not well dressed, not the ideal perfect image of a leader as imposed by the mainstream media. He is not Tony Blair, he is not David Cameron or Theresa May, and to me, that is a good thing. But how do we convince the public that the difference in the leadership style that Corbyn has is worthy of the highest office in our country? It’s through the very mainstream media that Corbyn has been fighting against. We need to get better at spin.
The feeble attempts at PR and spin that Jeremy’s team have made are bringing the party down, the Leadership’s office is too slow to respond, and not concise enough when they do. We don’t have strong relationships with the press like we did under Blair, and while the left can regard this as a good thing, relying solely on ‘independent’ media outlets will not win us an election. We need the likes of the Times, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Mirror and, dare I say it, the Sun and while the Mail and the Sun are disgraceful media outlets, they have some of the largest working-class readerships of any other newspapers put together. The working class that we need to reach, and that we want to represent, are constantly given a one-sided view of the party because we refuse to engage with them and, also, by refusing to engage, we lose control of the argument.
Jeremy Corbyn has proven everyone, including myself, wrong. This time last year Labour was set to be wiped out in the General Election, and yet we went on to contest an election where we had a net gain of seats and stole the Theresa May’s majority from under her feet. The Labour Party can win the next election, and we can win under Jeremy Corbyn, but we cannot win without improving our relations with the press and installing new, experienced and knowledgeable people into the press office.
Jack is the Digital Engagement Manager and Co-founder of The Front Bench, he studies Politics at the University of Salford.