Enough's enough: An open letter to Jeremy Corbyn from a former supporter

"Please, I implore you, do the honourable thing. Do it now."
"Please, I implore you, do the honourable thing. Do it now."

By Julian Self

Dear Mr Corbyn,

I voted for you to become our party leader. I wanted the change that you represented - the return to socialist principles and grassroots values, a turning away from slavish adoration and idolisation of free markets - but it's time that we faced facts. Under your leadership, Labour has no hope of winning power because you simply don’t engage with the typical person on the street and you don't inspire belief among the public at large. At the moment, we don't even present a credible opposition.

I am a Labour voter, a party member and a union member, but we must accept that mere loyalty to beliefs and ideals is not enough. What you have to ask yourself right now is whether you are prepared to sacrifice lives - the lives of children being raised in poverty, the lives of patients being left to die on trolleys in hospital corridors, the lives of disabled people who are cut off and abandoned to their fates, the lives of the elderly left shivering at home or shamefully neglected in profit-driven care homes.

You have to ask yourself whether you are prepared to watch our state education system being wrecked (and part-privatised under the guise of academies), whether you will allow the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of our NHS, whether you are prepared to accept the stripping away of workers' rights as we plough towards Brexit and a zero-hours economy.

Are you really willing to sacrifice all of this in a quest to retain ideological purity?

The Labour movement is and always has been about protecting the lives of the many, not merely preserving the consciences of the few. While we are not in power, we must at least present a consistently strong and effective opposition. The country needs us - hell, even the Tories need us.

You have proved yourself to be a man of honour and integrity. It seems that many of our membership are willing to allow this government to continue to wreck our country unchecked in their pursuit of the socialist ideal that you represent, but I cannot believe that you will allow the suffering of so many to continue for that cause.

There will be time enough to steer the heart of the party later but, for the moment, we must accept that our leftwards shift has failed and that we now urgently need to move forwards - because time is a luxury that those suffering under this government's dogma-driven policies of cuts and austerity simply cannot afford.

We should not be looking forward to whether we can maybe win in 2020 or, failing that, make changes to our party structure in time for 2025. We need to be acting right now, this minute, because so many people are dependent upon us having a voice and upon us being a force that can drive hard against this government in order to improve lives today.

Please, I implore you, do the honourable thing. Do it now.

Julian Self blogs at http://thefles.wordpress.com/. You can follow him on Twitter here.

The opinions in politics.co.uk's Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.


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