In Just a Few Weeks, Corbyn Has Already Brought Significant Change to Labour
The Tories expected to write a script for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour: incompetence and extremism. Yet as they review the wreckage of their week of tax credits chaos they must surely know this is not going to plan. They are now more out of touch with the British people than the unelected House of Lords.
Tory chaos over tax credits did not happen by accident. The Corbyn-led Labour Party made a political choice to resist the temptation to put constitutional practice ahead of the interests of millions of working people. Our leadership debate showed people wanted a strong, principled opposition on issues like this. Corbyn has channelled that from his leadership campaign through to Labour’s Parliamentary tactics. The tactics flowed from the strategy of standing up to the government more clearly.
Corbyn has slowly but surely prodded away at the tax credits in PMQs week after week, gradually cornering the PM. His use of crowd-sourced questions – such as the case of Kelly – has isolated the Prime Minister from mainstream opinion.
Corbyn’s leadership is interesting not just for how he has given expression to the need for a strong opposition in parliament. The changes go far wider. The balance sheet is growing.
Labour is now unafraid to connect with the mass movements and civil society that form our country’s wider opposition to the Conservatives. The new leader’s first act as leader was to address a refugee rally in Parliament Square. He dispensed with convention by speaking in Manchester during the Tory conference in support of the Communication Workers Union’s case on Royal Mail. He gave a clearly pro-trade union speech to TUC in his first week as leader that showed he was not going to be pushed around by the Conservatives over Labour’s relationship to the wider labour movement. A bolder attitude to the labour movement blunts the Tories’ attack on the trade unions.
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