The next 12th of September, the Labour Party will elect its new leader, following Ed Miliband’s resignation after the general election in May. This is a very important contest for the future of the United Kingdom, as it will establish the course of the opposition to the Conservative Government of David Cameron and it will define its political alternative for many years to come.
There are four candidates. Liz Kendall is the blairite candidate, a liberal leaning to the right who labelled as extremist Syriza’s “fantasy politics”. Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper are in continuity with Ed Miliband’s centrist approach, the first closer to the previous leader, the second more outspoken on minorities issues. But the only one candidate who proposes a radical ideological break with the moderate stance of Labour’s recent past is Jeremy Corbyn, 66, a white beard and a coherent record of clear stances on most important issues (firmly against the Iraqi war, the trident nuclear weapon program and the austerity agenda).
As a European citizen resident in the UK, I am concerned by the future of this country: despite being outside the eurozone, inequalities are growing faster than in any other rich country, the economy is going through a stagnant recovery for the benefit of few, and the Kingdom has never been so divided since its creation in 1707.
As a Socialist, I believe it is only with the help of Labour that we can hope to tackle these issues and I think Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate to the Labour leadership which has a clear vision about how to do it. He proposes a sound redistributive fiscal policy to tackle inequalities. He has a credible economic strategy for a sustainable growth. He outlined an industrial strategy for the entire country, not just for London. You can find them here.
More than that, Jeremy Corbyn is able to reach a wider part of society which is fighting for an alternative to the neoliberal order but does not identify with Labour or parliamentary politics. His political generosity towards a diversity of social struggles going on outside Westminster makes him a good kind of leader, very different from the almost artificial politician selected by their electoral appeal (which he doesn’t lack either, as he has won 7 consecutive absolute majorities in his Islington North constituency).
But there is a more fundamental reason why I think it is important for us Europeans to back Jeremy in his bid. He embodies the hope of an awakening of the Socialist movement which can trigger a change of political momentum not only in Britain but across the whole Europe.
The European crisis has very much been the crisis of European Socialism, which has failed to offer a clear alternative to Merkel or Osborne-style fiscal rigor. Even leaders like Ed Miliband were too cautious, looking unconvinced that such an alternative could be really put in place. Ambiguity has been the essence of what they emanated while in the ballot people would flee towards more radical options.
This is no time for caution and ambiguity. Jeremy Corbyn has always been one of the most outspoken opponents of the austerity agenda, reclaiming the socialist roots of the party. He is a strong advocate for a reformed social Europe and a first-hour supporter of Syriza (last January I had the honour to speak after him at a rally in solidarity with the people of Greece).
His popularity in the Labour leadership race has gained his supporters the loathing of Tony Blair and Corbyn’s election is very likely to trigger a political earthquake which will be heard in every European capital, particularly in those headquarters of continental social-democracy where the ancient socialist roots have been put aside long ago.
This is why I hope that many of the 2,3 million Europeans living in this country will join me in supporting his bid. This is why I registered as a supporter to vote him as the next Labour leader.
All members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters who join before 12pm on the 12 August can vote.
You can do that too here.
Please, spread the voice.