My speech in the Glasgow Kelvin CLP Leadership Nomination Meeting. The CLP nominates Jeremy Corbyn. The final result was Corbyn 36 – Smith 29. In 2015 Glasgow Kelving CLP nominated Yvette Cooper.
I left Italy 7 years ago, among many reasons, because Italian politics was broken, the left dramatically split and the entire world looking at us in disbelief.
7 years later I see the same situation here and I am wondering whether it’s me bringing bad luck or the world getting mad.
Let me start by thanking each and everyone of you who put time and effort campaigning to keep this country in Europe and particularly to Aidan for his help and contribution in setting up Another Europe Is Possible event in Glasgow.
We should respect the outcome of the referendum but Brexit might mean many different things and we should fight for a progressive Brexit, which includes defending human rights, employment protection, environmental standards and free movement of people. This is important: without free movement, EU will not grant us access to the single market and it would crazy to go back to the time when you needed a visa to go to Italy for vacation or to France to work or to Spain to retire. Besides I am here today thanks to free movement.
Comrades I will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn tonight. I know him since I was living in London in his constituency and he really is a decent guy.
This is not about him as a person. It’s about understanding the times we live in. History is on the move. Look at what’s happening in the US with Trump. The worst economic crisis of the history of Capitalism has become the deepest political crisis in decades. This is no business as usual.
Labour under Corbyn is the strongest socialist party in Europe both by membership and votes. When real votes were counted Labour did pretty well in England and Wales. Europe looks at us with inspiration.
No socialist party in Europe stands a chance of a parliamentary majority. In Greece, Pasok has been wiped out. In Germany SPD is polling at 25%. In Spain the PSOE won 22% at the General Election. French president Hollande is polling at 13%. Partito Democratico in Italy, has just lost the mayor of Rome, my home town, to an amateur politician, polling 17% down from 40%. In all cases they have leaders from the moderate wing of the party. No left wing politician in Europe can even dream to fill a square like Corbyn did with two days notice in Liverpool or Hull.
Comparisons with 5 or 30 years ago do not make sense because the world and the political situation are completely different. You might not agree with some of his ideas, but Jeremy Corbyn is an asset for Labour because it keeps within the party the discontent with the establishment and the way our economy is run that in other countries is captured by the populist right.
Many worries about a snap election. I am very worried about a snap election. In fact there is only one perspective which I fear more for Labour than going to a snap election with Corbyn as leader. This is going to a snap election without Corbyn as leader.
Getting rid of Corbyn won’t make Labour ‘electable’. It will undermine the motivation of thousands of people who saw in Corbyn an opportunity to impress a radically different direction to our economy.
Besides, the coupists MPs got it all wrong since they started a mass resignation right after the referendum. As the brexiteers, they had no plan. Owen Smith said in the same week that he’d like another referendum on EU and that there is too much migration and he’d scrap freedom of movement. It was wrong attempting to put Corbyn out of ballot, then to prevent new members to vote, than to get rid of supporters rising the fee. Everything they did fired back. Do we want somebody who runs a party like this?
Is Corbyn perfect? Not at all. He suffers his age and his lack of political expertise as leader. But he had less than a year to improve. Comrades, this is a time of resistance. Let’s stick to our values. Let’s stick to our leader.