#DPLeaders: Jeremy Corbyn's 5 Biggest Failures (So Far)


Written by Dont Panic
18 Tuesday 18th April 2017

Since assuming the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015 - and reaffirming his position after a vote last year - Jeremy Corbyn's time in charge has been hit by an infighting party, a hostile media and swathes of voters who think he's a nice man who won't be prime minister. So, pretty stiff competition for old Jez then. However, there's been a number of times when the Islington North MP has blundered and struggled to recover; here's a few...

1. Not singing the national anthem

On 15th September 2015, mere days after being elected Labour leader, Corbyn attended the Battle of Britain memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral. During the service, Corbyn appeared to stand silently while others around him - including politicians, ex-servicement and their families - belted out God Save The Queen. Corbyn is an anti-war campaigner and a republican, so was in a difficult position of sticking to his long-held beliefs or taking part, which then prime minister David Cameron said he was 'very proud' to do. A Labour spokesman later said that Corbyn would sing the anthem in the future, but this compromise would satisfy neither supporters, critics or voters.

2. Ambiguity over his stance on Europe

In the past, Corbyn has spoken of "A European bureaucracy totally unaccountable to anybody. Powers have gone from national parliaments. They haven’t gone to the European Parliament, they’ve gone to the Commission and to some extent the Council of Ministers. These are quite serious matters.” In addition, during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, Corbyn's public performances and support for Remain were seen as ambiguous and tepid. Although Corbyn's party is in a tough position with its voters divided by Brexit, his integrity has been called into question by it and has failed to outline a clear alternative to hard Brexit.  

 3. Traingate

During last year's leadership battle with Owen Smith, Corbyn sought to publicise his policy for bringing the railways back under public ownership. To highlight endemic problems with the service, such as overcrowding, Corbyn released a video which showed him sitting on the floor of a '"ram packed" London to Newcastle train. Contesting Corbyn's claim, Virgin Trains later (possibly illegally) released a CCTV capture which showed Corbyn walk past apparently empty unreserved seats. A spat continued between the Labour leader, company and press, leading to the perception that Corbyn was dishonest or opportunistic.

4. Whether he really wanted to be prime minister

Ever since the first leadership contest, questions have lingered over whether Corbyn really wants to be prime minister. This is due to a number of factors; his commitment to campaigning - against war, against nuclear weapons, to advance Palestinian interests, for instance - and transforming the Labour party into a social movement; his age; and unconventional demeanour. This doesn't exactly convince voters that he and his party are a credible alternative to the Tories.

5. Failure to show party leadership

Corbyn's time as Labour leader has been badly hit by extensive party infighting. This includes his cabinet members leaking details to the press and other MPs briefing against him, mass resignations to force Corbyn to quit, a vote of no confidence and, with the upcoming election, MPs casting doubt on his ability to be prime minister. While Corbyn has attempted to include Labour moderates and right wingers in his opposition, perhaps he should have called for the de-selection of MPs who oppose his leadership and policies. This might have quelled infighting and could have brought new blood into a party still full of Blairite revanchists.

Top Tory James Twottington-Burbage - aka Revolting comedian Jolyon Rubinstein - thanks Jeremy Corbyn for his mistakes and an expected 'walk in the park' election (which has come sooner than expected). Andy Burnham doesn't share Jez's sense of humour though...

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