Sunday, 10 July 2016

Not Angela Eagle, please

I woke up thinking about the Labour leader today. Those who read this blog will not be surprised to learn that I've been a big fan of Jeremy Corbyn. I like his politics. I like his honesty. I like the old school way he goes about being a politician. I respect his atheism and the fact that he's a vegetarian. I think he's a good man. It has become clear to me, however, that he's not a leader. I was sorely unimpressed by the way he dealt with Brexit. I never once saw him step up to the mark and show his strength. I absolutely appreciate the difficulty of the situation he was in; he'd have to have shouted very loudly indeed to get himself heard by the media, who've largely ignored him since he was elected, but if you're required to shout, shout you must, and unfortunately he came across as weak and complacent instead. I'm not sure I ever saw him as our next PM, but I was looking forward to him being brilliant in opposition just as Kinnock was the perfect foil to the abhorrent Thatcher.

But would Kinnock have stood by and watched the Tories ripping themselves apart without going in for the kill? Not on your nelly! When the shit hit the Conservative Party fan, however, Corbyn seemed to do nothing but shuffle about in the shadows just like Michael Foot in the early 80's, whilst people were desperate for him to offer them a voice of hope.

...And yet he clings on. And I absolutely understand his reasoning. He was given a whopping mandate by the unions and Labour members and there's a lot of support for him in the rank and file from those who respect his integrity. I have seen banners all over North London urging us to get behind him. Scores of Facebook posts are doing the rounds pointing out what a decent socialist he is and how he claims less in expenses than any other MP. All this is true. But does he posses the attributes we require from a leader?

Think about this: Corbyn's election came out of the same stable as the Brexit result. People are tired of politicians caring more about their image than actually making a difference to the world and they have twice now made a protest vote. In the case of Corbyn, this was admirable, but it all goes to absolute shite if half of his "supporters" ignore him and side with UKIP at the first opportunity in order to "punish" him for not listening. Whatever they say, when push comes to shove, the British people demand a leader who is charismatic and thrusting!

Whatever you feel about him, the one thing that is certain is that Corbyn's present behaviour is alienating the majority of his fellow MPs. There's a doggedness, almost an arrogance about the way that he's refusing to engage with them. This worries me greatly. You HAVE to have the backing and confidence of the MPs you're leading or they will make you look foolish at every opportunity. The Labour Party has never needed to be more united and yet, for many reasons, it has never been so divided. This needs to change.

I personally think he should go, but I don't know we have the system to get rid of him or an obvious replacement...

Angela Eagle strikes me as instant canon fodder. As a friend of mine pointed out this morning, "I know absolutely nothing about her except that she looks like a spud." My friend, of course was being flippant, but she hit the nail on the head. If Angela Eagle is the best that the Labour Party can offer, then we're in desperate trouble. She comes across as treacherous, and the British public will be down on that like a tonne of bricks. Furthermore, Eagle is one of those career politicians which everyone hates at the moment. She did a lot of student politics and then worked for a union. She entered Parliament in 1992, so has been around for quite some time, which is why it's quite worrying that she hasn't done or said much to get her head above the parapet. In 2008 she tried to claim that there wasn't an issue with escalating house prices and denied that a recession was on its way, describing those who thought there was of speaking "colourful and lurid fiction." She was highly critical of Gary Barlow's tax affairs (what a thing to get riled about), and highly offended when told to "calm down, dear" by David Cameron. This put down sparked a fairly pointless argument about sexism in politics. And that's about the long and the short of her impact on Westminster politics. Is she a good orator? No. Has she got the charisma and appearance of a party leader? No. Will she take politics back into the arena where a leader does anything they can to stay in power regardless of belief? Probably.

The only thing I actually find interesting about her is her sexuality. I think it might be time for a party leader to be gay, if for no other reason than that she can temper any homophobia coming from the Prime Minister. But that's no real reason to back her. She's just a stalking horse, and Corbyn will win a competition with her hands down.

I was buoyed extensively by Murray's Wimbledon win this afternoon and wondered how a great sportsman like that must feel playing in front of someone like Cameron, who spent the match gurning from the Royal Box, somehow attempting to bask in the glow of the nation he ripped apart. I wondered if I would have stopped the match and simply refused to play in front of him. Then I heard that Cameron was there with his mother and instantly felt guilty for having such aggressive thoughts. That said, if Farage had tipped up to watch me play a match of tennis, I would certainly have made my opinions known...

After the match, and feeling lonely for a second day running whilst Nathan went to another gig, I decided to take myself off to Brother Edward's house. I hadn't seen him and Sascha since we rallied together in Trafalgar Square, so I'm hoping he'll have good news to tell me about the world of international banking post Brexit. I'm not exactly holding my breath!

Highgate Station was closed and I had to take a bus down to Archway. As we sped around Archway Roundabout, I was stunned to see a pile of about three hundred cardboard boxes piled up on the pavement. All of the boxes were filled with clothes, and a group of people were scavenging. It was like something you might expect to find in Inner City LA. I don't know why the boxes were there, but their presence felt a little chilling. A taste of post-Brexit Britain, where the poorest in society are kept alive by soup kitchens and clothes banks. It was a deeply unnerving scene.

I took the tube to Canary Wharf and instantly got lost trying to find my brother's house. It happens every time. The area is in a perpetual state of flux. Roads close. Buildings appear and disappear. You spend hours walking in circles before finally snaking your way around to a road which leads you to where you need to be. Google maps won't help. No one can keep up!

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