Swing voters’ dilemma over Corbyn

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Does the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader simply represent the triumph of substance over style, a return to the politics of conviction rather than consensus?

The first UK Labour Party election to be fought on the basis of one member one vote has produced a decisive result. But is it simply a strong statement from the converted rather than those who need to be converted?

I think the mass of swing voters are in a dilemma over Mr Corbyn. It runs along the following lines.

People have simply had enough of the flash suit (or outfit), the flash smile, the scripted statements, the constant barrage of “doublespeak” from the political class.

The new Labour leader is the antithesis of the need to constantly project a false image. The fact that he did not do the usual round of media interviews, which normally follows a triumph like his, speaks volumes about his desire to tap into the new public mood. That is one thing.

It remains to be seen how the same public will react to the various scenarios likely to arise in the near future.

For example, will he take the unusual step for a political leader of unreservedly backing strike action which might seriously inconvenience the public?

Will he be prepared to be unequivocal over a determination to ensure the country’s security? In a stark choice of spending money on taking the railways into public ownership or spending on care for the elderly, will he come down in favour of the latter?

Will he have the strength to show that the nation 
rather than the party interest will get priority?

Most undecided voters will probably feel that he should be given a chance, and not denigrated for his lifestyle by forces within and outwith his party.

But in time they will want to know about his political character. They will want to know that he has the strength to stand up to even his closest supporters if the needs of the country warrant it.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

Credit where credit’s due: Nicola Sturgeon’s team of taxpayer-funded spin doctors are a class act.

Jeremy Corbyn’s policies largely mirror what the SNP claimed it stood for at the general election – opposition to Trident, protecting the welfare state against austerity and redistributing wealth via progressive taxation.

Remember Ms Sturgeon repeatedly telling us in TV debates she was to join with Labour to fight austerity? In fact, together they would save the entire UK from austerity. Her radical ambition was boundless.

But now the First Minister merely pays lip service to building bridges with Labour. Mr Corbyn’s brand of genuine socialism will nibble away at core SNP support so Ms Sturgeon’s spin-doctors start distancing.

They paint the new Labour leader as a loser who’ll never win an election, meaning we’ll always have a Tory UK Government.

Rather than offer him her wholehearted support to fight the Tories, Mr Corbyn is used as another faux excuse to break all those “once-in-a-generation” promises and demand another referendum. So perhaps Ms Sturgeon’s spin doctors aren’t quite as effective as they appear.

After all, it’s clear U-turns and double standards don’t matter to the Nationalists. Ms Sturgeon is a one-trick pony: nothing else counts except breaking up the UK.

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus

Edinburgh

I fail to see any “direct link” between Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party’s founding father, Keir Hardie or, even more ambiguously, with the intellectual Michael Foot.

If Corbyn is the “antidote” to Tony Blair then he is the heir to George Lansbury, another obscure London fellow-traveller, who was the far left’s curative for Ramsay MacDonald.

The 2010s resemble the 1930s with a dire economy and foreign alarms: then fascism, today Islamism; then Jews fleeing Europe, today whole peoples fleeing the Middle East.

Like Corbyn, Lansbury supported every leftist rebel tendency available and his “friends” included Hitler and Mussolini – which makes Hamas and Hezbollah seem quite cuddly.

Lansbury’s time as leader was brief but he mobilised the grass roots, inspired a devotion never given to Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson or Tony Blair and heralded 
better days. Can Corbyn do likewise?

(Rev Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

When, I wonder, will members of the Labour Party learn that the person they choose to be their leader must, first of all, look the part. He/she will be dealing with presidents and prime ministers and heads of state of all the nations on earth so should at least look their equal.

Let’s look at Labour’s attempts over the past 30 odd years. Michael Foot, a man who had the look of a mad professor and dressed accordingly in clothes from a charity shop.

Then there was a wild-eyed, red-haired Welshman who thought it was cool to thump the rostrum screaming “Oh yeah! Oh yeah!” to his followers.

They seemed to learn the lesson after that fiasco and elected Tony Blair, who looked and sounded right.

Next came a growling bear with a huge chip on his shoulder who’d frighten any child he tried to kiss on the campaign trail. Following that they decided that if an animated piece of plasticine melted the hearts of all who watched the jerky actions then a copy should do just fine. Enter Wallace Miliband.

And now they’ve gone back to the future with a Trotsky lookalike and his chum Watson. It would be really funny if it wasn’t so damned serious.

Stan Hogarth

Palmerston Place

Edinburgh