Leader: Corbyn’s leadership of Labour in crisis

Jeremy Corbyn with the leadership contenders Labour rejected: Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty
Jeremy Corbyn with the leadership contenders Labour rejected: Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty
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There is a crisis at the heart of British politics. And we’re not just talking about Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn’s inability to put to rest questions of anti-Semitism in the Labour party is dominating his leadership at a time when more important questions on the future of Britain should be leading the agenda.

In the past 48 hours alone, a former MP, Jim Sheridan, has been suspended after he suggested that Jewish Labour members were acting in concert with “Blairite plotters” to undermine the leadership. Sheridan was an MP for 14 years until he lost his Paisley and Renfrewshire North seat in 2015 and he now serves as a councillor in Renfrewshire.

Then an Israeli athlete who survived the Munich Olympics massacre has urged Corbyn to “disappear” from politics, saying he had “no doubt” he was an anti-Semite.

This comment follows a week-long row over whether the Labour leader laid a wreath on the graves of individuals linked to the Munich massacre of 1972. This event in 2014, has been denied by Corbyn but refuses to go away.

Indeed, Labour has failed to get to grips with the issue for months. Worryingly for Labour supporters, Corbyn’s belligerent attitude to media scrutiny has been on full show – long sighs after he is asked to explain apparent disparities in his story.

Perhaps the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival on the future of journalism – which he has been invited to give – will allow us more insight into whether he thinks scrutiny of our leaders is important.

This matters because polls show that Corbyn is about four points ahead of the Conservatives. If this persists, he is on course to become Prime Minister. But after the deep fissures caused by the independence referendum and Brexit, Corbyn – if elected – would be another divisive figure that sets the UK into distinct camps.

With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking more likely by the day, Britain needs political leaders who can bring our country together for the greater good, not set them apart.