Friday, 19 February 2016

New Statesman letter on shadow cabinet

If it wasn`t for social media, I too would wonder, like Peter Wilby, "what has become of Jeremy Corbyn", as the mainstream media`s silence on the activities of the leader of the Opposition suggests a conspiracy is afoot (First Thoughts,12 February,2016). Having first hounded him, but failing to persuade him to engage in Boris-like banter, the press now punish him with silence or criticism. Wilby mentioned how the Mail typically "excoriated him" for asking Cameron about the damage being done to the NHS at PMQs rather than its "Number One subject of the hour", the EU.
       Wilby is correct, however, to question the whereabouts of the shadow cabinet. Apart from McDonnell, the majority appear content to let the government off the hook, when they should be as mad as hell about its failures to balance the books, reduce tax avoidance, simultaneously ignoring the wishes of parliament over constituency changes, and the rest of its attempts to stitch up the next election. Shouting from the rooftops would be my preference, but voicing objections on the "Today" programme would suffice. If their idea is to isolate Corbyn and his few allies, thereby distancing themselves from any electoral disasters which might occur in May, they are backing the wrong horse. Tory-lite policies will not win Labour the election; the sooner the shadow cabinet and the rest of the Labour MPs realise that working with their elected, and popular, leader, rather than against him, is the way forward, the better. In the meantime, Cameron and co ride roughshod over principles once thought indispensable, fairness and democracy.

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