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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn Labour Leader

Today's news regarding the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader has massive implications. I think it is both very positive and a grave and serious threat all rolled into one. The positives first. Corbyn's election is further evidence that many people are sick of the neo-liberal 'consensus' way of doing politics with politicians talking from a script and spouting mantras written by spin-doctors. He opposes Trident, attacks on basic Trade Union rights, raiding public sector pensions and running down the welfare state and he is for free education, scrapping tuition fees, income tax increases on the wealthy and the NHS. All of this I personally agree with and is common ground with Green Party policy. He is somebody who I believe the Green Party could and should explore ways of doing business with in terms of certain joint campaigns, although I completely oppose electoral pacts.
However Mr Corbyn is not green, despite having a more positive approach to environmental issues than much of his party does.
When Jeremy Corbyn talks about re-opening the coal mines, he shows clearly how his priorities differ from those of the green movement. The same is true regarding his support for airport expansion. We are the only political party in the UK which places ecologism at the top of the agenda as well as opposing austerity and supporting the public sector. The Labour Party has never, when in power, prioritised environmental issues. I am also very uncomfortable with his willingness to share platforms with organisations who advocate terrorism and with his complacent attitude towards Islamic State and their horrific abuse of basic human rights. The challenge now is to set out to voters clearly not just the common ground we have with Corbyn but most importantly where we differ.

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