(For video presentation of this article, follow link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40GDbDBd1F4)
There is a real buzz going around, a new sense of excitement (and a lot of relief!), because at last, we have a ‘real’ Labour MP entering the leadership contest- Jeremy Corbyn.
For many Labour supporters, Jeremy Corbyn represents the true heart of Labour. He campaigns against austerity and inequality, for workers’ rights and an end to needless wars. Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly demonstrated that he is the kind of MP that we all long for- a conviction politician, concerned with ‘doing something’, rather than just ‘being someone’- always fighting to improve the lives of others, rather than his own.
After the massively disappointing lurch to the right, from all the pseudo-Labour candidates, Jeremy Corbyn’s entrance to the race has brought new hope to party members, who now see a chance to reshape the party back into the kind of party they can wholeheartedly support- the kind of party that they initially signed up for.
Whilst he may represent the true heart of the Labour Party, he does not have what it takes to be face and the voice of the Labour Party.
He is undoubtedly intelligent and committed; a staunch upholder of the values we all hold most dear- an MP we can be proud of, but he is not the inspiring ‘front-man’ (or woman) that we require, if we are going to win over the nation.
Let’s not make the same mistake again: Ed Miliband had the right values, but he was the wrong choice for Leader. His policies and ideas were popular with voters, but he wasn’t. He had the right message, but he was the wrong messenger.
Jeremy Corbyn can provide the heart, he can point us in the right direction, but he is not what we need for a leader. A leader must inspire and excite- presence and powerful public-speaking are the key attributes in a political leader. You can have the right values and best ideas, but without effective delivery; without a charismatic speaker, they’re wasted. Elections are won in the media, on ‘brand’, image and presentation, as much as on policy. The Conservatives understood this key point, which is why they picked an ex-PR man as their leader. A modern Party leader’s role is sales, and whilst Jeremy Corbyn may provide heart and conviction; Labour needs a leader who can sell them to the public- to all of the public, not just Labour supporters. As much as we may admire his politics, if we are honest, we can all see that he is not that man.
So, let’s admire and emulate his values and commitment, but be guided by common sense and realism. Let’s emulate the media-savvy Conservatives, and be guided by our previous successes. If we really want to win the next election, let’s choose a leader who can not only sell our policies to the nation, but also be the leader who can be our face and brand, that we can present and successfully ‘sell’ to the nation. For God’s sake, let’s get a charismatic and inspiring leader, or we risk deluding ourselves with false hope once again and spending many more years in the political wilderness.