I’ve never been attacked from the left before . . .

Jeremy Corybn and I have a row about PR.

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How can you not like Jeremy Corbyn? Good old-fashioned lefty, hard-working local MP, pro-Palestinian, anti-war, outspoken on climate change (in contrast to his odd, climate-change-denying brother . . . )

But yesterday, in a live discussion on the Iranian-owned, English-language satellite channel Press TV, Corbyn reminded me of how ugly, dispiriting and out-of-touch Labour tribalism can be. He objected to my support for proportional representation, attempted a half-hearted defence of our monstrously unfair first-past-the-post system and accused me of belittling the arguments in favour of the fabled "constituency link" out of a supposed animus towards "the working class" and towards -- specifically -- Labour's safe seats.

I'm not often left speechless -- but then I'm not often attacked from the left.

Let me be clear. I oppose all safe seats -- David Cameron's Witney constituency as well as Corbyn's Islington North seat. I'm a democrat first, a leftist second. And as I said at the Vote for a Change launch meeting last year, in a democracy, no politician should be "safe" from the wrath of the voters.

Does that not make sense, Jeremy?


Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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