Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
12 July 2016updated 28 Jul 2021 10:23am

With Theresa May in charge, Labour needs Jeremy Corbyn more than ever

Whatever your opinion of the Labour leader, he has given people something to believe in. 

By liam Young

With every day that has followed since our decision to exit the European Union I have found myself descending into despair. I am still coming to terms with the fact that the country that I love has fallen in on itself. After voting to pull up the drawbridge and abandon our European partners the future looks uncertain. Gone is any sense of stability. They used to say a week was a long time in politics, but now almost a year of political events may happen in the space of an hour. 

With Theresa May’s promotion to Prime Minister, it is clear that the Labour party needs the policies and principles of Jeremy Corbyn more than ever. Stripped of the centre-left rhetoric and moral façade, May’s platform is one of division. While the country craves unity it is being offered the same old unworkable solutions to growing problems. The political arena looks more distant from the lives of normal people than ever before. Whether it is the selection of a new Prime Minister by 60 per cent of a parliamentary party or the lynch mob chasing after Corbyn, the public face of UK politics has been seriously discredited. 

Since I was about 10 years old, my heart has beat for politics. From the moment my granddad let me borrow his recordings of the 1997 election night result coverage I have been absolutely hooked. Since then I have watched every single election night from start to finish. Every event or story I have followed until its end. I just wanted to be involved, I wanted to help and I wanted to change things. I believed that politics was the arena for real change, where people’s lives could be made better and improved. 

But this “clean” image of a generous politics has been destroyed by recent events. Politics seems to have become the drama we are used to on television rather than the great pursuit for change that it once appeared to be. It is flash and made of “gotcha” moments that serve to create reaction. No matter your opinion of Corbyn, you can’t say that he is of this type of politics. He’s not from the same flesh of politics that people are turned off by. It’s part of the reason that people I never expected to be supporters of the Labour leader have told me of their dismay at recent Labour party manoeuvring.

While I have felt depressed in recent weeks, hearing Corbyn’s speech to the Durham miner’s gala last week lifted my spirits. In response to questions about him being under pressure he replied: “Real pressure is when you don’t have enough money to feed your kids, when you don’t have a roof over your head, when you are wondering if you are going to be cared for.” Hearing that reminded me of the politics I used to believe in.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Whatever your opinion of the Labour leader, he has certainly given people something to believe in. His supporters are passionate and determined to protect his democratic mandate. It is encouraging that such a passion for principled politics exists. Today, dirty and underhand tactics will be employed in an attempt to keep Corbyn from the Labour leadership ballot. I am confident that the principled politics I feared dead will be victorious.   

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery