We asked James Elliott and Adam Ramsay for their responses to the surging support for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to lead the Labour Party.
James Elliott is a Labour Party member. He is deputy editor of Left Futures and member of NUS NEC.
Thousands of young people have signed up to Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign because they are inspired by his vision for a fairer society. Since the election, many have signed up as members of Young Labour for the same reason. They want to be involved in a vibrant organisation that isn’t afraid of its own shadow – and not simply be cheerleaders for MPs.
We can’t get away from the fact that Labour lost a considerable amount of youth support as the last general election approached. Labour’s considerable youth lead for the first few years of Miliband’s leadership had all but disintegrated in the last few polls – where Labour was neck and neck with the Tories. Any party that wants to not only win the support of those young people who engage in politics, but attract those who don’t to go out and vote, could surely do worse by letting young people themselves lead the way.
Young members are ready to win back young voters – and Jeremy Corbyn should be applauded for recognising this.
If Corbyn wins, many Greens will be tempted to jump ship and join Labour. Despite this, it’ll probably be a good thing for the party, for four key reasons.
First, the time is right for Greens to find a language to popularise anti-capitalist and radically democratic ideas. The desperate need for someone to make a simple case against austerity has meant this, more defensive, politics, has rightly been the party focus in recent years. If Labour takes on that role of arguing for a basic protection of the social democratic settlement, then Greens will have more space to do what we’re best at: arguing for the transformative agenda of the future.
Second, Corbyn winning may well precipitate a long term realignment, where Labour’s right join their natural allies in the Lib Dems and the left collaborate with the Greens in one way or another.
Third, Corbyn himself is more likely to be open to collaboration with Greens. If he makes it to 2020, you can imagine Labour standing down in Brighton Pavilion and a couple other seats where Greens are strong and which Labour couldn’t win alone (The Isle of Wight and Bath seem like obvious contenders) in exchange for Greens standing down for a Corbyn-led Labour in a number of key seats.
Finally, and most importantly, the vast majority of Greens would be delighted to see a left Labour government which enacted much of the Green manifesto.