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I stand by Corbyn, along with the millions relying on him

The Labour MPs smearing their leader should know that working-class people are counting on a Corbyn-led government to drastically improve our lives, writes BERNADETTE HORTON

ONE by one they come to oust the leader. This week Labour Party members all around Britain have stood and watched the anti-semitism row unfold in Parliament. 

Many of us, like me, have shaken our heads with disbelief and utter horror that Corbyn, of all people, with a more than 40-year record of tackling racism and abuse, has been accused of anti-semitism and not doing enough to discourage such prejudice within the party.

I have had to silently stand by and watch what certain MPs are doing disguised under Brexit and anti-semitism, until now, where my pen can do the talking. 

Owen Smith spoke out on the holding of a second EU referendum and we all thought he was having his moment in the limelight, then would fade to obscurity. 

But then the anti-semitism row ignited. I watched Labour MP for Barrow-in-Furness John Woodcock denounce Corbyn in the Commons as the Tories egged him on. 

I watched him smirking as he mentioned Corbyn’s past columns in the Morning Star. Wrexham MP Ian Lucas then attacked Corbyn on his Facebook timeline over anti-semitism, while many members of his CLP immediately questioned him and held him to account. 

A rally was held in London on Monday and several Labour MPs spoke out against him, while supporting them in the crowd was Tory Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.

These MPs call themselves centrists, moderates or progressives, but to me and other working-class people they simply cannot call themselves socialists. 

Hell-bent on personal power, hell-bent on getting their own personal brand of the party back, hell-bent on ensuring Corbyn and Labour will never govern, they drip-feed the right-wing media daily and when they see even a chink of light, they begin their campaign to bring down the Labour leader.

These MPs completely miss the point and misrepresent the people who elected them. 

I am going to be frank without demeaning the seriousness of anti-semitism and tell them this: when you are homeless and your bed is a piece of cardboard, rows about alleged anti-semitism are not on your list of priorities for the day and night ahead. Staying alive, being warm, having food is.

When your family are housed in a one-room bed and breakfast and your children have nowhere to play, nowhere to do homework, nowhere to bring friends back to, anti-semitism accusations don’t figure much in your daily list of getting by. 

When you are a carer on £64 per week, living a humdrum, relentless everyday routine of caring for a disabled person, attending to their needs and ignoring your own, a break and a holiday is more pressing than what people thought of a mural back in 2012.

The MPs denouncing Corbyn have lost sight of the enemy — which is Toryism.

When you earn over £74,000 per year, you have ample room for lofty middle-class intellectual chats and rows over socialism. 

You can take time over a glass of House of Commons heavily discounted glass of claret to talk about centrists, the left, the Russians, anti-semitism, world hunger to your heart’s content. 

But for me and millions of others we have more pressing issues in our lives due to the burden we carry due to Tory austerity. 

For us — and it may be incidental to these MPs — the plain fact of the matter is we are relying on a Labour Corbyn-led government to drastically improve our lives. 

Personally, I think that is enough of a burden to place on Corbyn.

Our hopes and expectations of the next Labour government are through the roof, honed by the horrors of eight years of rancid Toryism. 

These are the priorities of the people who elected you: an end to zero-hours contracts, putting right the monster that is universal credit, decent pay increases, an end to the demonisation of disabled people and a better deal on personal independence payment, carer’s allowance and investment in social services, an education system that isn’t learning by rote and automaton exams but an enriched all-round curriculum where drama, music and nature are incorporated and valued, an NHS we can once again be proud of.

Labour MPs must remember that their voters’ priorities should be their priorities and not use their days plotting to bring down Corbyn to establish their own personal power and will. 

I have not previously been among those to call for deselection of MPs as I believe working together is the way forward and for Labour to be the broad church with broad views, but this week has altered my view entirely. 

MPs do not have a job for life and I think many of them will see that the membership may decide to play a more active role than it has done in the past, making MPs more accountable and answerable for their public outpourings.

Members of the Labour Party have confided in me privately that they are now too frightened to talk about certain topics on social media, for fear of a witch-hunt. 

We have many activists involved with issues in Palestine who are too fearful to speak out, in fear of being labelled. 

We have members who have spoken out on Russian issues in the past, who are now afraid someone may report them to Labour HQ and a possible suspension or expulsion could follow.

This isn’t what people joined the Labour Party for. MPs should be very aware that we could lose many good activists and campaigners if these witch-hunts are allowed to continue.

Quite simply, I want all Labour MPs to fight Toryism and get our party into a position to govern, and stop undermining the leadership. 

Millions of us, and many in dire circumstances, are relying on a future Corbyn-led Labour government to finally deliver us from Tory evil. 

I hope Labour MPs keep their eyes on the prize of government and respect their members’ and voters’ wishes and priorities in life.

I stood side by side with Corbyn in 2015. I stand shoulder to shoulder with him in 2018, with a simple demand to Labour MPs: allow him to lead in order to govern. 

The Labour membership have spoken twice already on this issue and our vote is sovereign. Please respect that.

 

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