Unity or uniformity: the shadow cabinet decides

First published on Progressonline

It seemed clear to me at Labour party conference that Jeremy Corbyn did not know how to lead. His shrill demands for followership are not a replacement for leadership. ‘Unity’ demands something to unite around – a programme, a political strategy and plan for getting Labour into government.

But leadership is also about being both shepherd and sheepdog. Not just setting out a path – which Corbyn is still yet to do – but finding ways to bring the stragglers along with you – which, it seems, he is yet to try. (more…)

It is clear Corbyn does not know how to lead or unite

First published on LabourList

Yesterday the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected to his post. He has been in power for a year now. He was intact, in power all summer. And today he stood in the pulpit and pulled back from the speech he needed to give. Instead he made a speech that called for a lot but concluded nothing.

His calls for unity fall on deaf ears as they are demands for followership rather than assertions of leadership. Those who backed his rival were hoping for even just one of the following: a clear signal that it is Tories that are to be de-selected at the ballot box not Labour MPs in dusty halls and smoke-filled rooms; a promise to back a parliamentary party elected shadow cabinet; an action plan to end the abuse within the party, especially the vile sexism experiences by women MPs and national executive members; a clear embrace of those who joined under previous leaders or from traditions others than his – those around Progress, Labour First and the newly reformed Tribune Group; a pledge that Momentum would be for Labour members only – we are the biggest party in western Europe after all; an apology for failing to defend Ruth Smeeth, one of his own MPs, against antisemitism at an event on tackling antisemitism and a clear pledge that at the NEC meeting he is due to attend he would keep his pledge to back the Jewish Labour Movement’s rule change. (more…)