Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as Labour’s leader with a larger mandate than a year ago. He fended off a challenge from fellow MP Owen Smith. The veteran left-wing MP was announced the winner of the contest at the Labour party’s annual conference in Liverpool on the 24 September.
However, University rector Catherine Stihler, who is also a Labour Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has said that, even following the result, she has “little confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as the national Leader of the Labour Party.
“However, as Tip O’Neill said ‘all politics is local’ and I will continue to work at a local level at the forthcoming council elections in Scotland to see as many talented local Labour councillors returned who will serve their local communities and the people who need them.”
Ms Stihler has previously called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader of the Labour Party citing “serious concerns” over his performance during the campaign to remain within the EU earlier this year. The win comes amid deep divisions within the Labour Party over the political direction it is taking and doubts over Corbyn’s electability. Despite the dissatisfaction among MPs Mr Corbyn secured the leadership with 61.8 per cent of the total votes cast. However, the latest YouGov poll puts Labour at 30 per cent – nine points behind the Conservative party.
The electorate was made up of 343,500 full members, 168,000 union affiliated supporters and 129,000 registered supporters, who paid £25 each to vote. Head of the University of St Andrews Socialist society, Adam Stromme disagreed with the Rector and confirmed his “hearty endorsement” of Mr Corbyn.
“To be sure, Corbyn’s engagement with the economic realities for most Brits is leagues ahead of the Tories, and in that respect I sincerely think his support within the broader Labour Party is a good thing for the country (indicated by the swelling ranks which his election precipitated).
“That said, he has yet to win the war of public opinion, as is indicated in a number of national polls “Undoubtedly, this can be traced to his lukewarm support within the parliamentary party, willingness to engage critically with austerity politics”.
Mr Stromme continued “whether or not he can shed the vicious caricature that has been made of him and force fully make his case, particularly to those working class districts that have become turned off from the Labour Party during the Blair years and now make the country look unusually Conservative in public opinion polls.
“For someone on the Left, weighing Corbyn is a balancing act of the desirable and the possible. In any case, like most important figures in politics, what comes after him will be at least as important as Corbyn himself”.
In regard to student enthusiasm towards Mr Corbyn, Mr Stromme said that “his campaign’s strident rejection of politics as usual is encouraging to those confused as to how the ongoing response to the Great Recession can possibly be more of the same.
“Corbyn is similar to Sanders in that both tout policies that are broadly supported when understood in the context of the Welfare State as a whole.”