By tomorrow all the votes will have been counted and we will know who is the next leader of the Labour party.
Over the summer, traditionally the ‘silly season’ in news coverage, we have been inundated with stories about the Labour leadership contest, especially around the surprising emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as the frontrunner.
With the final votes having been cast on Thursday and an announcement due tomorrow, some of our key authors share their thoughts and views on the contest and the potential outcome…
“Although there have been many critics of the Labour Party leadership selection process, it has resulted in one of the first genuine mass participation contests in the history of British party politics. We wait to see whether it will herald a wider revival of mass parties.” Patrick Diamond, academic and author of forthcoming publication The Crosland Legacy
“Let’s face it, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham are all still constrained by Blairism, although, admittedly, Burnham sometimes shows signs of trying to move beyond Blairism. So, Corbyn, perhaps ironically, is the candidate who is the most modern of all the Labour candidates in trying to map a new ideology and set of policies for the Labour Party, which escapes the straitjacket of Thatcherism.” John Roberts, academic and author of New media and public activism: Neoliberalism, the state and radical protest in the public sphere
“Jeremy Corbyn is a parliamentarian, he is a Labour man, he believes in Westminster politics, he is very far from a threat to parliamentary democracy he is as we might have said back in the day ‘a company man’. The media, the Labour Party and everyone else appear to have got their knickers in a right old twist about a man who won’t have very much power, and essentially doesn’t want to change very much. Imagine if they got me.” Lisa Mckenzie, academic and author of Getting by: Estates, class and culture in austerity Britain
“Corbyn will likely be a disaster, but his victory ought to shake the Labour party out of its complacency and force them to create a new progressive politics that is less paternalistic, more plural and which seeks to share power rather than to hoard it. The best thing that could come from the next few days is a new progressive politics aimed at the mainstream.” Simon Parker, director of New Local Government Network and author of Taking power back: Putting people in charge of politics
“The notion that Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable [as British Prime Minister] highlights just how far we’ve drifted to the right and just how entrenched the neo-liberal orthodoxy has become.” Dr Nathan Manning, academic and author of Political (dis)engagement: The changing nature of the ‘political’
“Bearing in mind the onslaught of austerity policies over the past five years – and with billions pounds of more cuts to vital services and benefits to come – what really matters is that a fully functioning Opposition is in place. Without a coherent and consistent challenge to the current government’s policies many thousands of people across the country including disabled people will continue to suffer.” Mary O’Hara, journalist and author of Austerity Bites: A journey to the sharp end of the cuts in the UK
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