Listen, and you can still hear it. ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’, sung to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes. It all started at a Libertines gig at Preston Park. From this unexpected reception, enthusiasm for Corbyn grew and grew. Huge crowds from Leeds to London, Tranmere to Telford, Glasgow to Gower, turned out at countless rallies for a man few people thought stood a chance in this election. Despite his surprising surge in popularity – given how unpopular he was only two months ago – he still lost this election. Labour got 56 seats less than the Conservatives and fewer seats than Kinnock (1992) or Callaghan (1979) – all of whom resigned after their results. In spite of Corbyn’s absolute failure, this election has left my blood boiling for two reasons. Firstly, that at least for the next few months the great White Stripes anthem has been ruined for me, and every single match I go to now will be tarnished until further notice. That’s reason enough.
The second reason is more fundamental. Where was Corbyn’s ‘movement’ last year? In the course of weeks, he turned into a man who could suddenly rally and address crowds of thousands from nowhere. So why didn’t he do it during the greatest question our country has faced in a generation, the EU referendum? Why, during the countless occasions that Remain campaign staffers cleared the way for his intervention did he bottle it? And, worst of all, why does he act as the saviour of the dispossessed youth? A youth mobilised by the result of last year’s leave vote that Corbyn had done nothing to prevent. How dare Corbyn claim to be a knight in shining armour for the young when he failed to fight for their future last year?
It has been truly horrific to watch this election unfold with the knowledge that merely ten percent of this energy and enthusiasm could have changed the result last June. This nightmare we are currently living could have been avoided. In fact, the only thing worse than the self-righteous Member for Islington North masquerading as a victor is the sudden conversion of the mainstream Parliamentary Labour Party who now support the man three-quarters of them thought was unfit to be their leader only a few months ago.
They were right then, Corbyn is unfit for power. He may have won a few seats, but they know his policies would be damaging. For a comparison look at Scotland and Venezuela. In the former, nurses are using food banks and all forms of further education are being stripped to the bone so universities can keep handing out free degrees as they tumble down the rankings. In the latter, people queue hours for toilet paper and the old joke that socialists used electricity before candles isn’t funny – because it’s reality. Corbyn isn’t just the man who sat back and watched Brexit play out without making a serious effort to influence the campaign. Corbyn is the man who proposes post-war solutions to 21st-century problems. A man that stood still since the 1970s while the country has moved on.
For the party of Ernie Bevan, Denis Healey, George Robertson and David Miliband this is a sharp, shameful and alarming fall in credibility for Labour. I may not be a member of the party, but Conservatives like myself want a successful and credible opposition as that makes our democracy better. Corbyn remains the man who let me and other young Remainers down last year. He isn’t the saviour he claims to be, he didn’t fight for us when we needed him and won’t fight for us if he formed his shambolic government. Even a threadbare coalition between the Conservatives and the DUP, headed by a weakened Prime Minister, is better than this charlatan and his hopeless new sycophants.
Written by Henry Greenwell