Jeremy Corbyn to stand as anti-austerity leadership candidate

Jeremy CorbynJeremy Corbyn this evening announced, following a meeting with Left MPs, that he is seeking nominations to stand as an anti-austerity candidate in Labour’s leadership election. There is considerable support in the party and trade unions for an anti-austerity candidate – about 5,000 people have signed the 38 degrees petition in support of one that followed an earlier article on this site about the inadequacies of the contest which reported:

widespread dismay amongst party activists at the uninspiring nature of the leadership election campaign, with candidates queuing up to apologise for the alleged overspending by the last Labour government, and still failing to challenge publicly the neoliberal narrative on austerity which is the primary reason why Labour was ultimately judged wanting in its handling of the economy.

In announcing his candidature, Jeremy said:

This decision to stand is in response to an overwhelming call by Labour Party members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party. I am standing to give Labour party members a voice in this debate.

There is no doubt that Jeremy will present a very different economic offer that will widen the choice in this election provided that he gets on the ballot paper.  The difficulty is winning the required 35 nominations. Owen Jones spelled it out:

Although Jeremy left the meeting that decided to back him with more backers than Mary Creagh who has been in the contest for some time but is currently reported to have only 6, a number of those who might have been expected to back an anti-austerity candidate are listed as supporting Andy Burnham who has some to spare (51 – 16 more than required). It is therefore important that party members and trade unionists press their MPs to allow the voters a proper choice by nominating Jeremy.

    • The candidates for deputy leader won’t nominate anyone for leader. (They won’t want to give the media an open goal and start ‘split’ stories, by being seen to have supported the ‘wrong’ candidate, if they win and their nominee doesn’t).

      Why therefore can’t all the deputy leader candidates nominate JC (what great initials). Thus not necessarily endorsing him, but ensuring that whoever wins is not emasculated because a significant proportion of the party thought their voice was not heard during the debate.

      It won’t happen of course, because the last thing the Progress tendency want is an open and fair debate.

  1. Yes, great news. As Jon states, important that all comrades lobby their MP’s to nominate Jeremy.

      • Just about to say, that if you live in Scotland or Essex you’re got to have quite a distance

          • New labour finished 8 years ago, Scotland only lost its labour MPs after 8 years of Gordon Borwn, then Ed Miliband and Essex never had Labour MPs outside London during thatchers time,

          • Jim Murphy is New Labour to the core.

            Ed Miliband led the campaign to dump the unions and supported austerity.

            Rachel Reeves, one of Miliband’s right-hand people, stated that the LP was not the party of benefit claimants and the unemployed.

            Miliband supported the bombing of Libya leading to Libya becoming a failed state like Iraq.

            Labour: pro-austerity, pro-trident, pro-NHS privatisation.

            The similarities are almost endless.

            Vote Labour, get Tory-lite.

            Unless Corbyn wins.

          • Ed didn’t rad the campaign to dump the unions Tom Watson used Gerry mender I g to try to get his candidate in Falkirk,and and then had a policy for Union member instead of opting out of being affiliated, changed to to opt in,
            Regarding Rachel Reeves, surely benefits are a sign of failure and that more employment higher wages, means less benefits, pro trident isnt a Tory idea, john Biffen, Michael Portillo ,Ken Clarke don’t want trident renewal, either did the libdems ,Simon Hughes didn’t for years, who’s the most anti trident labour members, Denis Healey, Charles clarke

            Jim Murphy isn’t a representative of Ed miliband

  2. At last. New Labour is split into several warring factions. There is no reason that an anti-austerity candidate should not win unless the bureaucratic machinery derail it in some way or the campaign proves to be less than serious. If a New Labour clone is elected then the left must take the necessary measures to organise itself as the genuine opposition both to him or her and the vicious Tory government.

    • Labour is now a Progress party with a few of the left still in it. Over the Blair years, they have been hand picking the people to make it it a right of center party and now we will see.

      But you never know my betting is on Burnham who the Unions are backing god knows why, and Cooper. one will be the leader the other the deputy.

      • I think the point is that Corbyn and Co have the chance of coming out of this at the head of a mass anti-austerity movement whoever wins the leadership.

        • It would be nice and I will vote for him if he gets the number of MP’s, sadly I doubt he will get those MP’s, labour is these a right of center party built to replace the Tories.

        • “the head of a mass anti-austerity movement”

          He’ll have to leave the LP if that is to come to anything. Otherwise we’ll just end up with another wearisome, enthusiasm-draining campaign: vote Labour/Progress because that’s the least worse option.

  3. Yes he has my support from here in Leeds.
    But of course we have these ridiculous rules where our MPs only nominate for a shortlist and 35 backers are needed.
    Then we are all allowed to vote on their choices.
    If we can get the 20 or so more radical new Labour MPs then we may have a chance.
    Perhaps we should be arguing for the ballot paper to have an extra ‘Wild Card’ box where grassroots members can write in their choice if if they don’t want any of the above?
    This could be our plan B if we fall short of A.
    I support Jeremy’s bid and the left should rally to this cause.
    With best wishes from Yorkshire!

    • I can’t agree with your Plan B Barry. If Jeremy doesn’t make it onto the ballot then Andy or Yvette will get my vote before Liz. For many reasons, just compare what the candidates are saying about free schools, public spending, welfare cap, defence spending etc

      • I don’t see how if a left candidate doesn’t make it on to the ballot you could possibly vote for any of the other New Labour clones who will offer zero opposition to this government and in fact all of whom are currently busy trying to outflank Cameron from the right on austerity and welfare.

        • And they are not so much out flanking him as joining him, labour think they are the party of the right, well we will see.

  4. So pleased that Corbyn is standing. If he doesn’t get onto the ballot paper it will be a very sad day for Labour. Burnham is great re his knowledge of NHS but too right wing in other ways. I really don’t want to vote for any of the other candidates.

    • If he doesn’t win it will be the end of Labour let along a sad day or getting on the ballot. Then the anti-austerity movement he will have invoked will have to make some serious decisions about the future.

  5. I attended my CLP (Brentford and Isleworth) nomination meeting for London mayor last night. The argument used by several of us that nominations are different from elections, and we should support nominations which will ensure the widest possible debate, didn’t wash with the majority present. Several of us argued that there was no point in nominating people who already had sufficient nominations if there were other credible candidates. Nominating people who already have a sufficiency of nominations is simply a way of keeping other people out of the debate and that is what most people at the meeting seemed happy to do.

    For me that reflects the lack of feel for democracy and democratic debate which characterises internal Labour processes. If Jeremy Corbyn, with whom I am often in profound disagreement, cannot get enough MPs to nominate him then it is just another symptom of Labour’s democratic malaise.

    • Or of the fact that it is institutionally, how shall I put it? . . . Dead.

      The right are desperate to keep the left off the ballot as they are more aware than the left itself of just how ripe the situation is and just how angry people are. The slightest tear in New Labour’s space-time continuum could see it swept aside.

      • I partially agree with you. My experience of my own constituency party suggests however that it is not so much “the right” trying to keep people they don’t like off the ballot papers ( although I am clear that this happensz) as a loss of vision and a reduction of political debate to what will or won’t register immediately in opnion polls. The political mindset of large numbers of active party members is one of acceptance of dull uniformity and steering clear of anything not immediately translatable into alleged electoral advantage. Labour is a party without a political philosophy, without an analysis of society and without a vision of an alternative type sociûy. In other words Labour is politicall brain dead.

        • Now I totally 100% agree with you labour have lost it’s ability to speak about things without seeing it as a means to an end, which is winning.

          Listening to Miliband speaking to day attacking the welfare reforms , why the hell did he not do that when a leader of the party.

          he attacked the one nation movement which was his movement as well.

          • The “one nation” thing is interesting. Labour tried to take on the Tory/Disraeli mantle despite its grubby origins. Some on the Labour left convinced themselves that this had potential since a genuine one nation approach would have to tackle class-divided society (unlike the Disraeli version which took that for granted). Without out that it was bound to be empty rhetoric and that is what it turned out to be. Pretty much Miliband’s legacy.

  6. Still have my John 4 Leader Badge

    Jeremy for Leader looks like a Labour Leader go for it.

  7. I find it amusing that Jeremy Corbyn, whom many people probably see as a wild left winger, is the voice of sober, mainstream economic thinking in the leadership race.