Academics for Corbyn – Part II

In a previous blog (see below) I criticised a naïve and foolish letter signed by 27 academics. They endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature since ‘There is a possibility that academics who have always felt that their research – whether on social policy, public health, economics, sociology or other disciplines – was ignored by policy makers may now be more in tune with the Labour Party’.

I wrote to all 27 asking if they had actually done any canvassing at the May election. The winning reply, by a comfortable margin was ‘out of office’ (this is the University world after all).

Three wrote to say they had indeed canvassed; I was grateful for their consideration and can only say that our views differ on what will play on the doorstep. Two were Jeremy Corbyn’s constituents in North Islington, and drew my attention to his local popularity. I responded to them by pointing out what is as stake is not his election as a maverick MP representing a safe seat in inner London, but his suitability as leader.  I said that his views on the Middle East and on international terrorism would alone be sufficient to destroy him within a year. This process has already begun.

Two other academics in the 27 wrote back saying that they had been party members but had resigned over Iraq. I can understand their feelings on the conflict. However is voting Corbyn and destroying the Labour Party the most suitable way of punishing Blair? I hope they apply more rigour to their students’ opinions than they do to their own.

I am sure that most of the 27 are well intentioned but it was an ill-considered and self-indulgent letter. What they should have done at the outset was, to pull together all their worthwhile and practical research. They should have written a clear and accessible document, circulated it widely, and presented it to all the candidates and requested comments. That way they could have raised the level of debate in a depressing contest. They didn’t do that. It’s hard work and requires organisation. Much easier to sign a letter.


Labour’s failure and my small part in it: a memoir for my grandchildren Martyn Sloman

Download here Labour’s failure and my small part in it

This short book is based on experiences of 50 year’s activism, despair about the current state of the Labour Party, and the steps that are needed to regain credibility. It is available free of charge as a download on this blog site (above) and on a personal website A Kindle edition, priced 99p., the minimum permissible by the publisher, is also available (details on the personal website).


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