25 April 2020
Letter to the Editor
I write in response to Diary of a Corbynista in Shawsheet 230.
As John Crace says in this morning’s Guardian, after five years of absence, “finally we have a fully functioning opposition”.
Keir Starmer was very effective in Parliament yesterday. I particularly liked the gracious way in which he pointed to a worrying pattern of poor decisions: the “delay” in implementing the lockdown; the procurement of PPE; and the whole question of testing. I have some sympathy with the lockdown timing issue: there are judgement calls in a good deal of this. The PPE issue, however, looks like significant incompetence, with testing running a close second. The availability of reliable tests is certainly an issue and there would be no merit in testing lots of people who give false results but Hancock has been over-optimistic/ naive in several respects. And some of the talk about vaccines is pie in the sky. Still, we can always blame the scientific advisers, the civil service and the NHS itself.
Regardless of Corbyn’s merits (and I agreed with some of his views) I consider that he was an abject failure. Perhaps the fault lies with the electorate! I love the quote in the Asa Winstanley article: “The people have spoken. The bastards”.
There seems to be a body of Labour-in-Wonderlanders who will not accept that JC was a disaster for the Party. I guess that if you can share Rebecca Long-Bailey’s view that he was really a success, you can believe six impossible things before breakfast and you can also perhaps believe that anti-Semitism has not been an issue. I don’t need to make a case either way but I am absolutely certain that JC’s response to the accusations was completely bungled and almost as damaging as his dithering on Brexit.
I hope that the new Labour front bench will be able to challenge this government effectively. We have a Prime Minister whose faults (not the least of which may be laziness) are well known and a Cabinet from which talent has been purged (sound familiar?). The pandemic has highlighted some appalling injustices, divisions and fragilities in our society and it may be, just may be, that effective opposition over the next few years could turn the tide in favour of Labour. Sticking to the belief that Corbyn was a winner will not, in my view be helpful.
W G Grace