Two very important by-elections yesterday, caused by right-wing Labour MPs resigning and moving on to higher paying jobs, for Labour's future. In Stoke, Labour was up against UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, in an area which was very, very heavily Brexit supporting. Trying to pitch a new UKIP (one to replace Labour), his campaign ended up capitulating and lost fairly convincingly, although still obtaining a 4% swing in the vote. Decent enough performance by Labour, especially considering leaders of parties tend to do better than the average candidate (usually, not always) and the fact that Labour's share of the vote has steadily decreased over the years. Helped, of course, by Nuttall lying about everything. But still, not amazing but not bad either.
Copeland on the other hand was a disaster. Labour lost 5% of their vote share of 2015, and the Tories gained 8.5% (almost all at UKIP's expense, who lost 9% themselves). This is the first time a governing party has won a byelection in over 30 years. This wasn't a particularly high brexit area, either, just one which depended on Nuclear power to survive, which Corbyn is an opponent of. Nonetheless, that doesn't excuse losing Copeland when the majority in 2010 was almost 9%.
Because of this, I have decided to relinquish my support for Jeremy Corbyn. Up to summer last year he was doing a fairly good job, and sometimes ahead of the Tories in the polls. Since Brexit, however he has been a disaster. At first this was the fault of the Labour MPs who were doing everything to oust him, and in a time when they should and could have been capitalising on the Tory problems, they had enormous ones themselves. Owen Smith was unlikeable, uncharismatic, untrustworthy and a fantastically hopeless candidate, so it was no surprise Corbyn trounced him. But since then, despite many rebels quieting down, he has been unable to gain any footing at all. May, somehow, still has positive approval ratings. She has been an absolute trainwreck, but her adoring fans also have about 5 million readers, compared to about 1.5 million dectracters (among the press' readership). However, Corbyn has had opportunity after oppurtunity to dsimantle her and failed at every turn. I know that I could do a better job, and it's depressing to see that the PLP has nobody else to offer who can, apart from Angela Eagle and Owen Smith.
His politics are not the problem, though; he is. He is useless. Not clever, and thoroughly useless. He isn't a leader and cannot unite a party to save his life, and it is impossible to win without a united front. I thought this back in July too, but it was my opinion that he should be given another chance to learn and put into practice what he has learnt. He's had it, and he has been much worse than before. 2020, unless Brexit is a disaster which it very well could be, is lost. Even if Brexit is a disaster, Corbyn isn't the right man to exploit that. I think someone like Sir Keir Starmer should become leader. He is a Miliband-style Social Democrat, but he can be persuaded to more left-wing ideas if the membership so wishes. Most importantly, though, he appears to be extremely capable and intelligent, and is a good orator. He is also a 'Sir' which usually commands some respect, and had a job before becoming an MP. As Shadow Brexit Secretary, he has done a good job in parliament against May's complete lack of transparency, and I feel that the next election will be won and lost on this issue, and he, unlike Corbyn, could exploit it. He can win over Lib Dems and moderate Tories, and the threat of UKIP seems to have been held off after Stoke, which I hope will be the biggest challenge in that regard.
Clive Lewis could be another option, but apparently he isn't particularly intelligent. But this is from one person on twitter and one person only, so could be very untrue. He is more left-wing than Starmer, and seems more capable than Corbyn. Against the fallacy that is Trident, too.
The Momentum people need to acknowledge this and get over their delusional fanaticism over Corbyn. All this, as I said, is coming from someone who has defended Corbyn in the past, but now accepts he is done for.