From Chris Johnson, Chair of Witney CLP
I’m sure that amongst local members and supporters as in the party nationally there will be a range of feelings and reactions to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as our leader. Some will be enthused by the prospect of a more radical agenda for the party to pursue and put to the public, others out of sympathy with the apparent agenda, and some fearful of the effect of a shift to the left on the party’s ability to win elections – and all of us know the onslaught the overwhelmingly Tory supporting press is going to unleash. I want to argue that none of us should leap to early judgements.
I have said at previous meetings that Jeremy Corbyn’s policy positions are not extreme, but represent elements of mainstream thinking in this country. His alternative approach to reducing the deficit has support from many professional economists; his aim of encouraging British companies to focus more on the long term and less on immediate profit margins is widely shared (see much of Will Hutton’s recent output). Tackling inequality is surely common ground for us all (and even the governor of the Bank of England and the head of the IMF agree that current levels in this country are damaging and unsustainable). And bringing the railways and energy companies into some form of public ownership have wide support. There is of course room for debate about how these things can be best achieved – and I’m sure we will be having that debate, vigorously, over the coming months.
I am determined that the party locally will continue to welcome all strands of opinion within the party, and will encourage debate which is lively, and respectful of different viewpoints. Only by working together can we have any chance of limiting the damage this Conservative government is doing to our country.
If you have joined recently, whether as a member, affiliate or registered supporter – I very much hope you will stay with us, and work together on our campaigns, locally and nationally.
With all good wishes,
PS: this blog from Duncan Enright on the new leadership is well worth a read: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/duncan-enright/jeremy-corbyn_b_8127606.html
And if you haven’t already seen it, Jeremy Corbyn has set out his approach in an article in the Observer: