Medway Greens cautiously optimistic about Corbyn

The recent election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader has been greeted with cautious optimism by Medway Green Party who, along with many other Greens, had encouraged Labour members to vote for Corbyn as a respected, committed progressive and anti-war politician. In the weeks since Corbyn was elected, a small number of Green Party members have changed allegiance to be part of the new left-wing Labour Party, in support of his amazing rise to leadership.

Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Membership and Engagement Officer, says:

“This was something we were anticipating as the recent substantial rise in Medway Green Party’s membership included some long term Labour members who felt abandoned by the previous Labour administration, particularly with Miliband’s shadow cabinet support of the government’s austerity measures, and refusal to back public sector workers striking for their pension rights.

“However the Green Party has different values and policies to the Labour Party on a number of issues, such as: climate destroying airport expansion, which they support and we don’t; our challenge to the political consensus on chasing endless economic growth in a finite world; and the provision of a universal basic income, which we believe would go much further than Corbyn-led measures in empowering ordinary people.  Lots of promises have been made by the new Labour administration, many of which we support, but we are yet to see evidence of a commitment to policies which we believe would ensure a stable and sustainable future in the long term.”

One major setback already facing the newly elected Labour leader is the animosity towards his position on renewal of Trident. Corbyn had chaired the Stop the War coalition for many years and is a well known supporter of CND. As recently as August this year he spoke of how, if elected Prime Minister, he would not replace Trident and would transition away from nuclear weapons entirely. However, at the post election Labour Party conference, there was vocal opposition to this stance, both from the financial lifeblood of the Labour Party, the Trade Unions, and from elected MPs.

John Little, Medway Green Party Finance Spokesperson says:

“There is no doubt that Corbyn attracted many new supporters because of his anti-Trident statements and it is something of a concern that, so early on in his leadership, there appears to be a back-tracking on this huge issue. The cost of replacing Trident is reckoned to be about £20 billion by government figures and double that if you include running costs. That for a so called deterrent which has little relevance to the risks we face in a modern world, and, on top of the £45 billion allocated to defence spending annually. This single expenditure is equivalent to more than one year’s transport budget, or it could be used to generate much needed development of our renewable industry.”

Time will tell if Corbyn is able to convince his MPs and the unions of his arguments against Trident and there are many watching to see if this is the only thing he has to compromise on.

“Medway Greens, like many other left-leaning organisations, are hoping that Corbyn remains true to his core beliefs” says John “but if he, and other Labour supporters, find it impossible to make headway with the more intransigent within the Labour Party, then there is a home for him and other Labour members in the Green Party; with the proviso that they accept our environmental as well as our social policies.”




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