Tuesday , 23 July 2019

Jeremy Corbyn wins by landslide Labour leadership contest

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Left wing backbencher Jeremy Corbyn won the British Labour Party elections by a landslide, successfully seeing off a frontbenchers Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

Corbyn received an overwhelming 59.5% the votes, over 40% more than his nearest rival Burnham, who got 19%, making a second round was unnecessary.

Former minister Tom Watson was elected deputy leader.

Corbyn who has spent his entire 32-year career in the Commons on the backbenches, promised to fight for a more tolerant and inclusive Britain – and to tackle “grotesque levels of inequality in our society”.

He said people are “fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in a spirit of hope and optimism.”

He also argued that his campaign showed that the support he received means reengagement of “a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted. We have to, and must, change that.”

“The fight back now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace.”

The newly elected leader also praised the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and vowed to fight for the values he espouses in Scotland.

Corbyn has also a strong record for LGBTI rights, he said he would prioritise international campaigning on related issues even it harms diplomatic ties: “There are various stages by which you can do it.

“For example, countries that have trade agreements with the EU – all EU trade agreements have a human rights clause.

“Many of those countries have knowingly signed trade agreements. It is a question of enforcing those human rights clauses, which can.”

He also pledged to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland, despite the Democratic Unionist Party continual opposition: “I would want, and I hope this can be agreed, an extension of the equalities legislation that we received in the UK Parliament to all parts of the UK. That is my position, I feel very very strongly about that.

“I realise there are sensitivities, I realise people don’t always agree with that – I’ve been to many debates in my own constituency on it – but if you engage in an open and honest debate, you can make progress on it.”

Stewart Wakelam-Munro, a long time LGBTI and workers rights campaigner within Scottish Labour, told KaleidoScot he was over the moon hearing the result: “Today is the day where the Labour Party moved back from the brink of extinction in Scotland, its a time when workers’ rights are back on the agenda.

“Where the NHS will be protected against TTIP, where we fully fight the austerity measures put in place by the political ideology of conservatism and put the poorest of society back on a more even foot.

“Where equal rights mean equal not just on paper but in reality.  I am looking forward to the coming days ahead when party policy will be shaped by the party not the elite.”

Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said he backed Corbyn for his “strong, unique policies for social justice and equality – to secure a kinder, gentler, fairer and more inclusive, harmonious Britain. I am with him in opposing austerity. So is much of the country – including the Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru, with whom I hope Jeremy and Labour will make common cause in a quadruple alliance.”

Nevertheless, Tatchell warned that he backs the new leader “despite unsavoury friends”, which include extremely anti-Semitic and homophobic figures, such as Sheikh Raed Saleh, Ibrahim Hewitt, who he called “honoured citizens” and “good friends”.

Tatchell also signalled that while Corybn made strong public commitments to LGBTI rights he also backed regimes in Russia, Ukraine, Syria and Iran that were or still are waging campaigns against equality and human rights.

“Support for Jeremy does not require suspension of our critical faculties and a knee-jerk unthinking allegiance. As he himself has often said, it is a citizen’s responsibility to hold politicians to account – including those we support. Nobody is entitled to a free pass – not Jeremy, me or anyone”, added Tatchell.

Maggie Chapman, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party told KaleidoScot she was encouraged by the Labour Leadership contest result: “People are taking every opportunity to reject the right wing consensus that has dominated our politics for the past 25 years. I’m delighted that the only candidate in this election who wants an end to austerity and nuclear weapons has won. Greens will continue to work for a radical change to our politics that puts people and planet ahead of profit.”

Commenting on the result of the Labour Party leadership contest, SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said: “We congratulate Jeremy Corbyn on his victory and hope that we can work constructively with him in a progressive alliance against Tory austerity. We also call on him to give an early commitment that Labour MPs will join the SNP in voting against the £100 billion renewal of Trident.

“However, the reality today is that at a time when the country needs strong opposition to the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn leads a deeply, and very bitterly, divided party. Indeed, if Labour cannot quickly demonstrate that they have a credible chance of winning the next UK general election, many more people in Scotland are likely to conclude that independence is the only alternative to continued Tory government.

“In the meantime, it is clearer than ever that the only credible and united opposition to the Tories, north and south of the border, is the SNP.”

About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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