Let us know what you think about the Labour leadership contest and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, says Will Hurst
It’s by no means a done deal, but a previously obscure north London MP who has consistently defied his own party’s whip (and has won the Parliamentary Beard of the Year contest a record five times) now stands on the brink of becoming the next leader of the Labour Party.
Jeremy Corbyn, a backbencher whose main experience of public office to date was chairing Haringey Council’s planning committee in the 1970s, was not even expected to take part in the leadership battle. But he scraped through the nomination process back in June after MPs who did not support his candidacy decided the party needed to have a proper debate that included a dyed-in-the-wool leftie. How foolish they must now feel.
Since then, ‘Corbynmania’ has dominated the debate as the Islington North MP’s straightforward, distinctive and principled approach has seen him comprehensively outmanoeuvre the politics-as-usual tickets of his three rivals: Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.
The AJ’s pre-election readership survey showed architects tend to support Labour, so the outcome of this contest is important. And, whether or not you think Corbyn would be good news for the party and the country as a whole, his appeal also has a particular resonance for the profession. On housing –
a subject the AJ has been comprehensively exploring through our More Homes Better Homes campaign – he has drawn up a far more detailed set of policies than his rivals and has proposed a return to mass building of council housing, last seen in the post-war years, when architects were in the vanguard.
Similarly, on areas ranging from overall economic policy to the railways to support for the arts, Corbyn proposes a return to state intervention of a type that appeals to the personal and professional inclinations of many architects. As Richard Rogers admiringly says of him in our news feature this week: ‘There’s this drive to be in the centre ground all the time but you have to give people choice.’
The alternative view, espoused by figures such as Tony Blair and sceptics quoted in our news feature, is that Corbyn is a dangerous throwback spouting ‘Alice in Wonderland’ politics and destined to keep Labour firmly in opposition.
We’d like to know what you think: so get in touch with your views on Jeremy Corbyn and the battle to lead the Labour Party.