Jeremy Corbyn’s top team attacked for ‘fatal complacency’ as Owen Jones turns on ex-leader

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Following the worst Labour election result since 1935 last year, Mr Corbyn stepped down as the leader of the Opposition party before Sir Keir Starmer took over. But the Labour Party are still struggling to move away from Mr Corbyn’s shadow.

The latest opinion survey conducted by polling site Number Cruncher Politics has put the Labour Party four points behind the Tories.

The survey of 1,001 UK adults between September 4-8 has the Conservatives on 42 points compared to Labour on 38 percent.

Despite Mr Starmer making significant gains in terms of popularity, the Labour Party appears to have made little gains since March.

And in his latest column in the Guardian, Owen Jones admitted there are still “underlying dilemmas” within the Labour Party and “profound lessons” that need to be learned.

He wrote: “While Corbynism attracted unprecedented support from economically insecure and socially progressive younger voters, it crashed among disproportionately socially conservative home owning older people who – rightly – have had their living standards protected since the global financial system nearly collapsed.

“These underlying dilemmas remain.

“There are profound lessons that do need to be learned. One is the sheer toxicity of culture wars to any political project that seeks to redistribute wealth and power.”

Mr Jones went on to explain how Brexit was an “endless generator of culture-war divisions” and attacked Mr Corbyn’s top team for their “fatal complacency”.

He continued: “Yet there was a fatal complacency from within the Corbyn project from the very beginning: a belief that Brexit was a Tory psychodrama and thus would always cause more damage to their opponents, perhaps splitting them like the Corn Laws did in the 19th Century.

“During the referendum campaign, most people in the leader’s office were not Lexiteers, but they ‘did not take it seriously at all’, as one former Corbyn aide put to me.

“That fateful attitude later collided with the triumphalism of the 2017 election, partly explaining why Labour was so slow at defining a Brexit approach.”

Under Mr Corbyn’s reign, the Labour Party was criticised over its handling of anti-Semitism.

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And, Mr Jones, admitted the Labour Party must be honest with what went wrong.

He continued: “But if the left wants to salvage those policies for today’s Labour Party, it needs to be honest about what went wrong.

“Corbynism was undoubtedly severely damaged by internal sabotage; but the leadership operation itself was often profoundly dysfunctional and demoralised, something that wasn’t rectified because of post-2017 hubris and Corbyn’s avoidance of conflict.

“A top team that was united descended into brutal acrimony long before the elections even called.

“Those who insisted the anti-Semitism crisis was a smear campaign and nothing else – that Labour’s opponents would always seize on it did not mean it was not a very real problem – not only caused pain to Jewish people but also helped strip away Corbynism’s idealistic sheen.”

During the 2019 election, Labour suffered its worst election result since 1935 and many ‘Red Belt’ constituencies voted for the Conservative Party.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has continued to press Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the coronavirus crisis and the controversial Internal Market Bill.

On Thursday, Sir Keir Starmer visited Scotland to help “unite and unify” Labour.

The visit came after Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard saw several MSPs on his front bench resign.

Sir Keir said he has an “excellent working relationship” with Mr Leonard, and he described Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray as a “first class” member of his shadow cabinet.

Speaking after a visit to Edinburgh University’s medical school, Sir Keir said: “I ran the entire leadership campaign to become leader of the Labour Party on the argument that we needed to unite and unify our party, and that’s among the reasons I’m here in Scotland today.

“That’s why I’m talking to colleagues in Scottish Labour, because what I want to see in Scotland is our party to pull together and to focus on the job in hand.

“Which is what we need to do between now and next May in relation to the (Scottish) election.”

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