Corbyn’s and Miliband’s approaches to #RefugeeCrisis speak volumes

two approaches to refugees

In the last few days, tweets by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and by a ‘great centrist hope’ have encapsulated the gulf between the approach of a genuine people’s politician and the old, ‘they’re all the same’ politics.

The people’s politician

Last weekend, on World Refugee Day,  a group of cross-party remain-obsessives chanted “Where’s Jeremy” during the “People’s Vote’ march in London – feeding whatever political agendas drive them.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t hear them. He was in Jordan among Syrian and Palestinian refugees at the Za’atari and Baqa’a camps:.

jc refugee.png

Some of those remain-obsessives even took  to social media to claim that he should have cancelled the visit to accommodate their obsession.

Corbyn was busy on the ground in Jordan, meeting those whose lives have been blighted by wars and political decisions, finding out what their lives are like and understanding the impact of choices driven by elites.

He released a short video of each visit on Twitter afterwards:

Corbyn spoke of our obligation to help meet the refugees’ medical and educational needs, but also their political aspirations. He called for us to recognise and support the efforts they’re making to help themselves – he had seen them in person – and spoke to the ‘outside world’ of its duty to not only help those affected by wars but also to remove the causes of war itself.

Corbyn’s direct, compassionate approach is not limited to refugees, nor staged for the cameras. He was captured recently in an entirely unscripted moment with a young Grenfell survivor that inspired many but enraged his enemies:

jc grenfell kl

The Miliband approach

There is a huge overlap between those who have wanted rid of Corbyn from the moment he first looked like winning the Labour leadership in 2015 and those who are at the forefront of the ‘stop Brexit’ campaign.

Those figures – let’s call them ‘centrists’ for convenience – either ignore or don’t care that Corbyn is the only UK political leader fighting for those who want to remain and those who want to leave – and that any move by Labour to abandon one group to favour the other would condemn Britain to both Tory government and the ‘hard Brexit’ they say they want to avoid at all costs.

Many of those centrists consider their ideal leader and best hope to be David Miliband, the right-winger defeated by his brother Ed for the Labour leadership in 2010.

Today, Miliband put out a tweet about his own efforts on the issue of refugees. The contrast could hardly have been more striking:

miliband aspen

Miliband is at the ‘Aspen Ideas Festival’, which styles itself the United States’:

premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that shape our lives and challenge our times.

Perhaps gatherings of self-styled ‘leaders from around the globe’ to ‘engage in deep inquisitive discussion’ have their place.

Perhaps you can even argue that there are reasons they need to meet in a world-famous mountain resort to do it – though a tweet that seems to rub the faces of refugees and the struggling in the splendour of a privileged life in a picture-postcard setting is harder to justify.

But if you’re looking for reasons why the vast majority of Labour members – and over thirteen million people at last year’s general election – are inspired and energised to support the Labour Party because of its leader, you might well do worse than to look at the different approaches of the current leader and the model of ‘business as usual’ politics for a clue.

And the fact that a small group of Brexit-obsessives don’t get that says more about them and their own politics than about the leadership this country needs.

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  1. Brilliant! Cheered me up today after being more & more furious & disheartened by the fraud that is the call for ‘peoples’ vote’ Only Tories can agree to it and they won’t. Nasty #toryenablers (inc Lib Dems) want us to continue divide & rule strategy.
    Back to your piece – thank you xx
    PS did you know that JO Cox Fund is donating to the WHite Helmets (terrorist organisation in SYria) I knew UK Govt was & USA but that is troubling cos Jo was a Labour MP.

  2. Yes some ‘Great Men (and Women) of History’ (without an original idea in their heads) like to remind people of their existence every now and again yet it could be argued they are essentially Neo-Liberals, stand for crumbs for working people, and I would argue STAND FOR NOTHING which is why the powerful promote such mediocrity and ‘safe’ people who will no doubt attempt to police the working class and left wing democratic socialists.
    This particular lightweight couldn’t even beat lightweight Ed and if the Blairites and Neo-Liberals did ever capture Labour again it would end up in England and Wales like Labour used to be in Scotland (because of their like) and would end up overall like PASOK in Greece.
    Jeremy is a Star yet perhaps some on the Right fail to recognise that history has passed them by?

  3. I suspect the carefully chosen PR phrase “the people’s vote” emanates from the same toxic source as once coined the phrase “the people’s princess.”

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