Great Britain is at present, and for the last few years, essentially a two-party country. At this point in time the Labour Party, Britain’s opposition party, should be able to either challenge the Conservative Party for power or to maintain a clear agenda on Brexit. However, the Labour leader is making it look less likely he will ever become Prime Minister.
Jeremy Corbyn has a lot of positive attributes to him. He undoubtedly moved Labour away from its more central position on the political spectrum and brought about a lot of support from a younger generation in the 2017 election, despite still losing to Theresa May’s Conservative Party. Yet he has altered his opinions on Brexit and delayed carrying out any decisive action.
Last week, the party appeared to be divided when Corbyn stated that even if Labour were to win an early election, Brexit would still go ahead. The following day saw one of Corbyn’s MP’s, confirming that a second referendum on Britain leaving the European Union would not happen despite a significant number of his party actively pushing for this. Several members of his party have condemned Corbyn’s words, saying that the core values of the Labour continue to include pushing for a second referendum.
The Labour Party have been given an unexpected opportunity to compete with a Conservative Party divided. Labour’s role as the opposition is to keep the government in check and prepare so that, should the time come, they can win an election. With the lack of decisiveness from Corbyn and the clear levels of opposition towards him within the party, Labour are in no position to either get into power or negotiate any form of Brexit deal. Labour need to put pressure on the Conservative Party, as the opposition should do, but they are not. Corbyn’s apparent personal agenda to not push for a second referendum is starting to plague relationships within the Labour party at a time when unity might just get them more of what they, and a lot of the country, wants.
The events within the Labour party would have ultimately affected the young voters. In 2017 Labour achieved 60% of the 18–24 vote when the overall turnout in that category was at a 25-year high. This trend shows that younger voters in the UK are standing up to make their voices heard, now more than ever before. A majority of younger people do not want to see the UK leave the EU and they would have seen Labour as the party to stand up for remain voters in the instance of a second referendum. Seeing Corbyn go against the agenda of many young voters, especially if the Brexit process continues with little involvement from the Labour party, would have an effect on how the 18–24 bracket votes in the next election if there was a genuine alternative to both Labour and Conservative. If this isn’t the case then the classic two-party tussle will once again commence, whenever the next election may be.
Jeremy Corbyn has undoubtedly made an impact as Labour leader. He helped to restore some element of respect to the party after the decisive defeat in the 2015 election. However, the recent public exposure of his personal agenda on Brexit and his decision to shy away from the ideals of his party will ultimately make sure that Corbyn never becomes Prime Minister.
2018 has been a turbulent year for British politics. The leaders of both Labour and the Tories have been scrutinised in one way or another. There is still a good chance of an election next year but should the people of the UK have to wait for the next scheduled general election in 2022 they will almost definitely have two new party leaders to vote for.