Young Labour members tell us why they’re not voting for Jeremy Corbyn

Only one of them is Team JC

national

Labour’s bid to pick a new party leader has sparked controversy and debate, with many party members – including eight front benchers – declaring they’d refuse to serve under Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn is widely regarded as the most popular of the four candidates and enjoys particularly strong support from younger Labour supporters. But will he translate this support into victory? We asked Labour students for their views on the leadership battle.

Ellen McKee, Sheffield

Ellen

Who are you voting for?

I plan to vote for Yvette. She’s the strongest candidate. She comes across as being the most competent leader. Being a woman doesn’t make her any less powerful.

How should people choose who to vote for?

It would be nice to have more areas of society represented and to have someone not from Eton in power. But if they’re not right for the job they shouldn’t get it. It’s great we have two women who are actually going for it. You shouldn’t vote for a candidate just because they are a woman or, like Burnham, have a working-class background.

What would happen to Labour if Corbyn won?

It probably won’t turn out very well if he got in. It’s not realistic to oppose all public spending cuts. I don’t think Labour would have any chance at government if Corbyn were the leader. He splits the party too much to gain enough votes to win a majority in government.

Who do you think will actually win?

Jeremy Corbyn will probably win. He’s creating more of a stir than anyone else. People like him because he’s pretty much the opposite to Blair.

Joe Goodsall, Birmingham

Joe interview

Who are you voting for?

I would probably vote Burnham. I like what Corbyn says and the things he stands for but he’s too far left to pose a realistic challenge to the Conservatives. Labour is standing for opposition, and that means we need a leader who is able to hold the public support for the next four years. Burnham, however, would definitely make Labour a stronger party.

How should people choose who to vote for?

There are people who will judge a candidate by their background, but personally I go on policies. Gender shouldn’t hold a leader back, but, as much as I like the two female candidates, they are lagging in the polls. It makes no sense to squander votes on someone who isn’t popular.

What would happen to Labour if Corbyn won?

I do think people would turn away from Labour, but not to the Conservatives. If the Lib Dems could make a come-back, there would be more of a chance of Labour MPs defecting to the Lib Dems. Also I don’t think Labour will split. It’s very much Right versus Left at the moment.

Who do you think will actually win?

I think Burnham will win. Corbyn is causing divisions in Labour at the moment. I think a lot of people who voted Green in the General Election would be likely to vote Corbyn, but whether that would lend him a greater amount of support than Burnham would have, I don’t know.

Luke Stafford, Cambridge

11844131_984338198306087_1659806943_n

Who are you voting for?

Andy Burnham, but only just about. Jeremy Corbyn is too left-wing, Liz Kendall is too right-wing, and Yvette Cooper doesn’t have much substance. Burnham’s the lesser of four evils: he’s got a bit of charisma, and I like his vision of aspirational socialism. He’s less radical than Jeremy Corbyn, who isn’t electable in the slightest.

How should people choose who to vote for?

Burnham plays on his working class background, which I think could be helpful for winning the election, but it’s not necessary. I don’t think we should choose our leader based on class or gender. People ought to vote based on a) who has the best policies and b) who is the most electable.

What would happen to Labour if Corbyn won?

We may well have a repeat of the 1980s Labour split. Corbyn’s views don’t represent those of the public – someone who opposes all spending cuts and wants to nationalise the banks is too radical for most voters. The more centrist Labour politicians would join with the Lib Dems and we’d be left with a radical un-electable left.

Who do you think will actually win?

Not Jeremy Corbyn, despite current polls. Even from the Tories’ perspective, it’s possible to not want a party in power but to still want that party to have a competent leader in order to provide good democratic debate. I think Labour members will be more sensible and vote for Andy Burnham. He’s the only one who is at all electable and has substance.

John Gibby, Leeds

Gibby

Who are you voting for?

I’m going to vote for Yvette Cooper. She incorporates a good mix of progressive politics, looking at where Labour went wrong in the 2015 General Election, and also experience in government and winning elections. I think it’s time Labour had a female leader.

How should people choose who to vote for?

Unfortunately, though perhaps not unsurprisingly, the candidates are not representative of many backgrounds. Andy Burnham is working-class, but the candidates are all white. I think it’s important for a leader to unite members of the right and the left of the party, which Burnham and Cooper do.

What would happen to Labour if Corbyn won?

A split in the party would be unavoidable. There would be people leaving the party. And ultimately, I can’t see any situation in which Corbyn wins the 2020 election. His views are not representative of those of the public, particularly his views on Trident. The Labour Party has to be electable in order to get back in government. We don’t want those who are most vulnerable in society to suffer under more years of Tory rule.

Who do you think will actually win?

Yvette Cooper certainly has a chance. I wouldn’t vote for her if that wasn’t the case.

Seanique Reuben, Birmingham

SeaniqueWho are you voting for?

I’m voting for Corbyn as I think Labour could use somebody more traditional with strong socialist views who isn’t trying to make a catch-all party.

How should people choose who to vote for?

People should vote for the person they believe has a genuine passion for equality and who will help those in actual need. Vote for someone who stands up for the underdog and will stand a chance at leadership in the next election.

What would happen to Labour if Corbyn won?

The change from New Labour to Corbyn’s potential government will be quite dramatic. Labour will gain a lot of old traditional followers who may be swayed because of his leadership style and overall central agenda, however Labour will lose the mass of central voters who tend to go for catch-alls.

Who do you think will actually win?

Even though I hoped for a female leader this year, unfortunately I think it will be a close call between Corbyn and Burnham.