Jeremy Corbyn is favourite to win Labour leader race.
There is a need to point out that I am not a member or registered supporter of any political party and, as such, feel free to talk about politics without being accused of being biased in any way.
Also, just to add to my independence, I freely admit to having voted in various ways in the past 45 years.
There is an old quote, sometimes attributed to various different politicians but no-one definitely, that says: ‘Any man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist at age 40 has no head.’
Well, in those 45 years of voting in every single election that came my way, my votes have gone to Liberals (prior to Lib Dem coming into being), Labour, Social Democratic Party, Conservatives, UKIP and Liberal Democrats. I also voted for Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) on one occasion. A typical floating voter? Maybe, but I voted according to my views at the time and according to the options available. Who got my cross in the box at this year’s general election is irrelevant.
What is proving fascinating at the moment is the fight to become the next leader of the Labour Party. It started off with three ‘sensible’ candidates with one outsider, seemingly a joke left-wing candidate, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn.
Strangely, though, if opinion polls are to be believed – and their record of reliability and accuracy is no better in the UK than in the US – Corbyn is now the front runner. Certainly the bookies agree, making him the odds-on favourite
The other candidates are quite obviously rattled as Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall have all attacked the man as well as his policies. He, on the other hand, has steadfastly refused to respond by acting in the same way.
Now, I am not for or against any individual politician but will stand up for fairness and accuracy. That involves me telling the truth, however unpalatable that truth may be to some people. And, in this case, that means pointing out that what Corbyn said about the killing of Osama Bin Laden has been taken out of context; he has been selectively misquoted. Also, he has not attacked the Queen but the way in which the Government uses her royal prerogative.
The first of the latest attacks on him was based on views he expressed in an interview on Iranian TV. During that, he described the killing of Bin Laden as a tragedy. Hence his rivals’ criticism of him. But, you need to understand the entire quote, not just part of it. He actually said that it was a tragedy that the man had been killed instead of being put on trial for his actions. Sounds a bit different, right? Also, during the same interview, Corbyn described the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers as a tragedy. Yes, he used the same word.
His latest campaign move was to criticise the Royal Prerogative, saying it should be up to parliament to decide. What happened? It brought criticism upon him for attacking the Queen; he has been accused of assaulting the monarchy.
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognised in the UK as the sole prerogative of the Sovereign and the source of many of the executive powers of the British government.
However, although it is known as the Royal Prerogative, the powers are actually handed to the Prime Minister of the day. Indeed, since the 19th century, by convention, the advice of the Prime Minister or the cabinet – who are then accountable to Parliament for the decision – has been required in order for the prerogative to be exercised.
So, unlike the executive powers of the President of the USA, the royal prerogative is not exercised by the Queen alone. She only uses these powers on the advice of her ministers. In the same way that she would never withhold the Royal Assent from any new law passed by parliament.
What Corbyn actually said was: “The royal prerogative should be subject to parliamentary vote and veto if necessary. The Queen hands her powers to the prime minister and he can then exercise them. It’s a very convenient way of bypassing parliament. Also, orders in council are a very convenient way of bypassing parliament.”
Jeremy Corbyn is not attacking the Queen, he is simply trying to ensure that the democratically elected parliament is not bypassed by the Prime Minister in the same way that American Congress can be sidestepped by the President.