Does Corbyn have students’ support?
On 24th September it was announced that Jeremy Corbyn had won the leadership election for The Labour Party by 61.8% of the vote, against his rival Owen Smith.
This now marks the second time that Corbyn has managed to secure a victory as leader of The Labour Party by a considerable margin.
The election was held due to a vote of ‘no confidence’ being passed by Labour MP’s after a series of resignations in the cabinet following the EU referendum result.
Corbyn has consistently spoke of his desire to alleviate hardships for students by proposing a National Education Service which would give more power to local authorities, with the hope of eventually abolishing private schools. He speaks also of the benefits of scrapping university tuition fees and restoring maintenance grants, which would partly be funded by increasing corporation tax by 2.5%.
There have, however, been mixed reactions amongst students regarding Corbyn’s return.
Kathryn Hull, a University of Leeds student states that “Jeremy was the best candidate” and she feels he is “consistent in his views which makes him a trustworthy figure”.
Student Jesse Robson, from Grimsby, agrees- “I like his policies and feel he is a politician with integrity”, however he thinks that “he doesn’t have enough support from his party and therefore cannot take The Labour Party much further”. This comment comes from the media attention that was given to more than 60 front- benchers that resigned on the grounds that Corbyn’s campaign on staying in the EU was “luke-warm”.
Consequently, tension has arose between those that support him and Corbyn-sceptics, who claim he is too left-wing and lacking leadership qualities.
On winning the leadership election, however, Corbyn has voiced his opinion on the necessity of the labour party to work together, urging them to “end the trench warfare”.
Generally, there has been a positive reaction amongst Labour MPs giving him their support, despite not having voted for him.
Leeds University student Carl Reeves believes that Corbyn being elected as leader is the “best possible outcome for the Tories”. Not only does he think that Labour will spiral downhill, but he also believes that due to them possibly losing support from party members, the Conservatives will be able to get away with passing policies that might work against the general public’s interests.” Reeves states, “there will now be no credible opposition.” Leading him to the conclusion that “public support for the Conservative party will surge”.
Contrasting this view, second-year student Isabelle Tranter thinks that Corbyn being re-elected as Labour leader is a great thing as “his principles and morals mean that the direction for Labour will stay left-wing and we won’t revert back to the times under Blair”.
Isobel Kaya agrees with this view: “Corbyn really cares about students and makes his policies appealing to us, unlike the Conservatives who disregard a large part of the younger population”.
Corbyn’s large student support base could potentially grow even wider if unity can arise from the different poles of the Labour party.
It seems that the negative reactions to Corbyn from students mainly stems from questions about support from within his own cabinet.
Whether Corbyn will lead a successful party mainly resides within the opinions of the Corbyn-sceptics: they could either choose to support him, leave the party, or worse- try to sabotage his attempts at leadership.