Everybody Shuffle to the Left

By: Ethan Miller 

Jeremy Corbyn's momentous Shadow Cabinet reshuffle finally finished on Tuesday after three long days of deliberation. Despite criticism, Corbyn here has revealed firm leadership and has now created a clearer vision for the party with the ministers he's chosen. This however seems to have struck a discordant note with some of the more right in the party and has given the Conservatives plenty of ammunition for the Commons.

Firing Michael Dugher, former Shadow Secretary of State for culture, and Pat McFadden, former Shadow Minister for Europe, was a daring but necessary move for the Labour leader. This sparked the keg however with Dugher speaking out against Corbyn in the Daily Mirror claiming that “Corbyn's reshuffle has been like a Christmas present for David Cameron – but it's a gift that keeps on giving”: presumably referring to the resignations of Jonathan Reynolds, Stephen Doughty, and Kevan Jones. The junior shadow ministers resigned in protest to Corbyn's decisions, Doughty announced his resignation live on the BBC saying it was “the honourable thing to do” as his ideology agreed more with McFadden than Corbyn. Throughout the interview, this rift in the Labour party became transparent, those, like Doughty, who disagree with the Corbyn's defence policies are trying to take him down, but are in fact damaging the reputation and stability of the party.

Succeeding Dugher is the lesser of two Eagles, Maria. Her demotion from Secretary for Defense was a powerful tactical move from Corbyn. Eagles pro-trident views and her vote for the Syria bombing clashed with his own but with her sister in a powerful position and no real reason to sack her she was simply reshuffled. Eagle took the news gracefully, tweeting that she was “pleased to have been appointed to new role” following up with her plans for the job, promising to “take them (the Tories) on their “attack” on the BBC.

Despite the strong showing of the reshuffle, Corbyn isn't perfect and has been criticised for promoting his neighbour MP Emily Thornberry. Although she is most certainly qualified, trained as a barrister specifically for Human Rights, the decision doesn't seem prudent and can certainly be categorised as 'a rush to get out the door'. Having now six London MPs in his cabinet, Corbyn doesn't seem to be heading for victory, clearly his focus should be on reclaiming the midlands and getting any sort of foothold in Scotland (although at this time that is seemingly impossible).

The most contested decision Mr Corbyn was forced to make was to keep Hilary Benn, Shadow Foreign Secretary, on his front bench. In the recent free vote for Syria Bombing, Benn was among those sixty-six MPs who voted 'for' and made his now famous speech in which he passionately justified the issue. This long standing MP for Leeds Central has kept his job but has now been overpowered in cabinet by his more left-wing op, although he claims he has not “been muzzled” it is unlikely he can make much of a change to defence policy without speaking out which Corbyn will not let him do, or chastise him if he tries. If Benn was to be fired, the 'Labour revolt' would've been a 'Labour riot' with his supporters also resigning. This would cause serious damage to the party as a working opposition and more importantly as a serious contender for election in the public eye. Keeping Benn in does have benefits as it refutes claims that this was a “revenge reshuffle” as Corbyn kept one of his main internal opponents, despite it being a decision he had to make. As always there is no easy way to reshuffle and hard decisions have to be made.

With increased standings in the Oldham by-election in December with an increased majority of 7.3%, and the highest party mandate on record, Corbyn is popular. People are clearly drawn to his approach on Labour and socialist views. He needs to be able to use that mandate and so has carefuly crafted a new, more unified, left-wing cabinet with which he can work. Implementing Thornberry shows that Trident will be a big issue in the next election and it seems he will make its abolition a policy. Whether his MPs should be acting on Corbyn's mandate or their own is a hard question; keeping in mind they were voted in before Jeremy Corbyn, and with Ed Miliband's own Labour brand. With such a long and laborious reshuffle, will Labour ever be able to actually gain momentum and respect as a party? It is important to remember that 2020 is still a long way away and we still have five more years of welfare cuts, privitisation, and most importantly the EU referendum. Perhaps after such a long Tory reign, Britain will be ready for socialism again. For now we can only dream. 

Ethan Miller is 16 and is currently studying Politics, English Literature, and Music A levels at Liverpool College. He had lived in Norwich all his life before he moved to Liverpool in September, and is now settled in to life here in the north. Coming from Norwich South, he enjoys remaining in a Labour constituency and his politics follow very close to his party
Everybody Shuffle to the Left Everybody Shuffle to the Left Reviewed by Admin on 20:16 Rating: 5


  1. I like this article, very helpful with learning about the political shift. I appreciate the time and effort put into this. A very talented young boy.


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