Why I’m voting for Owen Smith

I am appalled that the current leader of my party Jeremy Corbyn refused to say whether he would defend a NATO ally if it were attacked by Russia.

By contrast, his challenger Owen Smith states that we would have to defend a fellow member of NATO although he argued that diplomacy would have to be used to try to avoid getting to that stage.

NATO is based on the principle of collective defence: an attack on one member is considered an attack on all its members. Thankfully, current Labour Party policy, unlike Jeremy’s personal position, remains one of collective defence and support for NATO.

It’s a core Labour principle that we achieve more ‘by the strength of our common endeavour’ than we achieve alone. But when it comes to defence, Jeremy seems unwilling to step up to the plate.

We witnessed a similar situation during the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The Labour Party was overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, but was let down by the near invisibility of its Leader who preferred to talk to closed meetings of Labour members than to speak to the nation.

Had he given a clear and convincing lead to Labour voters, explaining to those abandoned by the Conservatives that they would be even worse off with Brexit, I think it’s unlikely that the referendum would have been narrowly lost.

He didn’t just fail the Party, he failed the less fortunate in Britain who are likely to suffer as a result of the decision.

The day after the referendum was narrowly lost, he advocated the immediate implementation of article 50, before the United Kingdom had considered a negotiating strategy.

Effective negotiations require careful planning and it seems less than competent to overlook this.

By contrast, Owen Smith has indicated that he supports a second referendum on British membership of the European Union or a General Election once the terms of Brexit have been negotiated.

Four million people signed a petition supporting a second referendum.

I agree with Labour’s popular mayor of London Sadiq Khan, that with the worst personal poll rating ever recorded for an Opposition Leader, Jeremy cannot win a General Election. I also agree with the Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale, that the current Leader speaks only to the converted rather than to the country.

I have therefore decided to vote for Owen Smith for Labour Leader and Labour Candidate for Prime Minister.

Paul Courtel

Amherst Road


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