After pledging a wealth tax and an end to austerity, would Owen Smith be just as bad as Jeremy Corbyn?

Labour Leadership Election
Smith has called for a series of far-left policies (Source: Getty)

Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked, says Yes.

Corbyn versus Smith is the least inspiring leadership spat in living memory. On one side, a man who looks like he wandered out of the 1970s, a beardy, lefty version of Austin Powers, always saying stuff that’s decades out of date. And on the other, an edge-free technocrat whose selling point is that he’s “normal”. Incredibly, this “man called Owen Smith”, as the Beeb referred to this unknown, could prove worse for Labour, and politics, than the Corbynistas. For he’s being pushed by Labour bigwigs precisely because he’s dull. Apparently he’s the “safe pair of hands” Labour needs right now, to drain it of the mad passion and principles Jeremy Corbyn rudely introduced. He’s the anti-politics candidate, sent to leech the party of ideology. This clash cannot disguise the fact that the Labour Party no longer knows what it’s for or who it represents. It is in existential meltdown, and neither Corbyn nor Smith, neither the throwbacks nor the dullards, can arrest that.

Atul Hatwal, editor of Labour Uncut, says No.

Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn are as different as day and night. Two dividing lines define the chasm between the two: competence and ideology. Corbyn is so incompetent that even former supporters among his parliamentary colleagues have turned against him. Lilian Greenwood MP, who was shadow transport minister and a Corbyn backer, resigned recently from the Shadow Cabinet saying “he’s not a team leader, let alone a team player.” She and the overwhelming majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party are backing Smith. In terms of ideology, Corbyn’s priorities are a world away from those of most Britons. Giving the Falklands to Argentina, defending tyrants in Venezuela and Cuba, and scrapping nukes might matter to Corbyn’s cabal, but do nothing to generate jobs and wealth in the UK. In contrast, Smith has set out a plan to invest £200bn in UK infrastructure, driving growth and protecting British jobs from the post-Brexit crunch. Corbyn revels in his position as a hero to hard left trolls; Smith is the man who would lead for all of Britain.

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