Dear Alastair: You’re more Labour than the lot of them

Anti-Brexit campaigners Steve Bray (L) and Alastair Campbell (C) pose outside the Houses of Parliame

Anti-Brexit campaigners Steve Bray (L) and Alastair Campbell (C) pose outside the Houses of Parliament in London, England, on April 8, 2019. (Photo by Robin Pope/NurPhoto via Getty Images) - Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Readers react both online and offline to Alastair Campbell's letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

I don't feel at all ashamed to say I'm sat here with tears in my eyes after reading your letter. You're a man who has given his life to the Labour movement and your contribution has transformed lives.

I was someone who was dependent on the state during that Labour government. I genuinely do not know how I would have survived adolescence if Portillo, Hague, Duncan Smith or Howard had managed to get into Downing Street.

The tragedy is that all wings of the party recognise this but it's a failure in strategy that is the problem - a failure in strategy that can only be true of the type of people who have honed their idea of revolutionary change in Winchester and Oxford rather than in supermarket queues while discovering they're a few pence short, or sitting at home because they can't go out with mates as the only clothes they own are their school uniform. This is a world that these people simply do not understand.

Blair, Brown, Mandelson and yourself all came from privileged backgrounds, but there was a fundamental difference in that you all understood. And you never fetishised the poor as cloth-capped miners and dockworkers, but as a diverse and forward-looking class of people who have the talent and capacity to achieve anything regardless of how we started out in life.

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I'm staying in Labour. We are offering a referendum with Remain on the ballot in all circumstances, but it's just saddening that we're not aiming to win. If I was older, then I would probably leave too.

But I'm young and I passionately believe this country will always need a Labour Party and it needs us to be stubborn and oppose and vote from one week to the next. Even in the party of Seumas Milne I'd still be the one stubborn vote against everything he tries to do even if everybody else left.

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You're more Labour than the lot of them and you remain so whether you're in the party or not.

Nathan Lloyd

Dear Alastair,

I was so touched by your interview with the Today programme earlier this morning.

It must have taken so much heart-searching to make your decision to leave the Labour Party. The passion in your voice was heart-wrenching. You are a very brave and committed socialist whom I admire very much. Like you, I strongly feel that I haven't moved but the Labour Party has. I feel very unsettled that the leader isn't leading.

Your comments on Jeremy Corbyn were very fair. My son lived in his constituency for a while and maintained he was a brilliant constituency man. Studying his past record he hasn't changed, but a rebel doesn't make a good leader.

When the likes of yourself feel they must leave the party it saddens me greatly, but I don't think there is any other option. I live in fear for this country as we now gallop towards a no-deal Brexit and catastrophe for all, especially those on low pay or benefits, once again, the poorest in society, taking the greatest hit.

Thank you for your honesty, even if it makes you unpopular with party members. The truth often hurts.

Thelma Clarke

READ IN FULL - ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: Why I no longer want to be readmitted to Labour

Dear Alastair,

This is a note of support following your announcement. I see the venom deployed on Twitter and can only imagine this becomes wearing after a while.

It's a brave and in my opinion an entirely right decision. I'm sure you realise you have many admirers who respect and appreciate all you do for the causes you advocate - we're perhaps just a little less shrill than 'the mob'.

As a former Labour member too, I hope the party recovers its former good sense soon!

Keith Moran

Dear Alastair,

I applaud what you've done, resigning and speaking out. My views match yours, and I feel utterly disenfranchised as a result. I can't resign from the party, as I've already done so over Iraq (may you be forgiven!), but this time we're as one. Keep chipping away.

Lesley Snow

Alastair, what a tour de force of excoriation of your ex-party's leader and his lack of leadership. I read it out loud to my wife. We were both in tears. I cannot fault one word. You sum up where we are. I took it as a rallying cry. We must #unitetoremain or our country is gone!

David Bingham

It seems very clear that Corbyn is in favour of Brexit too, most likely to save himself from having to pay more taxes once the new EU law is up and running. It can't possibly be because he favours British workers being without any protection, which thanks to the EU they have been. So why shouldn't the Lib Dems become the new main party?

Dagmar Gross

Oh my goodness. What a breathtakingly brilliant letter. Yes, it was long, but yes, every word is a true and accurate representation of Corbyn's slow, steady destruction of the Labour Party. Utterly brilliant.

Ken Russell

That is a brilliant piece by Campbell, and it is an absolute tragedy that thanks to Corbyn and his chums, we have had virtually no useful opposition in the last three years. A decent Labour leader could have blown the hard right core of ERG headbangers out of the water - but Corbyn has missed open goal after open goal, and we are all suffering as a result.

Liz Henderson

READ IN FULL - ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: Why I no longer want to be readmitted to Labour

A very well written letter that perfectly summaries exactly how I - a lifelong Labour activist and voter, now feels. Resign now Mr Corbyn and give the Labour Party the opportunity to oppose and shine again.

Lesley Kirton

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