A Game of Thrones: who will take the leadership of Britain’s parties?


Andy Burnham, ILLUSTRATION: Hermione Blomfield- Smith

Far from the blood soaked TV show that follows the struggle for the Iron Throne, there was little red soaking the map of Britain in this year’s fight for number 10. With defeat in this year’s General Election, Labour’s Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats both step down in leadership to make way for the new frontrunners in British politics. With David Cameron promising a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU in 2017, the success of the leadership of these opposition parties becomes all the more important in the future of the nation.

Jeremy Corbyn, ILLUSTRATION: Hermione Blomfield- Smith

Over the period of the 2015 General election, Nigel Farage of UKIP, and PM Cameron have painted a right wing, anti-European hue in their words leaving the traditional Liberal Democrat support of the EU  and Labour support in a stark contrast of opinion. The heads of these parties must prove to be effective leaders if they wish for their stance to on the EU referendum to be favoured and implemented.

Liz Kendall, ILLUSTRATION: Hermione Blomfield- Smith

Many would argue that the Labour response to the Green party surge is Jeremy Corbyn, social media darling and a discernible change from his rival candidates. Corbyn stands against Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall for the Labour leadership.

Beyond domestic politics Corbyn has been noted for his outspokenness on such topics as Palestine, where many political voices have previously fallen silent. A supporter of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement to boycott Israeli products and institutions such as Universities that research arms, Corbyn would pledged a labour government to a two way arms embargo on Israel in support of Palestine which suffers under Israeli use of weapons produced by the UK. With this amongst many outgoing policies for a potential Corbyn led Labour it isn’t hard to see why he is so popular amongst the public and the media.

Yvette Cooper, ILLUSTRATION: Hermione Blomfield-Smith

Venturing beyond the Tamar where the blue gives way to many other party colours, I meet members of the Labour Party who despite the media popularity of Corbyn spend their vote with Cooper in mind.

The BBC Newsnight focus groups put Cooper ahead of Corbyn in the leadership race with former Labour voters. This ties well with her emphasis on trying to regain votes form the Conservatives and in particular the SNP in Scotland. As I sit in a room of young Labour supporters however Cooper is championed as the leader that isn’t considered too radical in party change as Corbyn is feared to be. In their 20s and distraught at the Conservative government they tell me that Cooper is more likely to win out of the more moderate candidates and won’t risk splitting the party as Party donor John Mills has previously stated.  With YouGov figures putting Corbyn ahead at 53% of the leadership vote however it appears likely that he may win the race.

In the Liberal Democrat Party MP Tim Farron has been elected leader over MP Norman lamb taking 56.5% of the party vote. After the loss of 48 of their 56 MPs this year the Liberal Democrats have taken to a new leader and a new fight for retaining Membership of the European Union. Where in the previous government the party had the power to keep the government European friendly, the current Conservative administration has been in an open attack of the Union and leading the nation to a referendum on its membership. The new face of the growing party must work hard in the coming years to retain the UKs place in the European Union and regain the seats lost in 2015. Time will tell how effective his leadership will be but for now he attracts new members into the fold.