When Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, despite not liking his politics I thought it would be genuinely exciting to have a real maverick heading the opposition. I figured having someone who spoke their minds freely, a sort of Farage of the Left, would introduce an interesting dynamic into British politics.
Not that it isn’t before time, but surely now everyone can drop the pretence that Corbyn is a deeply principled chap who just can’t help but follow his heart. The guy has triangulated like mad since September 2015. Just because you do something really, really badly does not mean you aren’t doing it.
I could go through a whole list of examples, but let’s just focus on the most relevant one and take Brexit. For years and years in opposition, Corbyn railed against the supposed capitalist’s club that is the European Union. He was an exemplary example of left-wing Euroscepticism, holding to the Bennite line long after it had gone out of fashion within any section whatsoever of the PLP.
So when a referendum comes along, what does Corbyn do but come out for Remain. Lamely, but clearly. Then, after Leave wins, Corbyn says Article 50 should be triggered immediately, making a joke of his supposed Damascene conversation to the merits of EU membership. A vote comes up to trigger A50, and he whips his troops to vote it through, all while talking about the “real fight”, one that is destined to begin at some point in the future, a perpetual “now” that never arrives.
Put aside any argument about what the right thing to do regarding Brexit would be in electoral terms only and ask yourself this: what does Corbyn, in his heart of hearts, think Labour should be doing about Brexit? Again, apart from pragmatic considerations, what does he actually want to do? Given he’s supposed to be all about principle as opposed to doing what it takes to win, it is remarkable how unclear Corbyn’s real intentions have been since June 24th, 2016 at the very least.
In fact, with the sole exceptions of Trident and cleaving to Stop the War’s “eclectic” take on British foreign policy, Corbyn hasn’t really stuck to his guns on anything at all. He’s been like any other Labour leader of recent times – trying to find compromises to keep the fraying big tent in one piece – the only notable difference being Jeremy Corbyn is exponentially worse at the job than anyone who has ever previously filled that office.
If you think that Corbyn represents your politics, fine – just spare us all the St Jeremy line about him being different to other politicians. The only thing that marks him out is that he sucks at the job.