It is fair to say that many within the Labour Party are a tad stressed this summer. Given they might be on the verge of being led by an unelectable (other than by the Labour membership and assorted hanger-ons, some of whom may or may not be Tories, that is) far-leftist, that’s understandable.
This has led many of the shadow cabinet, under the cloak of remaining off the record, to tell various newspapers that should Jezza triumph come September, a coup would have to be arranged in fairly short order.
“If he wins, we will be in massive danger of destroying ourselves as a party. We will have to decide whether he should be removed immediately, or whether it would be better to give him a year or two of being a disaster and get rid of him by 2018.”
That’s my favourite quote on the subject, but there are plenty of them flying around. So if the impossible becomes reality and Corbyn is elected leader, giving the Labour Party their first boss in generations to mean every word of “The Red Flag” including all the nasty stuff regarding cowards and traitors, would having an immediate revolution within the party and ousting Jeremy be a good idea?
It would be a really, really bad one – o let me count the ways. First of all, whether anyone likes it or not, the membership will have picked the guy, fair and square. The party bigwigs turning around and saying, “Sorry, you lot chose wrong; democracy rescinded”, would spark a meltdown within Labour so profound, this leadership contest will be looked back on as some sort of quasi-golden era.
“Oh, but it was the unfair voting system Ed brought in that made this terrible thing happen,” I can hear some of them saying already. Putting aside the ludicrousness of trying to argue that One Member One Vote is less fair than some weird thing involving three pots, let’s imagine re-running the leadership contest with current levels of Corbyn-mania, but the old voting system. So the unions back Jeremy, which ties up their third; the PLP unites behind one, non-Corbyn candidate. That leaves the membership to decide after the other two effectively cancel one another out, so you’re back to where we actually are now anyway.
Another key reason overthrowing a newly minted Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party is a bad idea is down to the unions. They’d never stand for it and who the hell knows what they’d do but I can tell you this much about it: it wouldn’t be pretty for Labour and its future as an electoral force (which is surely what a coup would be meant to try and protect).
But the final reason is that it would be almost impossible anyhow. Labour are rubbish at ousting leaders even when it’s the obvious thing to do to absolutely everyone in the entire country, never mind just after a highly divisive leadership contest – and when Corbyn will be having what I predict would be quite the honeymoon period. We’d all have to endure a mini-epoch in which Jeremy was lauded by the left-wing media, even those who are pooing on his parade as we speak. We’d hear endlessly about how great it is to have a Labour leader who “speaks from the heart” and “says things he means” and isn’t part of the “Westminster bubble/elite”. It would be a lot like Ed Miliband, just much sharper in terms of level of eventual decline. And by the time that set in, we know from history how Labour would react: sit back and hope the worst doesn’t come. At least this time round, there’s little they can really do about it.