Some of you out there will be aware of this; some will be hype-aware of it; others, may be oblivious to it. But you should all know that at present the Guardian runs a semi-daily feature, a cartoon drawn by Steve Bell which depicts a universe in which Jeremy Corbyn is a Jedi knight named Jez-bi-Wan Kenobi who is constantly getting the better of evil Tories. McDonnell is Chewbacca and Watson is R2D2 – I could go on, but you get the gist. If any of you think I’m making this all up to be mean to the Guardian, just have a look at their website.
I mention this because Bell’s cartoon serial is the perfect illustration (see what I did there?) of the mindset of the Corbynista as things stand. To the rest of us, Corbyn’s opening few weeks as leader of the Labour Party have been a disaster – a gaffe filled meltdown which now increasingly threatens the very existence of the Labour Party the longer it continues. Depending on one’s political bent, this has been met with horror, or curiosity – if you’re a Tory, glee. However, as Bell’s cartoon demonstrates, the Corbynista doesn’t think Jeremy is doing badly because he is being undermined by a vicious PLP (although they try, the bastards!) or a right-wing press (although they are doing their worst, the swine!) – they think Corbyn is genuinely doing a brilliant job. He is hitting it for six every opportunity, convincing the British public he’s their saviour – the revolution is on, man!
Some of my Labour friends have likened the Corbyn delusion to the denial of reality Lib Dems experienced during the coalition; how we all convinced ourselves that everything would come good with the electorate in the end. But those of us who were Clegg supporters were never in any denial that Nick was unpopular, or that things like the tuition fees U-turn were anything other than fiascos. We just thought that the electorate would be forgiving enough in the end to prevent total meltdown; to preserve enough Lib Dem seats to keep the party in contention in another hung parliament. That is a very different thing to us thinking Clegg was going to be prime minister after the 2015 general election or that some sort of Lib Dem inspired revolution was in the air.
Whatever you think of Corbyn’s politics, it takes a great deal of giving one’s self to an eidolon to figure that Jeremy is doing even kind of okay – much less that he resembles a Jedi. The Corbynistas would probably do better to admit to themselves that he’s made a hash of it thus far and try and figure a way to redeem the project of taking the party to the left some other way. They should learn the lessons of Tony Blair, their movement’s hate figure: whatever the merits of a political cause, it can be permanently undermined if the chap leading the way makes it look foolish or even morally incorrect through his own personal failings.