The Nuneaton hustings last night was a predictable disaster. Andy Burnham, the acknowledged front runner in the Labour leadership contest, told the assembled that “the party always comes first”. Liz Kendall was straight in with: “The country comes first”. If Burnham wins, Cameron has a stick to beat him with for the entirety of his leadership.
Sorry, enough about Andy – what about dear Jeremy? Burnham wanted him on the ticket as he wished to have someone to his his left who couldn’t win. But what if the old Trot somehow managed to pull it off? Anyone who pays three quid can become an “affiliate member” and vote in the leadership election. Could a bunch of Tories flood in and get Corbyn elected as a means of destroying the Labour Party?
It’s unlikely. But also, I have to wonder if I’m being too sniffy towards Jeremy. Would he really be all that bad as Labour leader?
September 12, 2015. Jeremy Corbyn narrowly beats Andy Burnham to become Miliband’s successor. The political commentariat flips out. Labour are predicted to lose as many as 100 seats in the 2020 election, not just by the Telegraph and the Mail, but the Guardian as well. The end of the Labour Party is predicted far and wide.
But then Corbyn does some press and television interviews. He comes across as empassioned and genuine – someone who speaks the long sought after (in Westminster anyhow) language of “human”.
Labour’s poll ratings go up. The ranks of the Green Party are decimated, and the left of the Lib Dems too, as they all flock to be part of the Corbyn revolution. Russell Brand re-emerges to say how great it is that there’s finally a mainstream politician he can be unequivocally in favour of. Owen Jones will be smug, talking endlessly about how no one thought a truly socialist Labour leader could become prime minister, and yet here’s a guy speaking on an unashamedly left wing banner, riding high in the polls.
Then, slowly but surely, it will all start to go pear shaped. A year out from the general election, Labour’s poll ratings nosedive. The old New Labour praetorian guard are on TV every five seconds, talking about how Corbyn is leading the party to ruin. Jeremy responds by going even further to the left, promising to nationalise all kebab shops.
Leadership coups are rumoured; a few times it feels like it might actually happen, but as always with Labour, not enough of the front bench have the guts to stick in the knife. Jeremy will do all right, they say to themselves. Remember Corbyn-mania? How bad could it be?
Election Day, 2020. The Tories emerge with 430 seats. Labour lose 118. And after all that, the party still can’t agree on why the election was lost or even how bad the scale of the loss actually was (very clear to all those outside of it). Jeremy was knifed in the back by the Blairites, that’s why he lost. Let’s go even further to the left this time. 118 seats is a minor setback – a flesh wound. We’re all right, we’re all right.
It’s a good thing none of this will actually happen, isn’t it?
You thought you might have been being a bit sniffy to Jeremy Corbyn before…
David Dalley says
In his defence… Corbyn is pretty unflappable. He gives calm and measured responses. He’s clever, he’s different (important that one) and he doesn’t rant or bluster. He gives a voice to a left leaning swathe of voters who for years have felt abandoned and unrepresented. What’s not to like?
Unflappable? Did you see the Channel 4 News interview and The Sunday Politics when Andrew Neil slapped him down for becoming irascible. He shows a streak of intolerance that makes me shudder. He reminds me of purist Robespierre, who loved mankind but despised human beings.
Daniel Sutton says
Not one commentary has actually mentioned that the Tory party did not increase their share of the vote in 2015. It hardly looks like a recipe for over whelming victory in 2020. I think the way Labour has been out flanked on the left in Scotland (by retoric) should have alarm bells sounding off everywhere in the UK but it hasn’t
Les Henderson says
Nice bit of fiction Nick,but Corbyn for leader sounds good to me
He does sound good. Only the elite can bring him down which they will try i believe.
Another piece of condescending nonsense about Jeremy Corbyn and the Left in general. I’ve recently joined the Labour party and like so many others I know, will be voting Corbyn for leader. As previous posters have noted he is passionate, genuine, humane and above all speaks out against the unacceptable inequalities in our society, exacerbated by this nasty government and the coalition before it. I very much hope he goes all the way and proves this “article” to be the smug piffle it actually is.
The crucial thing with Jeremy Corbyn is that he comes across as actually believing the things he says. The last national politician you could say that of was Margaret Thatcher. Even those of us who detest her recognise that. And that matters. It even works for voters who don’t necessarily agree with those things, as was in fact the case with Margaret Thatcher.
The attempt to paint Jeremy Corbyn as an extremist is liable to unravel. Too many of the things he is calling for that are called extreme are in fact seen by most people as sensible, such as bringing the railways back into public ownership, or genuinely stopping tax theft by big companies.
There are five years till the next election, plenty of time for the Tory government to dig its grave, and with every headline that seems set to happen.
Last time Labour had a bearded leader was Keir Hardie. Way to go…
My prbeolm was a wall until I read this, then I smashed it.
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