A Corbyn landslide looks increasingly likely; you’d get excellent odds on either Burnham or Cooper winning the leadership election now. There are several compelling reasons as to why JC would not be the Messiah; a previous piece outlined the unlikelihood of the Corbyn bandwagon being able to win back Tory, Lib Dem, or UKIP votes. The positioning of Labour to the Left of all these parties could mean possible electoral annihilation. So let’s look at two salient practical reasons why Jeremy Corbyn will not be a representative leader of one of the World’s great political parties.
The first and main reason to question the legitimacy of a Corbyn win is to look at who voted for him. The ‘wheeze’ of allowing associate members to sign up for a few pounds was an enormous mistake. There’s up to tens of thousands of voters who have never knocked on a door for the party, delivered a leaflet for their local councillor or attended a local branch meeting. These things matter in politics as ordinary membership is the lifeblood of any political party. Clictivism isn’t real activism; the Corbyn ‘madness’, for that’s a valid word to call what’s going on, will not get the Tories out of Office. A reversion to pre-Militant politics of the 1980s will not win the Tory Heartlands of Southern England or even the Midlands. The legitimacy issue is a real one; Labour party officials have, rightly in the opinion of this writer, disallowed the votes of entryist Trots and their fellow travelers. There’s even Conservatives queuing up to vote. When the landslide happens, you have to ask yourself how many of the actual party stalwarts voted for a man they surely know will be an electoral disaster. Just as the Conservatives took four goes post -Thatcher at getting an electable figurehead, these young, new voters may rue the day when their enthusiasm led them to vote with their hearts not their heads. Politics needs the young for their energy, commitment and new ideas. Labour, however, can not claim to have a true representative of the soul of the party in charge if Corbyn wins as expected.
The second reason why a Jeremy Corbyn win would be a disaster is the lack of support he has from his own MP’s. Quite rightly, many are already turning around and asking why they should possibly support a man who has been a chronic rebel against his own party leadership since his 1983 election. JC is not a natural leader either; how he will manage to steer a group of ambitious and politically savvy Social Democrats under the flag of an unapologetically, unreconstructed, Hard Left regime is an open question. There’s already plans afoot for a group of MP’s dubbed ‘The Resistance’ to meet before the leadership result is announced. There is no appetite from the vast majority of reasonably minded MP’s for a rejected philosophy from 30 years ago, one that ignores Neil Kinnock and John Smith and pretends Tony Blair never happened. Put simply, Corbyn will struggle to command the support of anything but a small minority of the PLP. In football terms, he has already lost the dressing room and will struggle to assert any form of authority with the majority. He lacks credibility as a figure that has always shied away from the responsibility of power and compromise. This may be a caricature of the man, but this is a view that most of the current crop of Labour MP’s who will find their new boss extremely difficult to work with and will see him as a cuckoo in the nest .
While fully expecting to be able to say ‘I told you so’ in the not too distant future, it is important for the Left that Corbyn isn’t the disaster many of us foresee him being. There is a chance he can move the political compass to the Left. This would be welcome in itself. But Labour can not afford to keep the Tories in power for another five years, let alone ten, which is unfortunately the probablilty if there is a Corbyn win. Nobody on the Left wants to see Corbyn bring down the Labour Party but if he is going to crash and burn, let it be quick and let it leave a once great party a chance of competing at the next election.