Thursday, 23 July 2015

Will Labour really choose Corbyn as leader?

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour’s members and supporters won’t do it, will they?  Are they really poised to lumber the party with “veteran left winger”, Jeremy Corbyn, as leader?  Everyone from Tony Blair to Polly Toynbee seems to agree that he would be a disastrous choice.

A YouGov poll this week suggested that Corbyn has a substantial lead in Labour’s leadership race.  However, tellingly, the bookmakers still think that Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper will win the contest.

Grassroots members and activists in every political party can be tempted to assert what they regard as “traditional values”, when times are bad.  In other words, to swing left, in the case of the Labour Party, or right, for Conservatives. 

Modern UK elections, though, are decided by a mass of people in the ‘middle ground’, who are nervous of any perceived excess.  They’re not caught up daily in every nuance of ongoing political debate, they don’t experiment with extreme ideologies and they almost always entrust the nation’s governance to someone they think will do the job competently.

Britain is not Greece, or Italy or even France.  There might be growing left wing militancy, but it remains the preserve of a noisy fringe.

If Jeremy Corbyn is elected, the people with most to celebrate will be Conservatives.  You’d suspect that the members and registered supporters who are entitled to vote in Labour's leadership battle will grasp this before the ballot closes in September.     


Anonymous said...

The Conservatives had better hope they don't elect Corbyn. They need a strong opposition or the other minority parties will start to gain favour and some of them are much closer to the centre and 'working class' than a left wing Labour Party.

A left of centre party linked to the unions led by one of the other candidates, probably Burnham, is the best bet.

Strategist said...

What is Burnham other than Ed Miliband with less brains and less appeal to the southern swing voter? (genuine question - willing to be persuaded)

Phil Larkin said...

Good to see you back in business Owen! We need this blog at the present time. I've just written a piece about the Labour Leadership contest and put it up on facebook, which I believe would be a good companion piece to this article.

Owen Polley said...

Thanks Phil. I've just read your piece and agree with it.