[Wrote this yesterday but then wasn’t going to post as Ian Clark wrote a piece that summed up much of my thinking and was better worded, but then thought, I’ve written it, why not just post it]
The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2015
Yes. In case you missed the news Jeremy Corbyn is the new Leader of The Labour Party. As you can see the news that “veteran left winger” Corbyn had basically kicked the arse of the three other candidates for labour leader had resulted in this calm, balanced and measured tweet from our PM. Yep, forget cistISIS, it’s Jezza and the Labour Party you need to worry about. Whatever you do don’t answer the door to them. If you do they will put your family to death #fact [either that or that’s complete and utter bollocks]
I didn’t vote in the labour leadership contest. I’m not a member of the party and didn’t do the £3 registration to let me vote. Corbyn would not have been my choice to lead the party. But, that was actually one of my reasons for not registering. Given the options and the policies and views expressed by the four candidates, I would have found it hard to pick anyone. It seems a lot of people felt the same. It was, of course, the reason why people fought to get Corbyn on the ballot because they feared otherwise you’d have three candidates all saying slight different versions of the same thing. He got on, and yet they still did.
Corbyn took hold of the campaign early on – by a sneaky tactic: actually expressing opinions about stuff: saying what he thought, without running it by a committee of 30 people checking every syllable of every word to make it as bland, soulless and lifeless as possible. Burnham, Cooper and Kendall in response said nothing; no, this is not true, but it might as well be, as very quickly their combined campaigns became more focused on ‘anyone by Jeremy’ and less about why anyone should actually vote for them instead. Corbyn set the agenda.
To be fair to Kendall and Cooper, when they could break out of their own ‘we need to talk about Jeremy’ shackles they tried to set out what they might do as leader, even if this fell on mostly deaf ears outside the parliamentary Labour Party. Burnham meanwhile seeing a bandwagon jumped on and quickly started selling himself as the Corbyn Lite option. He came second. I think he has shown himself to be willing to do anything to win. Some might find this admirable. I find it shallow. I’m glad he’s not leader.
So, back to Corbyn. Is western civilisation as we know it know in immediate peril? Should we be stocking our cellars or cupboards with supplies for the apocalypse? Seriously you’d think so if you read our papers today or glanced at twitter, and to be fair to the PM, most of this scaremongering tosh is coming from inside the Labour party not outside. As the old saying goes, with friends like these who needs enemies.
Is it likely that Corbyn and Labour will win the next General election? Probably not. Then again, a few month ago it wasn’t exactly likely that he’d be elected leader, and outright on first ballot at that too, either was it. Unlikely doesn’t mean impossible.
But, here’s an idea. How about all the people that “know better” in the Labour party just shut the fuck up for a few months and see how the man does. Why not respect the outcome of a vote where he poled over 50%.
Yes some prominent members have said they just don’t have enough in common with Corbyn to have served in his cabinet. It some ways this is fair enough – if clearly a calculated move. Others are more transparent and have clearly skulked off in the hope that ‘when’ (because they see no other outcome) he fails they can say proudly that they are not tarnished, they didn’t get involved. This is what I call the no I in team brigade. Those who are in the party but are not really going to try and contribute whilst Corbyn is Leader.
The Party’s membership grew by 14,500 in under 24 hours after the announcement of Corbyn’s victory. I’m sure not all these were pro-Corbyn, but in an age where people have stopped joining political parties, this is impressive. Maybe all these folks would have joined if Cooper, Burnham or Kendall had won too – who knows. I doubt it, but we’ll never know. But they have joined. In most organisations a headline “almost 15,000 new members sign up in a day as new leader appointed’ would be a celebratory event. You’d be saying incredible. It is and people should say so. You may not understand it but it doesn’t stop it being impressive.
A Corbyn Labour party may well turn out to be a unmitigated disaster, but it might not. The odd thing is it seems to me that there are an awful lot within as well as outside of the Labour party who seem more afraid of this outcome than of the more popular ‘we all doomed Capt Mainwaring’ scenario.