Yeah, so I called the Labour leadership wrong. But not as badly as Labour did.

by Stephen Tall on September 13, 2015

So I was wrong. Again.* The massed ranks of Jezzabelles and Jezzabeaux have propelled their Bennite throwback to the top of their party.

My wrongness, and the wrongness of others like me who failed to predict JC’s second coming, has prompted some to argue the Westminster commentariat needs to reflect on their detachment. I/they just don’t get it, apparently.

Which seems to me a category error. It is the Labour selectorate which don’t get it.

Jeremy Corbyn will be an electoral disaster. Not because the Evil Tories will ‘try to define him’ negatively. Nor because the Right-Wing Press will ‘smear’ him by reminding people of the extreme things he’s said and done over his three decades on the hard-left front-line politics. Though that will all happen.

What will sink the Labour party is simpler: they’ve given an overwhelming mandate to a guy whose policies are flawed and appeal is limited. The public will notice that and judge them harshly, but fairly, for choosing the candidate who, as Philip Collins puts it, “offers briefly a holiday from difficulty”.

Labour now faces a perfect storm. Assuming the Conservatives push through their trade union reforms restricting the amount of cash Len McCluskey & Co can pour into Labour, and push through constituency boundary reforms which knock another two dozen seats off Labour’s current total, Labour would be facing the prospect of being reduced below 200 seats.

It would have been a tough job even if Labour had made the sane decision and elected Yvette Cooper. Now they’ve consciously done the insane thing, Corbyn’s party (two words I never thought would be in conjunction) may be doing well to muster even 160 seats, perhaps fewer. If that happens it could take to the 2035 election for Labour to stand a chance of catching the Tories up again.

Speculation? Yes. Far-fetched? No.

Labour has only itself to blame. They’ve done it to themselves, and that’s what will really hurt them. Worse, it’ll hurt the voters they claim to care about but who they’ve now deserted for the self-indulgence of ranty oppositional sloganeering usually confined to Comment is Free.

The tragedy – at least as far as my tribe is concerned – is that we’re not in a strong enough position to capitalise on Labour’s hara-kiri. The country desperately needs a progressive, moderate, mainstream party now. The Lib Dems can be that party. The question is, who’s listening?

* I reckoned the Lib Dems would win 32 seats in May; and reckoned the SNP wouldn’t get to 50. On the credit side, I did predict the Tories would beat Labour, that Cameron would remain PM and that Ukip would likely win just one or two seats.

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One comment

“Corbyn’s party (two words I never thought would be in conjunction) may be doing well to muster even 160 seats, perhaps fewer.”

Words are cheap. Would you care to back that up in some way? Some kind of forfeit if it doesn’t happen, for example? 🙂

by Chris on September 14, 2015 at 8:58 am. Reply #

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