Politics

The Tories can only benefit from the rise and rise of Jeremy Corbyn

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

18 July 2015

9:00 AM

It wasn’t meant to work out this way. A month ago, Westminster watched to see if Jeremy Corbyn could get the support of the 35 MPs he needed to enter the Labour leadership race. At the time, it seemed a sort of joke. After all, the people who were lending him their backing weren’t doing so for any great love of Corbyn. As a rule, they either wanted a ‘broad debate’ or thought that the ritual slaughter of the left-wing candidate would make it easier for the new leader to move the party to the centre.

A month on, things look very different. Corbyn now has the endorsement of Unite, the most powerful union in the country, and several others. He has the second highest number of constituency Labour party nominations, his campaign is churning out impressive-looking literature, and sober-minded Labour insiders keep revising upwards how well they think Corbyn will do. Most worryingly for those who want a Labour party that can win elections, Corbyn is dragging the race to the left. One shadow cabinet member laments, ‘It is the Death Star. It is dragging Andy and Yvette in.’ This frontbencher adds, more in anger than sorrow: ‘I feel for them. They’ve got to think about second preferences.’

So a candidate everyone assumed would show the limited appeal of hard-left positions within the Labour party appears to be showing the exact opposite. At the hustings and in televised debates, Corbyn is getting more than his fair share of applause. Meanwhile, Liz Kendall — the soi-disant Blairite candidate — is having to defend herself against the charge that she’s a Tory.

Some could see this coming. When I bumped into one shadow cabinet member on the reformist wing of the Labour party just moments after Corbyn had made the ballot, he was almost speechless with rage. After shaking his head vigorously, he said: ‘We’re in real fuckeroo territory now’, before stalking off still shaking his head.

This anger is understandable. Corbyn is a throwback to the hard-left Labour politics of the 1980s: he is far closer to Tony Benn than Tony Blair. He refuses to say what the limit should be on the top rate of tax and is prepared to talk about Hamas as his ‘friends’. A Labour party led by Corbyn would end in a defeat that would make Michael Foot’s loss in 1983 look modest.


There is, though, one consolation for Labour MPs: no one knows how real this Corbyn surge actually is. This leadership contest is taking place under new rules and with a new electorate, so it is hard to be sure how things are going to turn out. No pollster is confident of calling the race. One senior Labour figure wonders if the Corbyn bandwagon is just part of the distortion effect of social media. ‘Is it just the kind of Twitter thing that would have made you think that Labour was going to win the election?’

There are good grounds to think that Corbyn’s success is more than a 140-character phenomenon, though. Rival campaigns claim that their canvassing has him doing well, noticeably better than Liz Kendall. Now there is an element of gamesmanship in these remarks — both the Burnham and Cooper camps want to do down Kendall. But combine this with the Unite endorsement and the audience reaction at the hustings, and it does seem that Corbyn’s reach extends beyond the digital world. One of those who has crunched the numbers asks, ‘Does Corbyn come third or second? That’s the question, unless something changes.’

One Labour insider is convinced that Harriet Harman’s recent troubles over welfare are a direct consequence of Corbyn’s success. This source says that Corbyn’s prominence in the debate has forced Burnham and Cooper to the left, making them break with Harman, who has said she agrees with the plan to limit child tax credits for new claimants. The Tories are delighted about this, gleefully pointing out that this measure is one of the most popular in the Budget.

But there is something deeper going on here. Labour has become a party that is happy to talk to itself, not the country. When Burnham turned up to Gay Pride, he did so wearing a T-shirt boasting, ‘Never kissed a Tory’. It was a small thing, but a revealing one. It showed a man who’d rather revel in self-righteousness than look for converts.

By contrast, the Tories are trying to win over new voters. They have moved to the political centre, as the announcement of the national living wage made clear, and this week David Cameron announced a campaign to close the gender pay gap. The Tory plan is clear: occupy the centre ground and force Labour to the political extremes.

Labour have spent so long trying to portray George Osborne as an ideologue on the deficit that they have missed the fact that he is a deeply pragmatic politician. By again extending the period over which the books will be balanced, Osborne has softened the impact of the cuts. The Budget will still be in surplus by the time of the next election, ensuring the Tories can claim that any Labour commitment to spend more will tip the country back into the red.

But there is a spectre haunting the Tory party: Europe. To usher in a new era of Tory majority politics, the party first has to get through the EU referendum without ripping itself apart. At the moment, things do not appear promising on that front. The deal that Cameron is currently seeking would not be sufficient to prevent a Tory split on the issue. Boris Johnson is publicly flirting with voting Out, and the Out campaign is preparing to start recruiting Tory activists to the cause.

Another worry for the Tory leadership is that because of boundary changes and a reduction in the number of parliamentary seats, many Tory MPs will have to compete for re-selection. Many might imagine that the most effective way to boost their chance of being chosen by a local association is to campaign for Out.

Yet Cameron and Osborne’s hope must be that the prospect of another Conservative majority government is enough to contain the coming row over Europe. With Labour moving left, the next election looks like being the Tories’ to lose.

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Show comments
  • TruthBeatsLies

    Whereas, ‘the people’ can only benefit from the rise and rise of Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn, in coalition with the SNP led by Mhairy Black and Nicola Sturgeon…!!!

  • Fairly Educated Scot

    The (tax exile) Barclay brothers must be getting really pretty worried that Corbyn might be an actual centre-left Labour leader judging by the co-ordinated snearing attacks by their media empire over the last few days. What was it Ghandi said, “first they laugh at you…”

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Correct. Corbyn has the Tory establishment rattled. He is the clearest indication that Labour and its activists are going back to their roots. Time to dump the Try-lite Nulabour nonsense, time to appeal to people as a stark contrast to the toffs not a pale shadow of them.
      Seven articles on the speccie website just about Corbyn, seeking to reassure Tories it will be okay. It won’t . Corbyn represents the future alliance against the Tories and their rich backers.

      • Peter Stroud

        “Tory establishment worried”? So why are thousands of Tory supporters paying £3 to join Labour? To vote for Corbyn: unfortunately Labour has twigged it and is furiously spending time attempting to find those who are genuine, and those Tories who are voting for JC.

        • Y Ddraig Goch

          I’m not suprised that Tories abhore Corbyn’s politics. The only problem here is that Tories make up a mere 24% of the British electorate.

          • blandings

            “The only problem here is that Tories make up a mere 24% of the British electorate.”
            And the labour Party even less

          • Y Ddraig Goch

            THE POINT WASN’T THAT LABOUR SHOULD TRY TO WIN BY TARGETTING THE 24% OF THE ELECTORE WHO VOTED TORY, BUT THE 76% WHO DIDN’T.

          • blandings

            The Tories are having more success targeting the MORE THAN 76% who didn’t vote for the pathetic remnants of what used to be the Labour Party

          • Y Ddraig Goch

            WOOPIE! YOU WON A 4 SEAT MAJORITY. IT’S A PATHETIC SIGHT THAT TORIES ARE SWOONING OVER HAVING MADE IT 4 SEATS OVER THE LINE.

          • blandings

            I have never voted tory so I haven’t won anything
            Woopie.

          • Y Ddraig Goch

            LOL, I’M SURE YOU HAVEN.T I’M SURE YOU HAVEN’T.

          • blandings

            Ex Labour.

          • blandings

            I forgot to mention:
            You’re a d!ckhead.
            LOL

          • Y Ddraig Goch

            OKAY, TORY BOY. OKAY, TORY BOY.

          • blandings

            ??
            You’re a retard aren’t you?
            Enjoy what passes for your life.
            Goodbye.

          • Y Ddraig Goch

            AND YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR LIFE PRETENDING NOT TO BE A TORY VOTER.

          • blandings

            UKIP now
            Ex -Labour
            The Labour Party is dying.

        • GraveDave

          unfortunately Labour has twigged it and is furiously spending time attempting to find those who are genuine,

          I doubt it.

          • Bertie

            How do you explain

            “You will also need to cleanse your social media of any other party
            affiliation, and brush up on your Labour knowledge as some
            applicants could be subjected to a short phone interview.
            If you fail the test, your voting rights will disappear and the party
            will keep the mandatory £3 donation to the Labour Party, by way of an’
            administrative fee’”

            then? Surely if you join,pay your membership fee, you should be able to vote? If you are not allowed to vote, you should get your membership fee back…to be told you can vote,and we’ll keep your money is tantamount to fraud.

  • Matthew Stevens

    On the face of it, electing this prototypical hardcore-leftist lunatic appears to be electoral suicide, but if you glance over the political landscape and put yourself in the shoes of a loyal Labour supporter, you can see why they’re making such a despairing last throw of the dice.

    This is a Labour party quickly dissolving into complete irrelevance in the modern political landscape.

    Harriet Harman may have attracted a great deal of criticism from those within her own party for failing to oppose much of the new Tory policy, but as has been rightly pointed out, she does seem to be one of the few of their MPs who has taken on board the scale of their defeat, and understands that the Labour party has a long way to go if it ever wants to even attempt to hold an intelligent conversation with the electorate ever again.

    However, for a lot of Labour’s core support, the idea of responding to the will of the people, rather than insistently dictating to it through their warped prism of ‘equality’ and political correctness, is just so antithetical to their socialist, ‘vanguard-stage’ ideals that they just can’t stomach it.

    Add to that the fact that many of them seem to have resigned themselves to defeat on the battlefield of sensible, pragmatic politics and are now completely reliant on uniting their Green Party and UKIP defectors with a combination of good old Tory-bashing coupled with the far more crude attempts to buy votes from Blair’s half-finished client state and you start to wonder what the point of appointing a suit like Burnham would do to improve their situation.

    I’m afraid, that is likely the future that the Labour party has; desperately drawing upon the votes of welfare recipients, thug trade-unionists, recent immigrants, aging, sheltered academics and ideological lefties whilst attempting to surreptitiously work their political will over the BBC and left-wing media whilst doing what they can to pursue more wacky, desperate policies like lowering the voting age and doing what they can to further infuse us with the EU.

    Given all that, plumping for someone as batsh*t bonkers as Corbyn actually makes a perverse degree of sense!

    Its easy to laugh, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

    • JM

      Hopefully the lack of a nationalist angle means that they won’t be able to replicate the SNP’s ability to win votes.

    • Frederick Robinson

      Compare this with the (much-divided) Conservatives’ 12-seat landslide….

    • Matt

      Utter crap. If you think that living standards are high enough, that no-one is in poverty and that we’re reaching the sunlit uplands of prosperity for all then you may think Labour are irrelevant. But because I know that none of these things are true then Labour can make the Tories irrelevant by highlighting the failure of neo-liberal economics.

      And were is this left-wing media you describe? I’ve never seen it.

      Labour didn’t lose because of their policies. They all polled well in focus groups. It was because they had a poor leader who had to rely on focus groups to tell him what to think in the first place. Corbyn would be a hit with the public.

      • BetrayedRosse

        I wouldn’t vote for the bearded prick. “Moderate” Muslims might (ie the ones who don’t rage in the streets but support Hamas and their policy to wipe Jews off the face of the Earth) but I won’t.

    • GraveDave

      ‘m afraid, that is likely the future that the Labour party has; desperately drawing upon the votes of welfare recipients,

      Like the ‘hordes of Muslim Labour voters’ this is another right wing myth.
      Most of the underclasses aren’t even registered to vote, and if even they were it’s far more likely they would vote for an anti immigrant or far right party such as UKIP or the BNP.

    • ‘ere we go

      The majority of voters who supported Labour in the general election were reported to be the under 25’s. Not “thug trade-unionists, recent immigrants, aging, sheltered academics and ideological lefties”. And If they were “welfare recipients” maybe they could not get jobs?
      We are all ageing of course. Hopefully we grow wiser, and maybe even hang on to a few ideals.

  • Billo Qasira

    A Corbyn victory will kill the Labour Party. It will be dead. At the next election it would suffer the same fate in large parts of England that it suffered in Scotland. Labour would probably split in half. Islamists would be emboldened, but it would draw a line in the sand. The English voters would euthanise Labour.
    However even if he doesn’t win, the strength of the Left now they have tasted blood will put people off Labour no matter if a centrist / pragmatist is elected. Either way Labour is in its death throes. The English will come to hate them. Labour will only be supported by the Guardian reading luvvie / public sector class, a few ancestral strongholds, and amongst Muslims in inner cities, who will increasingly call the shots because of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, one of the beasts that eventually killed the Labour Party. Rejoice!!

    • Matt

      What have the Tories done to roll back multiculturalism exactly? Immigration is higher than ever. Just because a Tory says something doesn’t make it true.

    • Y Ddraig Goch

      Labour lost 3 million votes from the 1997 election and the 2001 election. Anyone could have won the ’97 election. Tories were exhausted. Looking at the key points in the ’97 manifesto: a 10p rate of income tax for the low-paid, lower class sizes, a windfall tax on privatised utilities, a national minimum wage, a programme of social house-building, investment in renewable energy not nuclear power, a not-for-profit “people’s lottery”, the abolition of hereditary peers, a Freedom Of Information Act, an end to the internal market in the NHS, electoral reform to bring in proportional representation, a referendum on the Euro, and widespread devolution.

      There is no mention of the right wing policies that Blair implemented. It may be a safe conclusion that million of Labour voters were turned off voting Labour again, because the party was a little less left wing than advertised. By 2010, Labour had lost 4 million voters from ’97, leaving them massively
      lagging behind the Tories, in terms of vote share and seats won.

      Miliband, and his minute shift to the left, at least managed to prevent the rot of Labour’s vote share. In England and Wales, their vote share increased by 3.5%. This isn’t a brilliant result, but it’s not devastating. Only
      in Scotland did Labour lose more votes and that was to the more left wing anti-austerity quasi social democratic SNP.

      It’s pure nonsense that Labour can only win if they adopt Tory policies. Neil
      Kinnock’s Labour Party recieved more votes in 1992 than Tony Blair’s Labour Party revieved in 2001 and 2005.

      Corbyn’s politics, aside from the odd really stupid comment on Hamas or Hezbollah, are supported by the majority of the British public.

      He supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll.

      He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

      He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

      He believes the Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll. He supports rent controls, a position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.

      He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.

      He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.

      He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a
      position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014
      YouGov poll.

    • GraveDave

      Multiculturalism, one of the beasts that eventually killed the Labour Party. Rejoice!!

      And in time will kill all belief systems as we know it. Only some of you paying the left vs right game are too stupid to see you’re all part of the distraction.

    • ‘ere we go

      You may be right. Corbyn was virtually unknown to Labour voters, and would be a no hope leader in a General Election. Just as Ed Milliband and other far left leaders were. Kinnock for example. Labour will bounce back however with the right candidate, and I think that has to be one of the ladies. The Tories will have a real fight on their hands then, and the voters will have a real choice.

  • Frederick Robinson

    Is this a jeremiad; or a Jeremy ad?

  • Peter Stroud

    Corbyn is attracting the same very left wing voter as did Miliband. This lost Labour the election, if Corbyn becomes leader (still very unlikely) Labour will lose again in 2020. The moderates will be frightened to vote for real socialism.

    • Y Ddraig Goch

      Labour’s vote share increased by 1.5% under Miliband. Factoring out Scotland (the only place their vote share decreased), Labour’s vote share increased by 3.5%. The reason they lost in Scotland was because they did the Tories bidding, telling Scots that their coins would be meaningless and the pensions would disappear. It wasn’t because they were too left wing.

      • blandings

        Er yeah…..wotever

        • Y Ddraig Goch

          GO AWAY IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY REASONED ARGUMENT TO MAKE.

          • blandings

            You appear to be getting hysterical

      • Peter Stroud

        Overal share of the vote is of secondary importance, number of seats is what wins elections. Labour lost a shed load of seats. If Corbyn becomes leader, that shed will become an aircraft hanger!

        • Y Ddraig Goch

          LABOUR MADE A NET GAIN IN ENGLAND AND WALES OF 14 SEATS. THIS ISN’T VERY GOOD, BUT IT’S NOT DEVASTATING. ONLY IN SCOTLAND WERE SEATS LOST, WHICH WASN’T BECAUSE LABOUR WERE BEING TOO LEFT WING.

  • Spider’s Web

    The article above puts it succinctly: there is a self-righteousness about the Left that makes it insufferable sometimes. No real effort is made to reach out beyond their centre of gravity & grow the party in the “pragmatic centre.”
    Neither Messrs Blair nor Cameron have ever been the most popular in their time with their backbenchers, but they didn’t need to be because winning elections is about extending a hand to those not wedded to rigid dogmas: swing voters, the casually interested in politics. Why else did George Osborne pinch a few left-leaning ideas to abolish non-dom status and a living-wage? Pragmatism. Under Gordon Brown, then Ed Miliband, Labour were far too reticent to countenance a bid for coalition-building in order to secure their ideological moorings (at least, until it was too late!). By contrast, DC formed the first coalition for 70 years.

    I fear that little will change for Labour with either Mr. Burnham or Mrs. Cooper from Ed Miliband (same clique of the party that surrounded Gordon Brown for all those years, and Brown acolytes have shown themselves totally inept in elections), & Jeremy Corbyn is an alarming throwback to a time when Labour just could not win. He will scare as many people off as he attracts them! I think Labour will have to lose a few more times before it reckons with Ms. Kendall for leader…

    • Boulle

      Indeed. There will always be the purists who will not tolerate any political pragmatism but this approach will not win elections. If you look at what Blair did he was brilliant at winning elections by pitching as a centrist, but look at his record and he achieved many of the goals of the left. Unlimited immigration, massive increase in welfare dependency and expansion of the state, deficit spending since 2005, the weakening of the Union and the British Constitution, surrender to the IRA in all but name, the eroding of civil society, promotion of an extreme liberal social agenda and “minority” rights; I could go on. You have to wonder how the left don’t realise what a political genius Blair was. He gave them nearly all they could have wanted.

    • Y Ddraig Goch

      Labour lost 3 million votes from the 1997 election and the 2001 election. Anyone could have won the ’97 election. Tories were exhausted. Looking at the key points in the ’97 manifesto: a 10p rate of income tax for the low-paid, lower class sizes, a windfall tax on privatised utilities, a national minimum wage, a programme of social house-building, investment in renewable energy not nuclear power, a not-for-profit “people’s lottery”, the abolition of hereditary peers, a Freedom Of Information Act, an end to the internal market in the NHS, electoral reform to bring in proportional representation, a referendum on the Euro, and widespread devolution.

      There is no mention of the right wing policies that Blair implemented. It may be a safe conclusion that million of Labour voters were turned off voting Labour again, because the party was a little less left wing than advertised. By 2010, Labour had lost 4 million voters from ’97, leaving them massively
      lagging behind the Tories, in terms of vote share and seats won.

      Miliband, and his minute shift to the left, at least managed to prevent the rot of Labour’s vote share. In England and Wales, their vote share increased by 3.5%. This isn’t a brilliant result, but it’s not devastating. Only
      in Scotland did Labour lose more votes and that was to the more left wing anti-austerity quasi social democratic SNP.

      It’s pure nonsense that Labour can only win if they adopt Tory policies. Neil
      Kinnock’s Labour Party recieved more votes in 1992 than Tony Blair’s
      Labour Party revieved in 2001 and 2005.

      Corbyn’s politics, aside from the odd really stupid comment on Hamas or Hezbollah, are supported by the majority of the British public.

      He supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll.

      He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

      He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position
      supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

      He believes the Royal Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll. He supports rent controls, a position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.

      He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.

      He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.

      He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a
      position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014
      YouGov poll.

      • Spider’s Web

        Thanks for your post! 🙂
        Labour seems so stung by a defeat and reversal of its fortunes that it’s seeking to retrench and double-down. Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn can do much better than anticipated, get elected & prove the doubting-Thomases (including me!) wrong and I will be first in line for a helping of humble pie. However I fear the worst. Labour are besieged right now across the country and they need to find a way to expand. I’m not sure JC is a way to do that, however decent a chap he is. :-/

  • Boulle

    It’s a funny situation compared to the predictions before the election. The British left has splintered and there is now a rump of a divided Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the SNP with no clear opposition movement. Increasingly UKIP are moving to the economic left as they realise that their best chance of a breakthrough is against Labour, not the Conservatives. So that leaves the Conservatives, despite a tiny majority and vote share still under 40% as being in pole position to dominate politics for many years. The Conservatives can now legitimately become a broad party stretching from the political centre to the right and at the next election could even increase their majority, which would be unheard of. There’s clearly a long way to go but the Conservative leadership must make sure they take this opportunity. It is possible to satisfy all wings of the party and that is what must be done.

  • Matt

    He dealt with the issue of Hamas being his “friends” in the interview above and he gave a far clearer position on the top rate of tax than almost any other politician. What’s your problem? Stop trying to assume that someone who wants a better life for the ordinary person of this country can not win an election. He would have 5 years to make his case and I’m sure he would be a surprise hit with the general public.

    • Ordinary Man

      Just because he doesn’t actually dribble during interviews doesn’t mean that he’s not a fanatic and extremist. Sometimes organisation get to the point where they just don’t seem able to stop themselves from doing self-destructive things. There will always be people like Matt here who struggle to understand how unappealing and unrealistic their own views are but usually they’re the people lying about crowd numbers in demonstrations and handing out angry and badly written literature in front of WH Smith on a Saturday morning

      • Matt

        It’s nice of you to discuss policies instead of trading insults. Just as I thought, right wing politics is stupid politics for stupid people who win elections by getting stupid people to vote for them.

    • blandings

      “He dealt with the issue of Hamas being his “friends” in the interview above”
      No he didn’t, he’s just a middle phoney radical in a phoney cap.

  • Y Ddraig Goch

    Labour lost 3 million votes from the 1997 election and the 2001 election. Anyone could have won the ’97 election. Tories were exhausted. Looking at the key points in the ’97 manifesto: a 10p rate of income tax for the low-paid, lower class sizes, a windfall tax on privatised utilities, a national minimum wage, a programme of social
    house-building, investment in renewable energy not nuclear power, a not-for-profit “people’s lottery”, the abolition of hereditary peers, a Freedom Of Information Act, an end to the internal market in the NHS, electoral reform to bring in proportional representation, a referendum on the Euro, and widespread devolution.

    There is no mention of the right wing policies that Blair implemented. It may be a safe conclusion that million of Labour voters were turned off voting Labour again,
    because the party was a little less left wing than advertised. By 2010, Labour had lost 4 million voters from ’97, leaving them massively lagging behind the Tories, in terms of vote share and seats won.

    Miliband, and his minute shift to the left, at least managed to prevent the rot of Labour’s vote share. In England and Wales, their vote share increased by 3.5%. This isn’t a brilliant result, but it’s not devastating. Only in Scotland did Labour lose more votes and that was to the more left wing anti-austerity quasi social democratic SNP.

    It’s pure nonsense that Labour can only win if they adopt Tory policies. Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party recieved more votes in 1992 than Tony Blair’s Labour Party revieved in 2001 and 2005.

    Corbyn’s politics, aside from the odd really stupid comment on Hamas or Hezbollah, are supported by the majority of the British public.

    He supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll.

    He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

    He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.

    He believes the Royal Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll. He supports rent controls, a
    position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.

    He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.

    He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more
    than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.

    He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a
    position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014 YouGov poll.

  • Caractacus

    Guardian hosting a major interview with Len McCluskey, portraying him as some kind of working class hero, instead of someone who nearly lost thousands of workers their jobs at Grangemouth, breaking the law while doing so, backing a union member who had broken their contract in order to spend time buying an MP, someone who has bought nearly, if not more than, a quarter of the MPs at Westminster, someone who has declared to commit illegal acts in order to bring down a democratically elected Government, someone who rakes in more than the PM while proclaiming himself for the workers.

    The Left are sh*ts. All of them, evil, anti democratic, communist sh*ts. Right now we really need our version of Joe McCarthy.

  • I think Cameron could be the anti-Thatcher. And in the end, he may well be done in by anti-EU Tories. Thus would balance be restored

  • Ken

    I wonder how many people will stump up a few quid to join the Labour Party just to vote for Corbyn and keep the Tories in.

  • Ivan Ewan

    Too much complacency. It’s not as if the Democrat Party’s massive leftward shift really damaged its electoral chances.

  • BoiledCabbage

    If we get global deflation / another recession in the next 5 years, that will impoverish a lot of people, and the Left will benefit. Careful what you wish for with Corbyn, he could become a firebrand, but he will be 71 in 2020.

    • Sten vs Bren

      Seventy-one, eh? Tsk!

      Sorry, what happens at seventy-one? Does his head fall off?

  • BaraccoBarner

    “A Labour party led by Corbyn would end in a defeat that would make Michael Foot’s loss in 1983 look modest.”

    I have no time for Mr. Corbyn’s views but this assessment is lacking if it reaches this conclusion. Whilst I disagree with Mr. Corbyn’s views he comes across as articulate, a man of substance and someone who is prepared to stand on his principles. This makes him more attractive in comparison with the other contenders who come across as opportunistic, self seeking and unprincipled. Mr. Corbyn is genuine whereas the others come across as false. The ‘electorate’ see through that and I think this explains a lot of his appeal.

  • MrFGordon

    He answers difficult questions by reiterating his ideological position. That’s what his purpose is, to drag the Overton Window leftwards, selling high to reach a reduced settlement: a new centre left platform for the labour party post 2020.

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