Features

Labour always lurches left when it loses. But this time is worse

15 August 2015

9:00 AM

15 August 2015

9:00 AM

It appeared the ultimate summer ‘silly season’ story: that Labour would choose an unrepentant, self-consciously unspun bearded leftie as its leader. But, as ballot papers for the leadership election are dispatched, the story is threatening to close with a nightmare final chapter for the party. This week the pollsters YouGov had Corbyn 20 points ahead of Andy Burnham, his closest rival, and in a position to win the contest in its first round. Labour thus faces the prospect of a defeat in 2020 that could make Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 landslide look small-scale.

But while Corbyn’s rise may not have been predicted, it was eminently predictable. Labour has consistent form when it comes to such self-harming behaviour: after it lost power in 1951, 1970 and 1979, the party engaged in vicious internal warfare and then moved sharply to the left.

In each of these fights, the left has trotted out its hackneyed narrative about the ‘great betrayal’ supposedly committed during Labour’s time in office. In the 1970s and 1980s, Tony Benn led the denunciations of the governments of which he had been a member. After 2010, the condemnation of New Labour’s record was given added legitimacy thanks to its source: the former Treasury special adviser, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and by now leader of the Labour party, Ed Miliband.

Miliband not only provided the intellectual groundwork for the Corbyn insurrection, he also, albeit unwittingly, provided the organisational opening. Desperate to placate the increasingly truculent unions that had helped elect their boss, Miliband’s team, says one observer, ‘gave a free rein and turned a blind eye’ as the unions tried to squeeze their favoured candidates into parliamentary seats.


This had two results. First, the unions managed to ensure left-wing loyalists were picked in a swath of constituencies so safe that not even Miliband could lose them. MPs elected for the first time in May figure disproportionately among those who nominated Corbyn.

Second, in the wake of revelations in 2013 about an alleged union stitch-up in the Scottish seat of Falkirk, Miliband sought to change the party’s rules for electing its leader. His aim was to give the appearance of reducing the unions’ influence but to do so in a way that their bosses would go along with.

This is not a system designed to encourage the kind of mass participation seen in US primary elections. Instead, the compromise Miliband forged — abolishing the old electoral college in which the unions held a third of the votes, but allowing party ‘supporters’ to register for £3 and union members to do so for free — flung Labour’s doors wide open to Corbyn’s growing army of hard-left activists and starry-eyed youthful idealists. The parliamentary party, which under the electoral college system controlled a third of the votes and used them to keep such barbarians outside Labour’s gates, is now reduced to a bystander.

The left’s strength has been augmented in the leadership contest by the support Corbyn is generating from far-left campaign groups such as the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and the Stop the War co-alition, as well as the efforts of Len McCluskey’s Unite union to encourage its members to support him. Many terrified Labour MPs fear the impact could be as politically catastrophic as the Militant entryism of the 1980s. Of the 190,000 new members and supporters who have signed up to the party since May, it’s estimated that two thirds have done so to back Corbyn.

Facing this advancing army are the beleaguered forces of the Labour right. Its condition suggests that, in many ways, the party’s position is more parlous than it was under Michael Foot. Then the right was bolstered by ‘big beasts’ such as Denis Healey, Roy Hattersley, Peter Shore and John Smith, who had served in the Callaghan government and opted not to flee to the SDP but to fight the Bennite enemy within. But with the exception of Alan Johnson, their contemporary equivalents — David Blunkett, Jack Straw, Alan Milburn and John Reid — have departed the battlefield. Depleted in parliament, the right has been decimated in the unions. In the 1980s it was union leaders like Frank Chapple, Eric Hammond and Bill Jordan who helped wrest the party from the clutches of the hard left; nothing of the sort could happen today.

As Jeremy Corbyn will no doubt know, Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. For Labour, that prediction may come horribly true next month.

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Show comments
  • grimm

    How long, I wonder, before Arthur Scargill returns from his self-imposed exile to appear triumphantly at a Labour party conference. Surely, if Corbyn becomes leader Scargill will at long last have the “real socialist” Labour party he always dreamed of – or will he still be suffering from that lefty delusion where no democratic party can every be left wing enough.

    • Morris Jasper

      I’ve just had to check to see if Scargill was even still alive. It seems he is.

      • HJ777

        Living contentedly in an NUM-funded flat and on an NUM pension, I believe.

        • GUBU

          Indeed.

          Began career with a big union and a small house. Ended career with a small union and a substantial property portfolio.

          That’s the kind of aspirational individual Labour need to reach out to.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Arthur is a bit of a recluse. Had the integrity not to boost over a Thatcher’s death, is no longer an NUM member, only an honorary retired member and please enlighten us as tonhisvproperty portfolio as all media outlets seem to have missed that one.

          • GUBU

            Integrity?

            Treelands Cottage in Barnsley, bought with a subsidised mortgage, and a nice pied-a-terre at the Barbican, the costs of which were funded by what was left of the NUM at the handsome cost of thirty odd grand a year, until they took him to court to end an arrangement he claimed should continue for the rest of his life.

            Mr Scargill did very well for himself, all in all. He even charged the NUM for the cost of preparing his annual tax return!

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            That is called part if his remuneration package, numpty. Like the £4 million a year in shares FTSE bosses get on top of their £800,000pa salaries regardless of any success at their companies.

          • GUBU

            The only people looking like numpties in this particular story are what remains of the rank and file of the NUM, most of whom would be only too happy to have two such desirable residences at their personal disposal.

            And the fact that you are defending Mr Scargill by comparing him to the CEO of a FTSE 100 company tells you everything you need to know about his supposed integrity, and your evident desperation.

            Back to bed, Comrade. And where’s Barry?

        • Standish79

          Weren’t the rump NUM trying to have him evicted on the basis that they are tiny and can no longer afford to keep Saint Arthur in the manner to which he has become accustomed?

          • HJ777

            Yes.

            His contract entitled him to the flat for life and the NUM have been paying all the rent and bills (totalling around £34k per year). He also has his own house in Yorkshire.

            I know the NUM won the court battle (about the principle of having to fund the flat for him for life) but I’m not sure what happened subsequently. I haven’t heard whether he has moved out. He will be getting the rather generous NUM pension regardless.

            He tried to buy the flat under Thatcher’s “right-to-buy” policy incidentally. However, he couldn’t because it wasn’t his prime residence.

            The man is a leech and a hypocrite.

          • GUBU

            Indeed.

            If anything, you’re too kind.

            On the plus side, one thing he finally appears to have abandoned is that ludicrous ginger combover – albeit due to lack of raw materials.

          • jonathan

            LOL arthur’s weetabix……

          • Roger Hudson

            A Barbican flat costs 34K p.a.? So much for social housing.

          • HJ777

            To be fair, it did include all his other costs such as utility bills, Council Tax, etc..

            You wouldn’t expect a ‘man of the people’ to have to pay such things like other people have to, would you?

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Thevman was taking the Mick by abusing Thatcher’s stupid Right to Buy.

      • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

        Alive and soon to be kicking you lot in the teeth. A lot of scores to settle after 30 years.

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      I do hope Arthur returns. He is/was a hero. The vitriol and maligning by the right are testament to that.

  • eileen morris

    Would be an interesting dynamic, Corbyn intends to reopen mines but pledges a new green economy. The problem with Scargill is that although Wilson closed more pits than Thatcher he held a strike for the wrong reasons. I didn’t believe it then and I still don’t believe that in this day and age we cannot have clean, highly filtered exhausts, coal burning power stations. But then I also believe in Nuclear Power stations and where available, Hydro electric power and barrages across the bays. Oh and of course Fracking which as everyone knows is a form of extraction which has been used since about the mid 19th century

    • Peter Stroud

      Coal fired emissions contain the bogeyman gas CO2, which is, of course very difficult to ‘filter’ out. The fact that all doom and gloom forecasts by global warmists are wildly exaggerated, means nothing: because the whole climate change business has been politicised. Note Obama’s stupid legacy that will kill the entire US coal industry if it is ever acted on.

    • HJ777

      The issue was not whether we should have coal-fired power stations. It was that the cost of producing coal in this country was much higher than the world price. Scargill wanted to keep the mines open as long as there was coal in them – regardless of cost.

      • Johnny Foreigner

        You’re right, but when has there been an up to date cost analysis? Most opinion and rhetoric today is based on what was, not on what potential is possible in the near future.

      • Roger Hudson

        The good news then is that there will be coal reserves when the world runs out of oil, the we can use the coal> oil process pioneered at Monowitz.

    • Johnny Foreigner

      Spot on.

    • red2black

      Mr Wilson oversaw the closure of exhausted coal mines. Many miners came from exhausted pits to the (at the time) coal-ming town where I live, to work.

  • stephen barker

    All commentators on the right are so (self) confident that Corbyn will lead Labour to a massive defeat in 2020. On what evidence? The real danger, to the Labour Party, to the Conservative Party and to the nation is that it’s quite possible (even with boundary change) that he might lead them to victory. There is no great love at large for the Conservative Party (kidding itself about the emphatic nature of its – truly marginal – win this year) or its leadership contenders (Theresa May? Corbyn can beat her for sure) and much to be gained in securing the votes of both those who did not vote this year and new voters coming into play. Four hundred thousand 18 year olds going to university this year. Who do think they and their ilk will be voting for if a commitment to scarp tuition fees – that they can believe in – is on the pledge card?

    • HJ777

      On the evidence that the electorate appear not to want to vote for left wing loonies or economic disaster.

      • Thomas Gray

        The ones who have been voting aren’t the point. The important ones are who HAVEN’T been voting because until now they’ve been unrepresented. Thats the ones that stephen barker is referring to.

        • HJ777

          I see you suffer from the left wing delusion that non-voters are all lefty types eager to turn out to vote if only there was someone far enough left wing for them to vote for.

          In fact, most aren’t interested and just want to be left to get on with their lives and make their own decisions – which is the last thing that socialists want because they believe in governments making all the important decisions for them.

          • Thomas Gray

            Well, how do you square all this with the fact that the labour party is seeing an unprecedented rise in new member applications? You should remember that come 2020, a new generation of todays thirteen year olds will be eligble to vote. Who do you think they are going to go for? Someone who will give them free university access to point of demand or someone who will condemn them to the guts of thirty grand of debt.

            Its laughable that right wingers can posture to the rest of us about decisions.Do you mean decisions like having to choose between central heating or letting your kids go hungry? Decisions like like having to move two hundred miles out of communities you’ve called home for years to find cheaper housing or face eviction because of the skyrocketing rents? If those are the sorts of decisions you want, i am sure i speak for most of us when i tell you you can stuff them.

          • notme3

            I bet you were really gutted about the result in May.

            Diddums!

          • HJ777

            You’re not getting this, are you? The LibDems also saw an unprecedented rise in new members. It tells you nothing about the wider electorate.

            What you seen unable or unwilling to understand is that the left wing policies you and Corbyn espouse would be disastrous for ordinary people. He is pushing policies that have been abject failures wherever and wherever they have been tried. The last Labour government pushed public spending to 50% of GDP yet the number of households with an income of below 40% of the median grew substantially – bigger government harms, not helps, the poorest. Rents and heating costs rocketed because of restrictive government policies – strict controls on housebuilding and renewables levies on energy bills, for example. The government became ever more involved in regulating the energy industry and prices, which had previously fallen rapidly after privatisation went up. Surprise, surprise.

            People do not want your and Corbyn’s socialist nirvana because they know it produces exactly the opposite outcomes to those you claim.

          • somewhereinthesouth

            Of course many can see through his radical and tired old left wing polices but it does have emotional appeal since he is everything the political establishment isn’t. He’s a sort of anti hero with a potently emotional appeal to the [politically and economically ] dispossessed . [ The sort of people who if suitable energised turned out to riot in London ]. Moreover having crap policies didn’t stop Syriza winning in Greece either and thats the fear with Corbyn. Syriza of course has crashed in flames but when it comes to the disaffected the facts don’t matter. Blame it on the establishment or the rich. On balance however I think he’ll probably go down the pan with the thinking voters and the Labour party will not far behind. The concept is out dated and this is a last throw of the dice .

          • No Man’s Land

            It doesn’t matter, they don’t represent the wider electorate.

          • Lamia

            You should remember that come 2020, a new generation of todays thirteen year olds will be eligble to vote

            That is the case at every general election, including every general election since tuition fees were introduced. There’s not any evidence that ‘the new generation’ can or has ever significantly swung a General Election. Nor are people’s political views static over their lifetime. If it panned out as you envisage, then over successive generations the hard left/ far left vote in the electorate would be growing inexorably. It clearly isn’t.

            Decisions like like having to move two hundred miles out of communities you’ve called home for years to find cheaper housing or face eviction because of the skyrocketing rents?

            Yes, we have a huge housing shortage – a phenomenon which some people blame solely on not building enough new houses, and which many more blame in large part on artificial boosting of the population by mass immigration. Now, remind us which party inflicted that on us?

        • El_Sid

          There’s some evidence that although non-voters as a whole are more left than right, the lefties are concentrated in the segment that will never ever vote, whereas the ones who vote sometimes are more right-leaning. It makes sense if you think about it – there’s plenty of ways for lefties to register a protest against Labour by voting Green, TUSC etc, whereas disgruntled Tories have traditionally had fewer protest options so just stay away from the polls. For instance the Tories were doing their best to be unelectable in 2001, and that coincided with the lowest GE turnout in history.

          The other issue is that to get a majority Labour needs to overturn Tory leads of 9000 in places like Watford and Milton Keynes. They can do that by persuading 9000 voters who didn’t vote last time to a)vote and b)vote Labour, or 4500 voters who voted Tory last time to vote Labour. Which is easier?

    • KingEric

      I think you’ll find it’s not just figures on the right that think that. There are a lot within the Labour party who can only see political irrelevance looming should Corbyn lead them into an election.

    • nibs

      the one thoughtful comment so far beneath this article. There is a proper groundswell behind the Corbyn phenomenon, just as there is behind the (less radical) Bernie Sanders in the US, now polling better than the “shoo-in” Hillary Clinton.
      Conservatives dismiss him as a throwback (whilst espousing the policies of Mags Thatcher), but have clearly missed the vigorous debate about inequality (Piketty, Krugman, even Paul Mason), the crisis of crony capitalism which brought us 2008/9 and the massive QE which has fuelled an asset boom for the rich but nobody else.
      What Corbyn espouses was centre ground only a short time ago.

      • Archibald Heatherington

        There’s an article that looks into this. It’s difficult to see the numbers adding up:http://economics21.org/commentary/britains-socialist-revolution-not-gonna-happen

        • stephen barker

          No it’s not. It assumes an awful lot. In particular it assumes a linear
          politics (going from Corbyn to Miliband to Burnham to Cooper to Kendall
          to Johnson to Cameron to Osborne?) That’s not how most people decide who
          to vote for.

          A. They vote tribally ie for whomsoever their party of choice puts up – unless obviously hopeless like Ed.

          B.
          They vote for people they like that they think will 1. do something for
          them and / or 2. be better for the country than the other guy / girl.

          Therefore,
          though she’s not a left wing firebrand herself, but she is someone with
          experience of caring for a disabled husband in the face of Tory cuts, I
          can imagine my Mum voting for Corbyn.

    • Singularis

      Alot of Corbyn’s ideas were tested by the Green Party, which didnt lead to the big victory.

      • stephen barker

        The Green party is not the Labour Party. People don’t much vote on policy. If they did Miliband might well have done a lot better.

        • Singularis

          So Labour just has to re-brand then? And as what?

      • mickey667

        If you think the strength of ideas alone carry you to victory rather than organisational strength you are naive. If that were the case my patter down the pub would have elected as PM

      • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

        Most of the Greens will defect to Corbyn Labour.

        • Singularis

          Indeed, few of them have genuine interest in enviromental causes, it was just an easy place to stop over.

    • Archibald Heatherington
      • stephen barker

        No it’s not. It assumes an awful lot. In particular it assumes a linear politics (going from Corbyn to Miliband to Burnham to Cooper to Kendall to Johnson to Cameron to Osborne?) That’s not how most people decide who to vote for.

        A. They vote tribally ie for whomsoever their party of choice puts up – unless obviously hopeless like Ed.

        B. They vote for people they like that they think will 1. do something for them and / or 2. be better for the country than the other guy / girl.

        Therefore, though she’s not a left wing firebrand herself, but she is someone with experience of caring for a disabled husband in the face of Tory cuts, I can imagine my Mum voting for Corbyn.

        • Archibald Heatherington

          The main assumption isn’t linear politics (I don’t think it said that anywhere), it was that people in Britain are sensible. From my own experience I think that’s largely true. Do you think many people will be persuaded by the fork-tongued Marxist geography teacher?

          • jennybloggs

            Yes, possibly. The political class seems unable to understand how loathed it is. Therefore putting two fingers up, whether it is through UKIP, the Greens, TUSC, not voting, or, now, Corbyn, is irresistible.

    • Gergiev

      With a Tory majority of only 15 and a long way to go to 2020 via Euro-wrangling and possibly stalled “recovery”, and no means of calling an election because of the Parliament Act 2010, PM Corbyn, Deputy Salmond, and a return to cabinet of one Mr Clegg is not beyond the realm of the possible.

    • jonathan

      corbins real future is if he gets appointed by the eu after martial law was declared

    • Lina R

      You’re absolutely right. The Tories mainly appeal to older voters. Many idealistic young folk will like Corbyn and the easy solutions he offers. For the Tories to win in 2020 they need to not get nasty, stay in the centre and ensure Cameron’s successor has broad appeal – something May or Osborne do not have.

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      440,000 students this year and every year until 2020 is 2.2 million anti-Tory votes to muster.

      • Tamerlane

        Oh dear, it’s supper time, Yvonne/Barry all alone in his little Sicilian restaurant, no one to talk to, no friends, looking for attention on-line. Sad.

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Its midnight here. Lidtening to somecsort of Gypsy King type music as I sip an Ameretto. Home tomorrow to start some proper Tory bashing.

          • Tamerlane

            ‘Start’ would be the operative word.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            No, bashing. You remind me a lot of Jennifer Lopez. An amazing ass.

          • Tamerlane

            Cute.

          • Tamerlane

            C’mon, Amaretto in Sicily. You’re in the south man, Amaretto’s northern muck. Not good.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Amaretto was invented in Sicily. Comes from the large amount of almonds here, like other almond wines. You are thinking of the northern ripoff Disarrono that is plied in the UK supermarkets . No need to apologise for you lack of sophistication, that is taken as read.
            If you had ever been to Sicily you would know that the Godfather cocktail contains Amaretto or other Amari. Sicilians tend not to go for dessert but offer a bottle if Amaretto and a bottle if Marsala with some Turkish delight after a meal.
            But then what would you know. You only repeat what you read on Wikipedia and add an insult .Dick.

          • Tamerlane

            Amaretto comes from right up north. Invented there, created there, made there, it has no Sicilian connection whatsoever. Rustling around Sicily in your socks and sandals drinking Amaretto because a cunning waiter with an old batch to sell saw you coming and sold you a good story, clutching your Italian phrase book, and looking for friends on Disqus because you’ve none to bring on hols with you makes you a very sad man Yvonne/Barry.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Go on then prove to us all that the Arabesque almond licquer Amaretto was invented in Northern Italy. Perhaps they imported their almonds from Sicily.
            Still being the first in your family to be born without a tail must make you special, and you must be right.

          • Tamerlane

            Fabulous. So irked are you by my postings that you’re actually reduced to having a hissy fit over the origins of an Italian spirit. So pompous are you and so fragile your over cultivated sense of pseudo intellectual importance that ‘winning’ this has actually become important to you. So lower middle class are you that establishing some bizarre knowledge of Italian alcohol takes on a perspective beyond all rational proportions because it’s all you have that you think makes you sophisticated. You’re a very sad man Yvonne/Barry, but more fun me eh?

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            So I am right. You are upset and you cannot back up your usual glib assertions. Never mind Tammy. Reduced to insults again through lack of basic knowledge. Having been to Sicily at least ten times I think I know my drinks by now.Sorry if you think that is pompous but visiting family is quite important.

          • Tamerlane

            Wow, you feel compelled to justify your Sicily trips to me. You care what I think of you. Remarkable and highly amusing.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            You seem intent on hounding me and insulting me at every turn so , yes, you have made an enemy. It is just that this one is more tenacious than those you usually seek to rile. Devon and Sicily somehow don’t produce quitters.

          • Tamerlane

            Perhaps you were thinking of Amaro Yvonne/Barry, similar spelling and can be confusing, common mistake with those who don’t know Italy particularly well. Perhaps your ‘Sicilian relatives’ can help you out some day!
            PS – Cornettos not at all Italian, just a quick heads up for you there Yvonne/Barry.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            No. Amari means bitter. Like your attitude. Amaretto means little bitter like the amount you drink before acting like more of an ass. But keep trying on Wikipedia you one trick pony.
            Tamerlane was a Mongol wasn’t he? Are you a Mongol? Why do you not use Timur,’s real name?Do you have a history of Mongolism like Timur the Lame?

          • Tamerlane

            Wiggle. Wiggle.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            Either you are Toby Young or the Spectator and/or Barclay’s must be paying you. Otherwise why would you spend your Sundays and every day monitoring and responding to my posts often within a minute?
            I have seen your kind before. You really will have to try much harder to drive me from your website.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            ……and silence. Found you out.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            How is Wikipedia today Tammy? Busy.

  • global city

    Jeremy Corbyn is honest and open about the ideologies that drive him. A ‘centreground’ Labour, new or not is a lie. Blair may have suspended Clause IV, but he unleashed the forces of Cultural Marxism much more than any other Labour government before.

    I would rather suffer nationalised trains than see Common Purpose given free reign again….for example!

    • KingEric

      The “forces of Cultural Marxism”? Behave yourself. So few people actually believe in that guff after all their historic failures that it is no force at all.

      • global city

        Really?

        the old economic obsessions of Marx himself may have been rejected by most nonloons, but cultural Marxism (as tagged) has been phenomenally successful.

        • Icebow

          Yes. The ‘PC’ infection, so wide and deep, will take some eradicating.

          • vieuxceps2

            Yep,PC is a mighty weapon for the lefties. We, all of us ,need to fight it ,starting with the words we choose to make use of. Don’t let them gag you!

        • mickey667

          What on earth is cultural marxism?

          • vieuxceps2

            Cutural marxism:-
            PC language
            Lefty education
            Revisionist history
            Immigration brings wealth
            All cultures are equal
            All men are rapists
            Invention of phobias
            Black racism does not exist
            There must be many more facets of the vile creed but these are enough for starters,

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            This is garbage. What are you on?

          • vieuxceps2

            Cultural marxism:-
            ” This is garbage” (says lefty)
            I’ll add it to the list.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Blair may have suspended Clause IV, but he unleashed the forces of Cultural Marxism much more than any other Labour government before.”

      Spot on. This is why history should condemn him. Not Iraq.

    • MacGuffin

      If he’s so open, why wouldn’t Corbyn give a straight answer to Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s question ‘Are you a Marxist?’.

  • Jim91

    Not particularly a big Tory supporter but I almost relish a Corbyn victory just so we can have another catastrophic election result for Labour to finally let it sink in to these self righteous “man of the people” lefties that “the people” were never with them in the first place. Its both tedious and hugely amusing reading Guardinistas like that idiot Owen Jones’ delusions about how Corbyn’s support (among yoof and beardy commies) shows how people are “rejecting” the Tory’s austerity immediately after the most of the British public voted in favour of it. Mistaking an internal vote for which only an inconsequential fraction of the British public can vote in as the “Will of the people” will be their downfall.

    • flydlbee

      Indeed – they are about to democratically elect a leader who is democratically unelectable.

      • Standish79

        No doubt when this mistake is realised sometime in 2020, they will blame the swathes of British people who failed to join the Labour Party and elect someone who isn’t hell-bent on destroying everything that the British people hold dear.

        • Maureen Fisher

          They will blame the media and the thick electorate who don’t know what’s good for them.

      • red2black

        People vote for political parties for different reasons, and ‘getting elected’ may not be their personal priority. They may wish to protest, or cancel out an opposition vote, or vote along more general lines, rather than on specific policies.

    • Grace Ironwood

      This is a generational thing, Jim. Every generation of the Left has this proved to them, as events unfold: they make their rationalisations and carry on.

    • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

      Don’t you love how twitched this is making the Tories. They are bloody terrified, and rightly so. Six of the top ten stories on the Speccy are about Corbyn. They are desperate to land a blow on him. But he is a genuine , honest man of integrity. We have not seen his kind since Harold Wilson.

      • Tamerlane

        Tories are shipping in the champers old chap. I know, I provide it. Are you drunk?

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Arf, arf. Tories have stopped laughing now the shock is hitting home. Genuine opposition to reveal the fool that Cameron is at PMQs.

          • Tamerlane

            Once again that’s a variation on a story you’ve peddling a long time now. You need a new pat.

          • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

            First time I have mentioned it. You must be mistaken again.

  • UmUmUmUmUmUm

    Personally I long for the day when the all the Labour MP’s can easily get to Westminster in one taxi. Let’s hope the egregious Corbyn and his orcs can speed this day along. It can’t come too soon for this betrayed working class former supporter.

    • Archibald Heatherington

      Good for you that you’ve given up on them. If only more would. You’re now Tory, or UKIP? Or between?

      • UmUmUmUmUmUm

        I’m a KIPPER now. The only party that hasn’t betrayed the indigenous English working class, their needs and their culture!

        • Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves

          Twit.

          • UmUmUmUmUmUm

            oh dear oh dear oh dear!!! You self righteous little a*****e.

          • The Mayor of Trumpton

            How uncouth.

  • sir_graphus

    Perhaps Labour members are bored, as we all are, of managerialist politicians whose speeches are no more than a series of hints and vague positions. Corbyn says what he believes in. He doesn’t seem to be hiding anything. This must be as refreshing to the left as Farage is to the right.

    Burnham and Cooper have been in the Labour frontline for about 15 years, and no-one really has a clue what they really believe in, apart from vaguaries like “social justice” or “fairness” or “doing their best for working people”. The leadership was theirs to lose, and it looks like they’re losing it.

    • somewhereinthesouth

      Yes and such a “fresh” approach [ however economically misguided his polices are ] might ironically actually win back some labour supporters who crave certainty and clarity. Many of those who went SNP or UKIP did so because these parties are plain speaking politicians and have simple a strap line wit emotional appeal.

      With the SNP the successful spin was all aboot Scotland and English capitalists [Tories] raping the country’s oil , with UKIP its all bout the EU and foreign immigrants taking OUR benefits and jobs . Corbyn’s line is more akin to Syriza’s who have spun the anti-austerity line which is very popular who pay little or nothing tax or or were in receipt of government funded [ but not financed] largesse .

      Corbin is thus a reaction – Labour’s version of UKIP, Syriza and Podemos With Corbyn the spin is all about back to the future , anti austerity and anti bankers and corporate business [ i.e. Tory capitalists ] whole stole everything from the workers…

      None of these political one-liners will of course produce the promised nirvana but with today’s footloose electorate which is tired of managerialism,political accounting , targets and PC obsessed politics [ which Blair [another Tory ] epitomised in the post Thatcher world ] it might just make an emotional connection with those yearning for something different.

      Corbyn can realistically claim to be everything the current ‘tired” political establishment is not . Instead he says what he thinks [ and may actually mean it [like Nigel and Nicola], is radical even if that radical harks back to old times [ again like Nigel ] . So Corbyn might just become a band waggon on which disaffected voters can climb . I never believed word of what Clegg said but he took plenty in – remember he was once a band waggon …. Bandwagons tend to eventually run out of steam or crash of course – Clegg and there Libs are no more and Syriza of course is now a busted flush; but hey the facts don’t matter: with todays disaffected voters its all about style and emotion and a simple message .

      Of course Corbyn is no looker and in these TV dominated days politicians have to be attractive – preferably with a full head of hair [ Corbyn’s is however on his face which isn’t probably an advantage] . And is this respect when i think of him I see an ageing caricature of Lenin and HE’s never played well here except with intellectuals, so maybe it will all end t*ts up with Labour facing oblivion – its a gamble. A last throw of the dice . its one they seem to be keen taking however.

      • Ron

        Regrettably politicians don’t learn by the past as they are transient creatures.

        • Sue Smith

          As opposed to ‘incontinent’!!

    • vieuxceps2

      Congratulations! “Vaguaries” as you have written is a new and splendid word for what you describe as the usual waffle of politicians.Thanks for it.

  • robertcp

    This article is just deluded. He does not seem to realise that Tony Blair and New Labour discredited the moderate part of the Labour Party. Ed Miliband was right to distance Labour from the New Labour era, while not provoking a civil war that followed previous defeats.

    • Archibald Heatherington

      Which part of it did Miliband discredit? Things are strange now that we think of him as Labour’s centre-ground.

      • robertcp

        Burnham and Cooper for a start. Kendall discredited herself.

    • MacGuffin

      Excuse me, Ed Miliband didn’t provoke a civil war? What do you call the present situation that he unleashed?

      • robertcp

        He can be criticised for resigning immediately but the civil war only happened after he resigned.

        • MacGuffin

          He can be criticised for the absurd voting system, for not facing down the unions, and for encouraging the delusion among Labour members that that the public had shifted left.

          • robertcp

            Those are valid criticisms, although Tony Blair praised the new voting system when it was agreed. He said that he should have done it when he was the leader!

          • blandings

            You sound like a robot.
            Modern labourspeak I guess

          • robertcp

            No comment.

          • blandings

            Don’t worry – it’ll soon be over.

          • robertcp

            I am not worried. Robots don’t have emotions.

          • blandings

            I didn’t say you were a robot – I said you sounded like one.
            I guess it’s a defence mechanism to protect against catastrophic psychological meltdown.

          • robertcp

            Robots do not have psychological meltdowns!

          • blandings

            Or give illogical replies

          • robertcp

            Of course not. That would not be logical!

    • Observer1951

      Never realised Ed wasn’t part of the New Labour era, thanks for that.

      • robertcp

        Ed was part part of the New Labour era but he had enough sense to move away from it.

        • Observer1951

          Part of it! He was a cabinet member Secretary of State for climate and energy. As such he took as much responsibility for Labour government policy as all other cabinet members
          Sent from my iPad

          • robertcp

            Of course.

          • Observer1951

            Indeed

    • HJ777

      Miliband also distanced Labour from any chance of winning the election.

  • Tamerlane

    Isn’t it absolutely delicious? Scrumptious, yummy, fantabulous? It’ll take a minimum one leader to undo the Corbyn damage and another to make them electable again – that’s 2030 at the very earliest. Magic!

  • Call it what you want – #CulturalRevolution #CulturalMarxism #CulturalSynthesis or whatever SPIN* or LABEL* the ESTABLISHMENT* talking-heads choose – what is clear, any efforts against #WhiteElitism & dismantling of #WhitePrivilege in #Britain #AmeriKKKa & across the world will be welcomed regardless of White Constructionist arguments over LEFT* v RIGHT* or whatever POLITRICKS* individuals choose over where to park – let the politics of CHAOS* & BEDLAM* emerge: can’t come too soon to destroy the primordial, ageold pillars of antiquated, decadent #AngloSaxon ideas of EMPIRE*, CONTROL*, SUBJUGATION* & SUBORDINATION*…

    Time to rip up the RULE-BOOK*! Time for the IMBALANCES* of socio-politico-religio-economic JUSTICE* to be realigned!!!

    Time for a NEW DISPENSATION!!!

    • Ned Costello

      Time for some New Medication more like.

      • Standish79

        Cutting-edge medical research doesn’t yet have a SOLUTION* for whatever leads Mr Blackett to his peculiar mania.

    • Lamia

      Are you sure your involvement in ‘medical research’ is as a ‘chairman’? Is that really what is says on your chart?

  • Aldo

    It’s easy to forget amongst the eulogising, what a snivelling little opportunist Tony Benn was. Always happy to sit in Government then strike when weakness presented itself, ruthless in his denunciations and always looking for the power grab.

    • Thomas Gray

      implying that none of the other parties have ‘snivelling little opportunists’.

      • Lamia

        Tedious whataboutery. It wasn’t ‘implying’ anything of the kind.

        If I say it is currently raining in the midlands, that is not implying that it is not currently raining anywhere else in England.

        For heaven’s sake, get some schooling in basic logic.

  • El_Sid

    Of the 190,000 new members and supporters who have signed up to the party since May, it’s estimated that two thirds have done so to back Corbyn

    By whom? There’s about 120k £3 supporters and they are not particularly supporting Corbyn according to the Yougov poll – 55% versus 49% of full members on first preference. The TU members are more pro-Corbyn at 67%, but the full members on their own would still elect Corbyn on second preferences.

    Just taking the temperature on the comment sections on lefty blogs (a dangerous sample I know), there seem to be a lot of old Labour members who consider themselves soft left but out of anger and frustration with Blair/the-Blairites/Miliband/the-election-result/a-remote-economic-recovery find themselves wanting to kick the Establishment, and Corbyn is their equivalent of Farage or Syriza. Why not? There’s not really been anyone to fill that role on the Left in the last few years, Labour and the LibDems were either in government or recently out of it, but plenty of lefty voters who felt left out of the recovery and wanted to kick a cat.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Miliband not only provided the intellectual groundwork for the Corbyn insurrection, he also, albeit unwittingly, provided the organisational opening.

    Wouldnt eg “aperture” be a better name in the event of an “organisational opening”?

  • Grace Ironwood

    It sounds as if the entryism is a mixture of organised groups and spontaneous. We have seen entry by the Left in the electorate when presented with the redesign of power in the party.

    The point of entry to real influence presented itself to the many critics of pragmatism have crowded through it. Interesting times.

    This points to the risks to the established centrist parties of being captured by radicals. Clearly there’s a need for great care in the design of mechanisms to enable greater participation.

    What is a good approach to this for each of the parties?

    • Sten vs Bren

      “It sounds as if the entryism is a mixture of organised groups and spontaneous”

      Really? Which organised groups have you heard of engaging in entryism?

      This election is being talked down because some people fear the wrong result.

      • Grace Ironwood

        Militant Tendency.

        • Sten vs Bren

          Defunct – 1991. Where did you read that?

          • Grace Ironwood

            You seem to be implying that the entryism described above is an impossibility. Militant Tendency is a notorious and well-established historical example of this. A more recent one was the muslim “Labour” politicians in Tower Hamlets.
            I believe the party eventually suspended the branches. Andrew Gilligan is a good investigative reporter on this.
            Is it really so impossible Sten?

      • Grace Ironwood

        You are certainly correct that many people fear the result.

  • Ken

    “Marx said that history repeats itself”

    Was that Karl or Groucho?

    • red2black

      University Challenge just isn’t what it used to be. (tee hee)
      “Paxman… St Catharine’s…”

  • MickC

    Corbyn has struck a chord because many people believe that Our Rulers saved the banks and their pals, rather than help the majority of the populace.

    Once money printing is considered acceptable, the floodgates have been opened. There is no good reason why money printing cannot be used for anything.

    • Nigel Farrage

      What a strange world we now live in. Bailing out failing companies and money printing are now main stream financial tools. Now I am not clever enough to say whether they have protected us, or damaged us. But when I grew up they were associated with loony socialists and financial Armageddon. With that in mind, maybe the world has moved in Corbyns direction.

      • MickC

        I wasn’t suggesting money printing is right, in fact I believe it is entirely wrong. But that being the case, the banks should have been allowed to fail, with the depositors being helped by the government, sorry, taxpayer.

        But the opposite happened, and the incompetent City was saved instead.

      • sidor

        Printing money and using them to save banks is indeed economically loony but is has nothing to do with socialism. Just ordinary corruption. We live in a parasitic society where the main business is money distribution.

  • Icebow

    Well, the average odds on Corby seem to be about 2/7. With regard to defence questions, it’s going to be awkward when he gets into the Privy Council.

  • Bodkinn

    As
    a onetime teenage avid leftie I can sympathise with all those teens who now
    support Corbyn. I was taken in for many
    years. I hope their disillusionment sets
    in a lot quicker than mine did. I now
    regret the wasted years.

  • fundamentallyflawed

    In all this talk of a lurch to the left nobody has mentioned the possible recapture of nearly 3 million Green votes – many of whom left Labour because they were not left enough.
    I am not saying that a Corbyn led Labour party will win the next election but I think reports of its death are greatly exaggerated

  • Roger Hudson

    Orders have gone out to everybody to the right of Corbyn : ‘get down in the gutter and kick as much sh*t as possible’. If that doesn’t work they have a party coup in the works.
    They show why traditional politics is a filthy mess, we must clear out the stable.

  • michael

    I think Corbyn has sussed out that our current crop of pretty Westminster veneers and implants are seen to be a completely feckless bunch from a trustworthiness point of view. I suspect his lack of vitriol and his straightforward pitch will prove far more appealing than the 3-quid Tories give him credit for.
    The laws of unforeseen consequences may well prove costly particularly among individual leadership ratings.

  • Lina R

    The other three standing are typical, uninspiring career politicians. All Yvette Cooper could talk about when interviewed by Sky News was the importance of Sure Start and the digital revolution. There was no vision, no criticism of Labour, no tough decisions we need to make as a country, nothing. Jeremy Corbyn does at least sound like a human being even if his politics would reduce this country to a third-world one.

  • mickey667

    “Lurch to the Left”

    Did no-one ever teach you not to wrote in cliches? Its a meaningless load of drivel anyway.

    The 1945 manifesto implemented all the socialist institutions and principles we enjoy today – NHS, free education to 18, social housing (currently being destroyed), liveable state pensions etc.

    It is the Right that have lurched and are intent on wholly remaking our society in one vast social engineering experiment of impoverishment and cleansing the working class from our cities.

    So many column inches for a guy you think is not a threat? We’ll see…..

    • Bo Williams

      I’m sure Yvette Cooper agrees with you but I’m pretty sure she does not think the solution to the problem is to have a leader who wants to remove Trident, remove Britain from NATO, forge closer links with Russia, appears to be sympathetic to the IRA and in fact participated in a minute’s silence for dead IRA terrorists. All that and his pro-immigration stance does not, on the face of it, look like a platform to win back swing voters.

  • Bo Williams

    I keep hearing Corbyn will take us back to the policies of the 80s. These policies were of course roundly rejected by the British public over and over again in the 80s. And when Tony Benn stood for deputy leader of the Labour Party in the 80s the party was not actually insane enough to elect him. How times have changed.

    • Sten vs Bren

      Many of the eighties policies have been adopted. Peace talks with IRA, broadband etc. No point rehashing those.

      • Bo Williams

        There is a difference between peace talks and holding a minute’s silence for dead IRA terrorists.

      • new_number_2

        ‘Jenson’ has just been banned from the Telegraph by the way.

  • Jaria1

    Be careful of what you wish for Jim91. Corbyn and his left wing comrades have tapped into the dissatisfaction felt by voters of the present political leaders. Labour voters will not be happy with its leaders all candidates for leader and will give serious consideration to someone from the back benches such as Corbyn strongly supprted if not chosen by Unite and other pond life.
    I dont think many Tories are that keen on Cameron as he might be genuine but isnt convincing. Those that are disatisfied cross party lines and a good example is how the SNP wiped Labour out of Scotland. If Farage could get a grip on UKIP you might see more of them as they had the same support from those not happy with the establishment. Only when the polls showed miliband in the lead did Tories who had defected to UKIP. Return to the fold to keep Labour out.

  • Zionist lackey

    Corbyn has attracted unwarranted sympathy from the liberal Left among the cosmopolitan London elite who declaim their opposition to Corbyn’s Left extremism but gives him Brownie points for his common touch and likeable personality; who instead of relying upon spin doctors and speech writers he says bluntly what he thinks with total disregard to what the media thinks.This is the kind of liberal message; a few, just a few of whom, among them, used the same reasoning to understand the rise of Ukip.

    The trouble is that what Corbyn is thinking, is fossilized in the 1970’s. He is an unashamed Marxist within the Labour ranks, and has been so since he was first elected to Parliament in 1982. He has always daily yawned himself away on the back benches, never seeking any kind of preferment, fearful of making decisions that may turn out to be wrong and loosing him his popularity if he agreed to any ministerial position; a position that was nevertheless unlikely to have been forthcoming from any Labour administration whom in his time he had more contempt for than he had for the Tories. He saw his continued unemployment on the back benches as badge of honour, just as some benefit scroungers living off the tax payer – much like our MPs.

    Corbyn does not want to become prime minister: he of course wants to lead the Labour Party. But to govern a country you have to make decisions that will make you unpopular among your own kind. Corbyn lacks this ability. He is a far Left politician who did not expect to command any kind of popularity when he first entered the race; unless that is, the nature of the election process had allowed him to so do; which it unexpectedly has, due to the party’s incompetence in its reformed electoral arrangement under Miliband.

    It is Miliband, and his activities on behalf of winning power, including the betrayal of his brother, who should now take responsibility for what may turn out to be the crowning of Corbyn as Labour leader.

  • new_number_2

    The policies promoted by Corbyn are the sort of policies a Labour Party should be standing on in the first place, yet they’re presented as a “lurch to the left” as if some sort of grotesque aberration.

    Cooper, Kendall and Burham have more in common with the Tories, but are supposed to be the “moderates” which is instructive in just how far to the right Labour has swung.

    • Terry Field

      Take a tablet. Learn realities. See nursie.

  • Terry Field

    Labour and its core prejudices – they are not really ‘beliefs’ – are no longer relevant to the lives, world and decisions that English citizens need to concern themselves with.
    That has been the case for a very long time indeed, but the ‘lag effect’ has given the world-view a longer lingering death than some of us would have expected.
    Blair/Brown were the final prostitution of the original vital and relevant romanticism that reacted against the difficulties of the industrial revolution, and the miss-interpretation of the Great Depression.
    Now, a world that is becoming full of competitive capital and skilled people makes the dream-world of local British socialism utterly irrelevant – but damaging if indulged.
    Corbyn is a twitching muscle in a dying body.

  • henryroot

    You conveniently omit the overwhelming support he is receiving from the public. I don’t recall Foot receiving this adulation in the early 80’s. Times are a different folks.

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