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In praise of Jeremy Corbyn

August 30th, 2016

Bling 2

There’s a danger that we’re underestimating the Labour leader

Outside of the Corbynites, the idée reçue amongst most of us is that Jeremy Corbyn leading Labour at a general election is going to lead Labour to experiencing an extinction level electoral defeat. On my most charitable days I’ll say Jeremy Corbyn has only two flaws, everything he says, and everything he does, but I’m going to challenge that perception and defend Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn – A very thick skinned politician

One of the reasons I’ve started to admire Jeremy Corbyn is his keep calm and carry on attitude in recent weeks. With the relentless negative media coverage he receives coupled with the mass resignations of the shadow cabinet and 172 of his fellow MPs declaring no confidence in him, most men would have visibly shrunk after that, but Corbyn seems oblivious to all of that. The inevitable media attacks against him during the next general election may well not faze him.

Jeremy Corbyn – A man who has re-enegrised the left wing movement, why not the country?

It is easy to mock the Corbyn and his fans but the stats don’t lie, he’s overseen an increase in Labour party membership to such an extent that Labour now has more members than all the other parties combined. Tony Blair constructed the big tent politics, reaching out to voters who previously didn’t vote Labour. Corbyn is being the heir to Blair in some respects by creating a similar big tent approach (albeit approaching centre-left voters rather than centre-right voters that Blair did.)

In my political lifetime I’ve seen the Anti-Federalist League, an organisation that could hold meetings in a phone box, transform into a movement that ultimately led to the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union.

From Brexit, and the possibility of Presidents Trump & Le Pen those opposed to smashing the political status quo are rocking all over the world, Jeremy Corbyn has the potential to join that club.

Jeremy Corbyn – A man underestimated in the polls

In the last seven polls conducted in the run up the May local elections, The Tories led in all the polls, bar one YouGov, some of the Tory leads were as high as 8%, but when the National Equivalent Share of the Vote was calculated by Professors Rallings & Thrasher, Labour were ahead of  the Tories. Given the negative media around him, if there’s one Labour leader that’s like to cause a shy Labour voter, it is Jeremy Corbyn. Remember the negative mood music in the run up the Oldham West by-election? The result, a stunning Labour victory.

Jeremy Corbyn – A man ahead of his time (and principle)

We might laugh at and criticise some of Corbyn’s policies today, but in the past people laughed at and criticised Corbyn’s ‘loony left’ policies. He met Gerry Adams before the UK Government did, Corbyn advocated LGBT equality whilst the Tory Government was introducing Section 28, now look at where we are today?

The UK establishment from Her Majesty downwards is meeting the likes of Martin McGuinness whilst same sex marriage is the law of the land. What we might consider ‘loony left’ today may well become the orthodoxy of tomorrow. (And I haven’t mentioned his opposition to the Iraq war before it was fashionable.)

His views have remained consistent, he’s not someone who will say things just to garner votes, which is in stark contrast to the professional politicians that seem to dominate politics these days.

Jeremy Corbyn – The master tactician

Whisper it very quietly, Jeremy Corbyn is very good at winning elections, at the outset of last year’s Labour leadership election Corbyn was priced 200/1 to win, and for the second time in a year, he’s on course to win the Labour leadership. To paraphrase a former Labour MP, ‘Corbyn’s managed to outmanoeuvre the young Labour princes and princesses who strode the parade ground with the confidence born of aristocratic schooling. Like latter day Pushkins drilled in the elite academy of Brownian blitzkrieg, they were bursting with their sense of destiny. It’s not Corbyn who is unconsciously nervous, but the Milibands, Balls, Burnhams.’

If you remember Labour use AV to elect their leaders, one of the joys of AV is that theoretically allows you to vote to stop X winning, with your other preferences. The system was geared to stop the likes of Corbyn, and he won spectacularly.

But his greatest achievement may well be his alleged sabotage of the Remain campaign during the EU referendum, which helped Leave to win, and end David Cameron’s Premiership, after all there is much evidence that he wasn’t a fan of the European Union and had spoken of leaving the EU before he became leader.

Those expecting Jeremy Corbyn to comport himself at the next general election with all the dignity, competence, and elan of a man who has just accidentally inserted his penis and scrotum into a hornets’ nest might be surprised at just how well Corbyn does at the next general election, in the past year nobody has become rich by underestimating Jeremy Corbyn.

TSE