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We could find out how good Corbyn is at herding chickens

June 19th, 2017

What if Labour tried to form minority government?

“That would be like herding chickens,” was how a member of the Shadow Cabinet responded when I suggested Labour’s leading campaigners should all be using the “weak and wobbly” counter to the Tory “strong and stable” slogan.

I was delighted when, eventually, the phrase popped up in utterances from both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

So, maybe there is someone in Team Corbyn with the chicken herding skills which will undoubtedly be needed in keeping together the quasi coalition of Labour, Lib Dems, nationalists and Green that would be needed to allow a minority Corbyn government to function.

Forming such a government is Corbyn’s declared aim and he got some perhaps surprise support for his ambition from the Tory grassroots in David Herdson’s PB blog

Some of the Left are not on sure it’s a good idea. The Guardian’s Larry Elliot has argued that the Tories should be left to fix their own mess

The overwhelming political logic for taking power was set out by Shadow Health secretary Jonathan Ashworth when I queried, all those weeks ago, whether it was wise for Labour to be voting for Theresa May’s snap election. “The NHs§ is in a mess and I want to get in there to fix it,” he declared. I would have got a similar answer if I’d put the same query to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner.

Democratic Legitimacy

Just as in the US the electoral college trumps the popular vote so in UK it’s seats not votes that decide who wins a General Election. So the Tories won and get the first chance at forming a Government.

But is that the DUP deal falls apart the only alternative to another election is Jeremy Corbyn. There’s no doubt it would be messy. Hence the herding chickens metaphor

The Tories would outnumber the combined forces of Labour, the Lib Dems, the nationalists and the Green.

But fewer than 14 million voters, just over 43 % backed the Tories and the DUP, whereas 17 million voters — 52.5% backed Labour and the other four parties.

Constitutionally that is insignificant but politically it creates a the space for Labour to push forward with popular policies –that make voters better off and which the other parties would support and the Tories would find hard to oppose.

If Jeremy Corbyn gets the chance to walk in to Downing he should do it and he will do it.

Donald Brind