- Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:02 pm
Here's the thing, though. When Corbyn made it onto the ballot paper for the leadership in 2015, and subsequently easily won against very lack-lustre campaigns from Cooper, Burnham, and Kendall, I wasn't one of those who were instantly alarmed and appalled.
I didn't vote for him (Yvette got my vote), but I very much took the view that I'd give Corbyn a fair chance at leading Labour back to government, summed up as "well, he certainly talks a good game, let's see if he can deliver". Had he been able to deliver, I'd have been delighted.
But it quickly became apparent, at any rate to non-cultists, that Corbyn had not the first idea of how to lead the party anywhere, let alone back into government. Conflicts arose between agreed party policy and Corbyn's personal views, such as on Trident renewal. Corbyn made plain his conviction that if it came to it as PM, he would never authorise the use of weapons such as Trident. He suggested he would like to see the UK withdraw from Nato. And of course, his endless baggage around Palestinian rights, Irish Republicanism, and of course anti-semitism proved not only to provide rich pickings for what The Cult calls "the MSM", but also a tangible handicap on Labour's electability.
His personal ratings as the UK's next PM went through the floor and have stayed there ever since.
Unsurprisingly, I voted for Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership contest, after a controversial NEC ruling on the interpretation of party rules around leadership elections relieved Corbyn of the requirement to seek the required number of PLP nominations to stand in a leadership contest, a requirement he would not have achieved, on the grounds that he was the incumbent.
He was voted back in, of course, by several thousand starry-eyed idealists and a couple of thousand grizzled former SWP types who had flooded back into the party's membership since 2015, who both viewed the audacity of Smith's challenge as an existential threat to the one true belief of the purest socialism, and to be seen off by mobilising scores of adoring fans at rallies.
After this, and after Corbyn's mostly passive undermining of the party's Yes campaign for the EU referendum, again because of Corbyn's personal convictions being allowed to bleed into agreed party policy, Corbyn had for me, and many others, definitively lost the benefit of the doubt.
Here was a man who could never lead the party back to government because he simply lacked the capability to lead. Moreover, here was a man who represented a living, breathing insurmountable obstacle to Labour's electoral success.
The unexpectedly not that bad result achieved in the 2017 snap election (which still represents a third successive general election defeat for Labour) was partly attributable to people lending Labour their votes in order to frustrate May's stated objective of an increased majority with which to see Brexit through, and partly to the most disastrously inept Tory campaign in living memory, effectively provided Corbyn's leadership with a stay of execution. But it was apparent to anyone with a simulacrum of sense that the project was doomed. Corbyn's leadership has failed, and seems irredeemable.
It's now only a matter of time before the 72 year old Corbyn falls by the wayside, or is made to see sense by following the example of his fellow septuagenarian Vince Cable in bowing out with at least a modicum of respect. People in the party are already beginning to talk of who can, if anyone can, sustain the Corbyn project but with a new ingredient - the ability to win.
Last edited by Abernathy on Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"The opportunity to serve our country. That is all we ask." John Smith, Leader of the Labour Party, 10 May 1994.