While I believe Labour needs a fresh General Election to truly emerge from the long shadow of Corbynism as i highlighted in my previous article Labour itself has a chance to rid itself of Corbyn and his top team without electoral annihilation. The upcoming leadership election will pit Corbyn against either Angela Eagle or Owen Smith. Both of which are battling it out in Parliamentary hustings in order to win support from MP’s to decide who will be the one to take Corbyn down. Both Smith and Eagle would have an uphill battle to dethrone a leader who still retains a large core loyal support amongst the members in a largely unadulterated base which overwhelmingly elected him just last year. While many have leaped to the conclusion he’s bound to win I don’t believe this is necessarily the case.
Corbyn and his supporters are remarkably confident as he is considered to be the overwhelming favorite, however concern about bookies odds should come with caution given that Corbyn himself was a 200/1 outsider just last year. The Corbynista’s seem unconcerned about the electoral impact of limiting time to register for the election and cutting off members who have joined since January. While many are frustrated at the vague concept of cutting off democracy in a club which makes its own rules, I have yet to see a tweet or an article fearing that this could derail Corbyn’s chances. Many have forgotten or ignored the Yougov polling figures which make uncomfortable reading for any Corbyn supporter; if you doubt the validity of the poll, then feel free to read a defense and historical record of Yougov’s record in the past. The poll surely outlines some of the worst fears of a Corbynista; with the majority of members now believing it’s right he steps down before the next election, 47% saying they won’t vote for Jeremy and only 27% of Labour members now believing he can become Prime Minister his position amongst the membership is deceptively weak.
The numbers show that even a small swing against Corbyn could finish his embattled leadership off, with this in mind what is the best strategy to take him out once and for all? First i would argue would be to quickly, efficiently and fairly decide who will take him on and then unite fully behind that candidate. Whomever is chosen to lead the charge against Jeremy it’s essential that they’re not damaged before they take him on as they’ll have enough dirt thrown at them by momentum and the Corbyn camp. They need to be able to represent not just my flank of the party (yes I’m a blairite but not embittered) but also the center, the center left and the non cultish left of the party.
Secondly former cabinet members and allies of Corbyn need to be a vocal presence in dismantling him from the beginning to nail the myth of a blairite plot to oust him. Testimony like that of former Shadow Cabinet member Lilian Greenwood and Richard Murphy the one time guru of Corbynomics, will highlight it’s not just ideology which is the difference between Corbyn supporters and non supporters but the difference between competence and incompetence. The ousters need to show you can be on the left of the party and have simply had enough of the bumbling buffoonery that the current administration has offered; today’s Trident vote is a good example, Labour is effectively taking three different positions and the leader is ignoring party policy set out by members. Indeed I’ve had conversations with friends on the left of the party who voted for Corbyn but can no longer bridge the divide between the fantasy and the crumbling reality of a party staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
Finally it needs to be shown the inconsistincies within Corbyn’s actions and what he says. Corbyn’s consistent argument has been that MP’s need to follow the democratic will of the membership, a very noble aim and something which can be admired. What is hard to admire is his willingness to abandon this love of democracy when he disagrees with a policy such as Trident. It is Labour’s policy (voted for by the membership) to renew Trident, something not mentioned for one ioata in his speech to Parliament this evening and it’s not reflected in his voting stance either. Either Jeremy believes MP’s can have principles which at times override what the membership directly wants through the mandate of people electing him, or he believes people must bend directly to the will of the party members but he cannot have it both ways.
The consequences of a Corbyn victory will be staggering both to Parliamentary democracy in this country and to the Labour movement as a whole. Britain is running a phantom opposition and if Corbyn wins the PLP are in an impossible position; not able to jump back into shadow cabinet they’ll be forced to either sit on the backbenches watching Labour self eviscerate, or join forces and flee the party become the official opposition and watch Labour become irrelevent while a new left party takes over. However it doesn’t have to happen, Corbyn can be beaten if Labour unites and attacks Corbyn’s vulnerabilities.
Thanks for taking the time to read my piece, feel free to write a comment positive or negative and have a look at my other articles 🙂