Friday, 4 September 2015

On the Jez

(The title of this post is based on something B. A. Baracus said in the very first A-Team TV episode)

Well, that was the last of the Labour leadership televised hustings, just a few hours ago now. Did it help anyone?

Yes, it helped Jeremy Corbyn, who seems to have come across as more genuine than the others, the proverbial 'breath of fresh air'. Although there is an element of illusion in that seemingly very widely-held assessment, there is no denying its power.

It now seems to be almost certain that 'Jez' will become the new Labour party leader. Is this what I was originally predicting?

No. I was at first expecting Andy Burnham to win – but the Burnham campaign has been so poor, and the candidate himself has flip-flopped so many times (and been caught at it, and exposed on a number of occasions) on various policy questions, that his credibility has dropped quite significantly, even among Labour supporters themselves, who tend largely to be gullible and easily led by the nose.

I was also part-expecting a real show-stopper of a revelation or a gaffe by Corbyn – and that could still happen – though this was only a statistical judgment based on the sheer length of the campaign and the tendency of such things to happen during such extended periods in a party leadership context. It is now probably too late as, I suspect, the considerable majority of ballots have by now been cast.

I consider this to be somewhat unfortunate for Labour. Not that I am a Burnham fan, or anything like, but at least he could have handled the 'leader of H.M. official opposition' job tolerably well, whereas the likes of Corbyn and Yvette Cooper would, I think, be very poor. Liz Kendall isn't really in the running now, looking to come a distant fourth in the contest.

Thus we look set to have an unhealthy political scenario up ahead, with its inevitable tendency to draw the Conservative Government toward the centre, and easing-up on their more strongly principled policy stances because it will thus be so easy to attract disillusioned and disenfranchised Labour voters. This is one of the reasons why a good, mainstream opposition is vital for a healthy democracy.

Fortunately, the silver lining to this dark cloud is that it cannot last long. As Jeremy Corbyn will be unable to secure the support of many of his party's MPs on a number of his policies, sooner or later he will find his position is untenable – probably visibly around two years from now (actually much sooner, but it won't necessarily show outwardly for some time).

Although there is no certainly that the party's so-called selectorate will have grown up sufficiently by then, at least there is the possibility that they will choose a more acceptable leader next time. Perhaps there will be no too-lefty candidates from which to choose on that future occasion – though I suspect that 'bumbling Burnham', regardless of what he says about it today, will return to have yet another unsuccessful crack at it!

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