I think Jeff is hardening something small into something unfeasibly big re Jeremy Corbyn. He’s not an Irish Republican, he’s a leftist leader of the British Labour party. Yet it does show how easy it is going to be to raid his personal cuttings and turn them against him.
Two quick thoughts.
One, I’m with Brian in thinking he makes Labour less electable. (Although it’s highly questionable if any of the others would have turned it round either). Yet Labour has ‘captured’ an selectorate of 1/2 Million. And these three guys (and they are all guys) are there because they have an appeal outside the elites of the party.
Two, there are issues that have been bubbling under unbidden and unrecognised by those elites. Corbyn breaks the post Thatcherite consensus of where the middle ground is. References to ‘social cleansing’ in London may not appeal directly to the middle class, but it breaks out of a mannered and managerialist handbook.
For now, here’s some good Twitter responses already…
252,417 votes, 59%. Corbyn only needs to find another 9.75m votes and he might win the election…
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) September 12, 2015
— Conor Pope (@Conorpope) September 12, 2015
Live pictures from the victory party that is waiting for Corbyn pic.twitter.com/VZISSr5DyH
— Tim Montgomerie ن (@montie) September 12, 2015
— YouGov (@YouGov) September 12, 2015
— Tim Bale (@ProfTimBale) September 12, 2015
Jeremy’s allotment’s going to go to pot — Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) September 12, 2015
Knock knock Who’s there? The Leader of the Opposition YOU MUST BE JOKING???
— @corbynjokes (@corbynjokes) September 12, 2015
My doubts lie in his inexperience, his capture by the big unions (who are a fading force) and with just 6.5% support of the parliamentary party, and lack of resource.
Their real problem is not just how to bring in the wider public, but the party itself. One of many delegates storming out after the result was announced was heard to say “this is sending us into oblivion.”
The emotion behind that is well reflected in this best read of the campaign:
I’ve been waiting most of my life for the Left to make its glorious return. This is not what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve not changed my principles, and have only changed my views to fit the facts. I’m the one who feels abandoned – everything has moved around me. I lay down in a big tent, and I woke up in the rain.
Corbyn has a big mandate. It won’t be easy to get rid of him. But he also has two very big challenges coming up: the Scottish Parliamentary Elections (in which damage limitation is probably the best he can hope for); and the London Mayoral election (which will be a very direct test of #Corbynism).
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty