Why a Corbyn-led Left Wing Labour Could Win in 2020

by Charlie_East_West on August 14, 2015

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Jeremy Corbyn, on current polling, is on course to win Labour’s leadership campaign. The latest polling has him 32% ahead of his rivals. This is staggering stuff. But, something more than just a new wave protest movement is rumbling on behind all of this. There are a number of factors behind this – ranging from a refreshing authenticity, an unspun set of messages, ideas and a candidate that is actually willing to come up with a set of ideas.

This is not the politics of simple protest. A powerful grassroots movement is rising up behind Corbyn – one in which the chattering classes, Guardianistas, MPs and political hacks fail to comprehend. They have shown a collective failure to understand the shiftng sands created by a massive people-led surge towards Corbyn. Labour of all parties, should understand this. They previously failed to understand the zeitgeist in Scotland and it cost them their credibility and most of their MPs. Political tectonic shifts should be observed and acted upon instead of being ignored before it is too late.

The current Blairite failure to grasp a people-led movement against a now discredited system of politics, endlessly recycled by Britain’s political class and media is quite astonishing. Elect Corbyn now, they howl at increasing volume, and Labour can kiss goodbye to power for a generation or more. Really? This is the politics of fear & loathing. It is politics of simplicity borne out of complete fear that events are now pushing away their previously vice-like-grip of being being in control of the situation.

The Westminster bubble and mainstream media have been proved wrong about Corbyn’s candidacy. Initially it was a patronising “dear old Jezza, he is going nowhere, but put him up as a token left-wing candidate and we all know he will lose”. Now he has surged ahead, the same patronising voices have turned into quite nasty vicious scaremongers. These people are threatened by what Corbyn stands for. Their own power base is under siege. They are threatened by his threat to their own status quo and his ability to mobilise huge support. All they have left, is the stench of their own bullshit. They only thing left inside of their own vision of the future is negativity – Their last message standing is that Corbyn would be a “disaster” and “he cannot win an election.”

Perhaps they should look at themselves and give themselves a badly needed moment of introspection. Perhaps Blairites might just come to the harsh moment of epiphany that their own lack of ideas, busted flush power grabs and vacuous ideology has turned people off and therefore, this complete contempt for what they stand for has pushed people towards Jeremy Corbyn.

I would also argue that the theory in which Corbyn would be an election disaster is fundamentally wrong. We are not living in the imperial phase of Blair from 1997-2002. The world is a very different place in 2015. It is the Blairites who are the dinosaurs not Corbyn. As such, It’s the Labour left, not the right, that can potentially show a path to power.

It’s about tapping into a potential new mood. It is about strategy. It is the strategy of having core principles, then communicating those principles, then getting people to understand and agree with those principles that can eventually lead to power. It is about communicating new ideas that might just allow a penny drop moment across the UK. What Blairites do not get is that their model is now a busted flush of a pursuit for power without any core principles. Miliband lost, not because he “lurched to the left”, Miliband lost for a variety of other reasons – one of which was because people didn’t know what he stood for, and he and Labour didn’t provide effective opposition or a true alternative vision to the Tories.

So can the left win? Here a few ways in which a Corbyn-led Labour could win in 2020….

Having the common touch

Part of Corbyn’s appeal right now, is that he has an ability to talk in plain English. Like Nigel Farage, Alex Salmond and even Boris Johnson – he has a common touch appeal that wins a lot of votes. He comes across as untouchable from the tired model of failed neoliberal policies and robotic spin doctored politicians.

The economy is fragile

Our economy is being held together with an elastoplast. The problems of 2008 still exist, but with steroids. The national debt has doubled, low interests rate are protecting business and household debts from another storm and we are in danger of creating another housing price boom & bust. Borrowing by households, excluding mortgages, is now rising at the fastest level since 2007. Throw in the productivity slump, and economic instability across the Eurozone, Russia and China – it is clear that another crash could happen soon.

There remains a real danger of the UK having another a financial crisis and recession over the next five years due all of this economic fragility. Another crash is still lurking like a grim reaper behind the shoulder of our economy.

If another crash happens, but on the watch of the Tories, the opposition party will cash in upon public outrage.

Providing an effective opposition to austerity

George Osborne’s “low tax, low welfare” model is brutal, harsh and morally bankrupt. The Tories are hell-bent in dismantling welfare and public services. A lot of the nasty stuff surrounding austerity has still to happen, despite all the bad stuff that has already happened. There is a tipping point to all of this. The cuts hammer broad swathes of the population. Labour have failed to grasp this. Tragically, Labour have failed to provide effective opposition to the ideological bankruptcy of austerity since 2010. An opposition with teeth (under Corbyn) would be willing to actually oppose those cuts – the argument of compassion over austerity would pick up a lot of support.

Bombing the SNP and Scotland with love

The SNP are motoring. They have stolen Labour’s clothes in Scotland – because they are now seen as the party in tune with a largely left-wing consensus in Scotland. The SNP look secure in Scotland – a huge body of new MPs and a party currently polling at 60%. Labour should get less tribal and embrace what is happening North of the Border. They should work with the SNP rather than attack them.

Corbyn has already indicated that Labour should think differently in terms of dealing with the SNP. An anti-austerity, anti-Trident, pro public services investment left-wing Labour would be in a far better position to talk to the anti-austerity, anti-Trident SNP than the Blairte Labour right. A progressive alliance between both parties could happen under Corbyn, but it certainly won’t under Cooper, Kendall or Burnham. Labour tribalism has been a terrible strategic blunder over the years. It is time to end that and grow up and work with other parties with similar ideologies. This also applies to alliances with a Tim Farron-led Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Corbyn and Labour have the biggest numbers of support out of any political organisation on the so-called left of centre. They should utilise that advantage and harness a broad anti-austerity anti-Tory alliance – both in terms of parliamentary support and grassroots mobilisation. Potential election pacts between all these parties are one of the straight ways in which the Tories can be beaten in 2020. Grown up cross party alliance should be embraced, rather than tribally ignored. Rigid thinking must be consigned to the dustbin.

Winning the hearts and minds of the 76%

There was no huge swing to the Conservatives in the election. The Tories only got 24% of the entire electorate vote. The Tories won by nasty but effective targeted tactics, media support and ruthless exploitation of the Lib Dems. But, it is incorrect to say that the Tories have locked down endless election wins for a generation.

Labour under Corbyn has more chance of securing new support from disenfranchised voters than any of the other Labour candidates. It has been noticeable that the growing support for Corbyn has come from a broad church – including young voters. The SNP tapped into new voters successfully – especially since the post independence referendum with their own message of being anti establish to anti austerity and progressive. A Corbyn-led Labour could potentially do the same.

Whisper it, but a Corbyn-led Labour could also tap into Ukip supporters. Their growing support through the North England may well have signs of a ‘Red Ukip’ footprint. A Labour party not obviously tied to the out of touch Westminster machine, and able to take a definite questioning line against the issues surrounding the EU – such as TTIP, could win these UKIP voters over.

Debunking the Blair vote winning myth

Tony Blair was lucky. Yes, he won by a landslide in 1997, but it was easy. The Tories were hated. The public were sick of them. A power shift would have happened regardless of who was leader of the Labour Party in 1997. But, Blair wasn’t quite the all things to all people vote winner that perceived wisdom now appears to portray – Labour received less votes in 2001 and 2005 than Neil Kinnock lost the 1992 election with. Slowly but surely since 2001, many core Labour voters walked away. The path of direction by the Labour Party since 2001, has turned off many people. Out of the four candidates, only Corbyn has a real shout in welcoming these voters back.

Left-wing policies can resonate with the mainstream

If we take voter opinion on an issue by issue basis, public opinion can often veer towards to the left – examples of this are fairly taxing the rich, clawing back tax evasion, renationalising the railways and utilities and potentially anti Trident and anti fracking. Ed Miliband dipped his toe in the water by attacking and energy companies – it was the most successful period of his leadership. Unfortunately, he didn’t see this through towards developing similar messages, more joined up thinking and a powerful persuasion.

Jeremy Corbyn has already suggested that many of the above issues will be addressed. Again, if communicated in the right way, it has the potential to resonate to many voters.

Critically, there is no reason to assume some election-winning alchemy must be endlessly based around the neoliberal triangulation model. The model of Blairism has run its course. New Labour is a concept out of time. The public want more transparency, answers and solutions rather watching the Westminster bubble offering nothing new, and failing to adapt to an ever changing world.

The risk factor

Yes, Corbyn’s leadership is risky, but it can also be argued that a Cooper or Burnham leadership is risky – more Blairite triangulation would in effect, be like Miliband Mark II – and with a similar likely outcome – and with unlikely additional support in Scotland or the North of England. It could see core heartland support slipping away even further, whilst failing to dent Middle England as no real art form of opposition is developed.

I will caveat all of this by stating that none of these factors are a guarantee – both in terms of application or support. But, in the same way, there is no guarantee that the Corbyn critics are correct in their assessment of Corbyn’s likely downfall. All of this is crystal ball politics and the politics of assumption.

But, with Corbyn, there exists a fantastic opportunity for Labour to be brave, to do something quite different and be extraordinary. If Jeremy Corbyn wins, and forces within Labour decide to try and destroy him, then more fool them. If that happens, then they fully deserve their inevitable destruction.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East August 14, 2015 at 11:04 am

Labour will get less than 20% and the Tories will have a 100+ majority. It’s a disaster of epic proportions. If the 1983 manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, Corbyn winning the leadership will be one of the quickest suicide acts in history.

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Geoff Elliott August 14, 2015 at 11:51 am

A healthy level of disagreement among the ATL community in regard to the potential outcome of a JC leadership victory then!

I’m afraid I’m with George. The majority of the country is not going to go for this. The narrative has been established and set in stone; Labour caused the financial crisis; benefits are bad and need eradicating; the Daily Mail view of the world is the accepted and desirable norm.

Pessimistic, but that’s the way I see it.

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Charlie_East_West August 14, 2015 at 1:41 pm

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