I have always admired persuasive and articulate people - regardless of their political colours. I am capable of extending my admiration equally to Lord Steel, the late Donald Dewar and William Hague for this very reason. The ability to manipulate language, tone, inference, wit and irony are sufficient ends in themselves and as such are worth aspiring to for their own sakes.
I admire Labour leadership contest frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn for this reason. He speaks with admirable clarity, force and eloquence and should be congratulated for it - it is probably why he is ahead of the other mediocrities in the party's leadership election. However, the problem of eloquence and persuasion is that they can be used for malicious or, in this case, recklessly negligent ends; because make no mistake, the election of Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for Labour and, worse than that, a disaster for British democracy.
This is because Mr Corbyn's flat-cap and whippet style charm and cuddliness as well as his aforementioned articulacy and fluidity of speech are the packaging for two rather stupid proposals. Each of which require exposition.
The first of these is that the British people voted for the most right wing of the conventional political parties at the 2015 UK General election because the other party was not left wing enough. There are obvious, and rather boring, comparisons to be made with the famous 'Longest Suicide Note in History', where Michael Foot's Labour Party issued a manifesto so laden with backward-thinking socialist claptrap at a time when the British people had given their clear support for Mrs Thatcher. I fear that in the possibility of electing Mr Corbyn as the man to lead them into the next UK General election, Labour may be on the brink of making the same mistake all over again
Should they fall into this error, and veer violently off to the left, it will not have been entirely their own fault. Those of us living in Scotland have heard the stupid, heard-like animal bleats of 'Red Tories' for too long - a sentiment served in huge portions by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at each and every First Minister's Questions - to not have it engrained in us.
All that requires to be said to my Labour supporting and voting friends is that in politics, your opponents encourage you to make a move for one of two reasons. The first is to scupper your chances and the second is to make you more like them. You would be well advised to consider carefully the impulses at play before you cast your vote.
The second, more damning, proposal contained within Mr Corbyn's leadership bid can be phrased thusly; the way to improve our country is not only to reverse the course of action that brought us out of the recent recession but also to implement policies similar to those which brought Britain into those circumstances in the first place. Mr Corbyn's platform calls for nationalisation, a massive increase in state spending - and the implicit corresponding debt, tax hikes and cuddling up to the theocratic authoritarians of Hamas and Hezbollah; it is a manifesto for disaster. It would be The Longest Suicide Note in History Director's Cut Special Edition.
Of course, the decision of who should lead the Labour Party is solely and entirely the prerogative of the Labour Party itself. As someone who is neither a Labour member nor a Labour supporter - I've never voted Labour on any level - my opinion could, and maybe should, be disregarded. It is not my decision to make nor a decision I can influence. However, I care, not because I care especially for the Labour Party but because I care about the integrity of our democracy.
Whether one likes it or not, it would appear that the Conservative Party is the natural party of government in the UK. Since the advent of the modern parties, the Tories have been in power for the lion's share of the time and that shows no sign of ending. It is perfectly ok to have a dominant/natural party of government but only if there is a legitimate, serious and viable party of opposition.
In the UK that role ought to be filled by the Labour Party - again, sorry my Labour supporting pals but it's true - and this is not possible if they do not have a serious, modern, realistic political platform. It may well make the left feel good to return to bleating on about nationalisation and raising taxes and spending like a sailor on shore leave but the world and Britain in particular has moved on from those days. The Labour Party can, if they want, return to the politics of the 1970s, but Britain will not be joining them.
It is not a matter of coincidence that Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and implicitly Gordon Brown have urged Labour not to pick Mr Corbyn as their leader. While the current darling of the left may know his history and his socialist credentials are without question, those three men know what it means to turn Labour into a realistic party of opposition and occasional party of government. If I were a Labour supporter, with a vote in this race, I would be on the side of the guys who know how to win and not just how to whine - albeit very articulately.Suggest a correction