Labour Leadership Election: Owen Jones Lays Out Plan For Jeremy Corbyn Election Success

'That's not politics. That's performance art.'

21/09/2016 10:25
Rob Stothard via Getty Images
Writer Owen Jones announces policy ideas for young people at a rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. The Guardian columnist has likened the Labour Left to 'performance art'.

Owen Jones has laid out a plan for how Jeremy Corbyn can succeed if, as expected, he comes out on top in the Labour leadership contest this weekend.

The Guardian columnist laments the current state of the party’s Left, comparing it to “performance art”.

Jones, 32, then lays bare the challenges ahead and how difficult it will be to turn leadership victory into wider public support outside of party members.

Corbyn has consistently performed badly in nationwide polls, most recently being ranked far behind Theresa May in nine out of ten areas including “capable leader” and “understanding the problems facing Britain”.

A full critique from Jones can be found in a blog post here.

The result of the Labour leadership election will be announced on Saturday, with Corbyn expected to win a landslide victory against rival Owen Smith.

William Hill are offering odds of 1/50 in favour, meaning it is 98% likely that he will stay in power.

The entire campaign has seen the Labour party descend into near-civil war as it has split along ideological lines.

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Jeremy Corbyn is expected to win a landslide victory against rival Owen Smith.

The party’s left-wing, primarily boosted by a huge surge in party membership, is backing Corbyn while a more centrist bloc populated by the majority of the PLP has attempted to unseat him, led by Smith.

Debate surrounding the current state of Labour has become increasingly vitriolic and skewed with accusations of bias made at just about everybody.

It has become so distorted, even the Guardian, bastion of the British left-wing press, is now considered right-wing by some. 

Jones himself has been accused of writing for a publication “hostile” to the left.

Meanwhile, those associated with Labour who oppose Corbyn are branded “Blairite”, typified by the so-called “Portland Conspiracy”.

It first appeared on pro-Corbyn website The Canary and outlined a series of loose connections and statements made by Portland Communications employees and advisors.

It claims the PR company is orchestrating the coup through Blairite lobbyists with links to power players in the media and reached a peak when Len McCluskey mentioned it on the Andrew Marr programme in July.

At the same time, the Corbyn camp has been accused of its own murky dealings.

A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary aired on Monday documentary aimed to expose the inner workings of the Corbyn-supporting network, Momentum.

A number of assertions were made in the ‘The Battle For The Labour Party’ including: 

  1. Momentum is trying to “take over” Labour by urging members to “flood” the Party.

  2. Momentum activists tried to conceal their level of involvement with the Labour Party.

  3. Funds meant for Corbyn’s campaign have been misused.

  4. Momentum used a Unite venue meant to be used by the wider Labour campaign.

  5. Momentum is harvesting personal data from Labour members.

Jones himself led criticism of the documentary.

Regardless of the behind-the-scenes dealings of the campaign, the first task of whoever wins will be to try and reunite Labour.

The latest topic to divide members is that of who should elect the shadow cabinet.

Corbyn and shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, are currently locked in a battle with deputy leader, Tom Watson, over leadership election rules.

Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has proposed giving MPs the right to choose the party’s frontbench as a way of “bringing the band back together” following a bitter leadership contest.

However Corbyn has lent his support to the idea of allowing Labour members to choose some of the shadow cabinet - a move that would likely ensure he can keep key allies in post.

Watson has also proposed the NEC scrap the current leadership rules, including the registered supporters category which was seen as key to Corbyn’s 2015 victory, and return to an electoral college system.

You can read Jones’ full blog on the topic here.

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