Fellow Corbynites, Wake Up: Only a Perfect Storm Can Win Us Power

02/08/2016 17:32 | Updated 02 August 2016
Jack Taylor via Getty Images

In these unpredictable times, one thing seems glaringly certain: if Theresa May calls a snap election, Jeremy Corbyn will be utterly trounced and the brand of politics he represents discredited for a generation.

And right on queue, having read that sentence, a plethora of Corbynites have ditched this article for a warm bubble of angry tweeting and self-congratulatory-holier-than-thou-we're-going-to-win-delusion.

Here's the reality: Labour are around 14% (that's fourteen per cent, people) behind in the polls, not trusted on economic competence and overwhelmingly behind in leadership ratings. In Ed Miliband's time, every equivalent (except bacon sandwich eating) was far, far rosier - and we all know where that ended up.

The gulf Labour must breach to win power is utterly seismic, whatever 10,000 people at a rally (that's 0.02% of the population, and - I bet - virtually zero swing voters) might say. So lets stop pretending that the already converted showing up to protest marches, surging Labour membership and a few random by-election results is proof that Corbyn is all set for a landslide victory. Still not convinced? Then ask yourself: what would it take for you to be?

My Dad, whose politics are different to mine, is a remarkably reliable barometer of British public opinion. He called the general election and Brexit months before they happened, which probably makes him better qualified than every pollster. His verdict on perceptions of Corbyn? "Scruffy" - a throwback to the 1980s. That stuff matters, because Joe Average in Nuneaton does not vote based on 'left' and 'right' - they whine about politicians all 'being the same', then promptly bumble into a voting booth and pick the most clone like suit with the best sound bytes.

Take Cameron and Osborne. They presided over the worst financial recovery in a century, broke their deficit promises, increased public debt and lost Britain's triple A rating. But they got away with it, because they were decent media managers: it's not the economy, stupid; it's the presentation.

And yes, we can blame Corbyn's presentation (mainly) on the media, the PLP and public ignorance, but it does not matter one jot. Us Corbynites are blindly running off the edge of a cliff, cheering excitedly about increasing our share of the vote in the Bellingham (Lewisham) council by-election by 2.8%. Get real. We have not even started on the consequences of incoming boundary changes and Scotland's potential independence. Call me Blairite for spelling it out if it makes you feel better, but unless we make dramatic changes, the future is bleak.

We do not have to ditch Corbynite ideas - that was the whole point of this Labour revolution - so Owen Smith is beyond the pale. Yet it was never about Corbyn the man (was it?) so, whilst he seems to me like an integrity-filled, wise uncle, I am not naive enough to think the public agree and as such, ideally, he should step aside for his preferred candidate - perhaps Clive Lewis, Cat Smith, Lisa Nandy or (we're all thinking it) Owen Jones if/when they respectively become older, more radical and interested. That's all fantasy because Corbyn will win again. We will have to settle for a dramatic improvement in his presentation - which should become one focus of the leadership election.

Meanwhile, Labour has to embrace proportional representation, a progressive alliance, an immigration dividend, universal income and get hundreds of thousands of activists campaigning. Those radical five steps might get us into a coalition, but probably not. Now that the Tories have stopped ripping themselves apart, for Labour to stand a chance, a recession (and all the awfulness that brings) would have to happen, alongside an as yet unknown crisis engulfing the May administration and lots of luck. In that 'perfect storm' scenario, we could, perhaps, form a government.

Most importantly, though, Labour must (FOR GOD'S SAKE) develop a decent media strategy and unite. Easier said than done, but just look at what's at stake. Cruella de May is talking in laughably progressive terms despite being in a government which oversaw rocketing homelessness, child poverty, food bank use and inequality. Expect more of the same plus bucket loads of elitism and privatisation: anyone who has The Daily Mail wetting themselves in excitement is serious bad news. Meanwhile, the clueless trio of Trump-lite twerps negotiating Brexit will either ditch the single market (let calamity ensue) or forfeit immigration promises - thus handing UKIP a free pass to a load of seats, or, in the worst case, leading to race riots. Think that's hyperbole? Have a read about what's been going on in the streets of your country since that monumental clusterfuck of a referendum happened. I know reality is hard to face right now, but this stuff is actually going on and Labour need to get back into power by 2020 at the latest to change it.

So, chicken coup initiators, unless your 'unelectable' tag was always meant as a self-fulfilling prophecy and you fancy that bleak future, you better unite behind Corbyn when he wins and try to help on the presentation front. As for Corbynites, wake up to the political reality and help change it. More than just the next government, the outcome of any election featuring Corbyn will decide the left's chances for decades: and without a perfect storm it could be curtains.