The so-called Torylites are lamenting the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. They originally welcomed the debate, expecting the ol' dinosaur's antiquated policies to baffle everyone to the right of Arthur Scargill. It hasn't gone according to plan. To the chagrin of the Torylites, Corbyn has been articulate, authentic and passionate. He has emerged on an alternative platform of hope and, shockingly, Labour members quite like that kind of thing. All of a sudden, comrade Corbyn might actually win.
Having underestimated Corbyn - or perhaps having overestimated the other candidates - the right of the Labour Party have emerged in a stark, apocalyptic panic. They are issuing a foreboding warning to members of the Labour Party: vote for Corbyn and everything you hold dear will turn to dust. Apparently, Labour will be consigned to political oblivion and growing inequality will ravage us all. 'We can't win,' the Torylites erratically proclaim amidst vague whisperings of social justice, 'for Chrissake we can't win.'
Labour members are used to this sort of hyperbole from Conservatives, but we are slightly surprised that are own representatives are adopting this strategy. The Torylites, however, fail to grasp that members of the Labour Party thrive off this sort of nonsense. Card-carrying supporters swing left at the first hint of reckless exaggeration. This fearful rhetoric only serves to consolidate our belief in a hopeful alternative.
Corbyn's supporters don't like the Torylites' politics of fear. We also don't accept the premise that Corbyn is unelectable. Harold Wilson once said that 'a week is a long time in politics'. Apparently, however, commentators from all sides can completely predict what will happen in the next five years. They base Corbyn's unelectability on the notion that the economy will continue to grow at a steady rate, folks will all get a nice little job and wages will rise indefinitely. This might indeed be the case. It might not. The future is unwritten.
If the next five years go according to Conservative plans and if winning is our sole objective, then Liz Kendall is surely the favoured candidate. If the Tories hit some minor road bumps, then Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham seem like preferred leaders. If, however, the Conservatives fail in their plans - and this is entirely possible - the electorate might seek a credible alternative. Again, this is all hearsay. Nothing is certain. Five years is a hell of a long time in politics.
Labour members, therefore, are hanging on to what is certain. So, here is what we know. Corbyn is the only potential leader loyal to traditional Labour principles. He was the only candidate to oppose Tory welfare cuts. He is also the only candidate offering an alternative to the Conservative narrative. And, perhaps most importantly, he has emerged as a clear winner in the leadership debates - although he owes this victory to the inadequacies of the other candidates rather than his own brilliance.
As the Torylites continue to condemn the left of the Labour Party, Corbyn's support is growing. Labour members, perhaps unlike the English electorate, do not respond to fear. If the right of the Labour Party want to stop Corbyn, they need to adopt a different strategy. They need to accept that Corbyn speaks to Labour's grassroots and acknowledge some of his progressive ideas. The Torylites might not agree with his policies, but they should applaud the spirit of his politics. The politics of hope, as Zoe Williams explains, will galvanise members of the Labour Party. This, to me, is Corbyn's raison d'être. The Torylites should stop criticising and gather round to praise our chosen man. Ultimately, this might actually prevent him from taking the reins of the Labour Party and simultaneously imbue a sense of hope in the future leader.Suggest a correction