THE BLOG

Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn: A Very Real Possibility (In Five Years' Time)

06/06/2017 17:18
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

For any Conservative supporter, the recent narrowing of the polls and extraordinary rise in support of Corbyn is most likely a big worry. However, ignoring YouGov's prediction of a hung parliament, all major polling companies are still predicting a large Conservative majority. So with just four days to go until we vote, it is still almost certain that we will have a Conservative majority government with Theresa May as Prime Minister come June 9th.

Yet, the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn moving into 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister has never been more likely. A poll out on Friday suggests that 40% of the public plan on voting Labour, with the Conservatives 5 points ahead. This is higher than Ed Miliband ever achieved as Labour leader, and disproves the idea that the public wouldn't stomach voting for Labour under Corbyn. Suddenly, Corbyn has become credible. While he's far from winning a majority of seats in this election, five years down the line it isn't out of the question.

After modern elections, it is usually expected that the leader of the losing party steps down. Despite increasing Labour's share of the vote, in 2015 Miliband lost seats and resigned the day after Britain voted. But Corbyn is different. He remains leader despite an overwhelming vote of no confidence in him by his MPs, and has been elected twice in just two years after Owen Jones challenged him for the leadership. The Labour-supporting Mirror newspaper has called on him to resign, as have a large number of left-leaning political commentators. Yet throughout all of this, he has maintained steady support from his core fan group Momentum, and has managed to remain leader even as the polls put the Conservatives 20 points ahead. If he is able to increase Labour's share of the vote, Corbyn will be able to use that to show there is public support for his hard-left policies (even if Labour loses seats).

Corbyn now looks electable. He's improved his public appearance and public speaking, and is starting to come across better. Although public opinion of him remains unfavourable, polling shows this is slowly reversing. This is coinciding with Theresa May losing favourability with the public. If this trend continues - and there is no reason to suggest it won't, especially as Theresa May will inevitably struggle with Brexit - we could be entertaining the prospect of Corbyn winning in 2022.

Moreover, Corbyn's policies are popular. Nationalising the railways has overwhelming public support, as does his plans to abolish tuition fees. Corbyn is more trusted on the NHS than the Conservatives and the same is true of education. At the moment, people see Theresa May as being more trustworthy on managing Brexit and the economy. Combined with Jeremy Corbyn's past, which regularly comes up to haunt him, May is the more credible option. But after another five years of Conservative government, this could easily change.

Assuming May wins this election, which I am, this won't necessarily be the end of Corbyn. If he increases Labour's vote share significantly, which currently looks very likely, he will be able to stay on as leader. This gives him five years to grow the support he's built up during the election and put together a less-rushed manifesto, with better thought-out policies. Theresa May and the Conservative government will constantly be on the defensive, and attacked over Brexit from all over the political spectrum. It's very possible we'll see Corbyn as Prime Minister in 2022.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS