Bookies' favourite, frontrunner in the polls, backed even by voters in Scotland - it seems now nothing and no one is going to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming the next Labour leader. Not that many haven't tried: the right-wing media troika of The Sun, the Daily Mail and The Telegraph have done their bit by scraping the barrel to paint Corbyn as a heartless husband and anti-Semite, but mostly it's been those within Corbyn's own party delivering the worst blows. The leadership rivals have pitched in of course - Liz Kendall has called Corbyn a potential "disaster" for Labour, while Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper share the opinion that Corbyn would turn Labour into a mere "party of protest". Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, meanwhile, have all conjured up their own apocalyptic visions of Labour under Corbyn.
By now, you've probably heard the 'Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable' line (which, as the man himself pointed out, can hardly be true when he's been voted in eight times as an MP already) so many times you've lost count. We'll see in 2020 (providing the current government makes it that far) how true this argument is, but right now the fact is that Corbyn is quite the opposite of 'unelectable'. If social media chatter and sell-out crowds weren't evidence enough, a recent poll suggests that, to the general public, Corbyn is actually considered the most electable of the Labour leader candidates. According to Survation, should he win the leadership bid, Corbyn would be the Labour head that supporters of rival parties would be most likely to vote for in the next election.
This should be music to the ears of Labour officials desperate to reclaim the votes they lost in 2015; with reports suggesting some ex-Labour voters may never return, the party needs all the help it can get. And, with Labour's perceived fiscal irresponsibility proving to be one of the main reasons voters shied away from Labour in May, the chances of the party will not be helped by a leader that refuses to correct the false notion that Labour crashed the economy in 2008. While Corbyn has vehemently denied the Labour crash lie, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall have been apologetic, chastising their own party for something that never happened. Yvette Cooper has joined Corbyn in rejecting the Labour crash narrative, but sided with Burnham and Kendall in abstaining from voting against the Welfare Reform bill - designed to correct the alleged mistakes of the last Labour government, and opposed by Corbyn - all the same.
It's not true that Burnham and Cooper - Corbyn's main opposition - are closet Tories, as some have claimed. But when they agree with or decline to oppose Tory policy, they fail to be an effective opposition, either. Neither are what Labour needs right now: The party lost votes at the last election not because it wasn't promising a socialist paradise, but because Ed Miliband was being pulled in so many different directions he ended up standing firm on virtually nothing at all. Because Miliband's Labour only offered a watered-down alternative to what Cameron's Conservatives were promising, voters either went for the real thing or sought a more appealing substitute for Labour. Former Labour voters went to UKIP, the Conservatives, the SNP and to the Greens.
Liz Kendall, it seems, is already out of this race; no bad thing for Labour, as Kendall's ideas for an Australian-style, points-based immigration system, pro-business approach and opposition to cutting education fees and a 50p rate of tax, would effectively turn Labour into another Conservative Party, thus finally dooming Labour into irrelevance. Burnham and Cooper are different, but still they offer compromised visions. Like Ed Miliband, they represent a Labour seemingly cowed by the right-wing media into accepting the Tory narrative so as not to deter voters. Like middle-of-the-road musicians, in their quest to appeal to everyone, Burnham and Cooper - like Miliband before them - have ended up appealing to hardly anybody at all.
Not that Burnham and Cooper haven't had high-profile endorsements, the former from the Mirror and the latter from the Guardian. But even the Guardian's rationale for choosing Cooper - that Cooper will unite the left, centre and centre-right of the party - ignores one key issue: that whoever wins the leadership bid, Labour alone doesn't stand a chance of coming to power in 2020. Unless a miracle occurs, at the next election, Labour will likely need to form a coalition to have any chance at ruling; and nobody is more likely to unite the requisite parties of the left than Jeremy Corbyn.
Whilst Corbyn has suggested he would be prepared to join forces with the SNP, Yvette Cooper has already ruled out such a coalition should she become Labour leader; with support of the SNP holding steady at 62% in Scotland, that almost guarantees a Cooper Labour loss in 2020. Corbyn, on the other hand, is finding support from all over: not only is Corbyn poised to win back at least some voters for Labour in Scotland, UKIP and Lib Dem voters have similarly expressed support, while it's been suggested an alliance with the Green Party would be viable with Labour under Corbyn.
This endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn is, admittedly, in part to do with the man's record; as one of Parliament's lowest expenses claimants; as the Labour MP to vote against the party whip more than any other; as someone who protested apartheid, opposed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and supported LGBT rights when such views were unpopular; as the only Labour leadership hopeful to oppose Trident and austerity. The fact is Jeremy Corbyn would get this writer's support anyway. But it would now seem - based on the evidence and public opinion - Corbyn is the only one with a chance of winning for Labour at the next election anyway. The Labour Party has become obsessed with gaining power, seemingly at any cost; it should, then, not oppose but embrace Corbyn - in all likelihood, he's Labour's only real chance.
This article previously appeared on Shamocracy.