Jeremy Corbyn supporters sat down to tackle some of the most commons questions they are asked in the course of their political activism
Q1) Isn’t Jeremy unelectable?
“He’s been elected eight times in Islington.”
True, but being popular in your constituency does mean you can win a national vote. Ed Miliband went into the 2015 General Election with a majority in Doncaster North of 10,909. While his share of the vote went up last May, he didn’t become Prime Minister.
Also, as he represents a safe seat, it is unclear if Corbyn knows how to win a marginal or swing consituency – precisely they kind Labour needs to pick up it hopes to be in Government after the next election.
“Vote for him”
This is a rather beautiful way of thinking that people would vote for Corbyn if only they believed everyone else would.
In order to achieve this vision, Corbyn supporters will need a huge turn around in the opinion polls. According to ukpollingreport.co.uk, of the 97 opinion polls conducted since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, Labour has been in the lead in three.
“He couldn’t be beaten by other Labour contenders.”
This is true, but does that mean that every winner of internal election goes on to become Prime Minister? Hugh Gaitskell, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock and Ed Miliband prove the answer is, of course, no.
“No one predicted Leicester would win the Premier League.”
True. But that’s football though. That’s not politics. Leicester didn’t have to go round the country convincing people why they should win the league, they played 19 other teams twice throughout the season and won the most points. Because they are a football team.
Q2) Are you a Trot?
“Does anybody know who Trotsky is?”
Corbyn certainly does. In 1988 he signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for the “complete rehabilitation” of Leon Trotsky and that the revolutionary should have his achievements formally recognised by the Russian state.
Another person fully aware of Trots is Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who sent a dossier highlighting Trotsky infiltration into Labour to Corbyn in August.
Trotsky advocated revolutionary socialism, an ethos always rejected by the UK Labour Party who believe in democratic socialism
Q3) How many croissants have you eaten today?
Is this really one of the questions Corbyn supporters are asked the most? Fair enough if it is, but of all the questions they get asked, this is one of the most frequent?
The accusation was leveled at Corbynistas by former Labour MP Dave Watts in his maiden speech in the House of Lords last year.
“My advice to my own party leadership is that they should take less notice of the London-centric hard left political class who sit around in their £1 million mansions eating their croissants at breakfast and seeking to lay the foundations for a socialist revolution,” said Lord Watts.
It is not just croissants which Corbynistas are apparently famed for eating. Corbyn is a vegetarian and even used an appearance at the British Kebab Awards to extol his love of falafel.
The croissants insult is perhaps more of a signifier of the perception that Corbyn is out of touch with ordinary voters – especially those in Labour heartlands. His reluctance to sing the national anthem, his previous support for abolishing the monarchy and his sympathies for IRA terrorists are all unlikely to help him win over patriotic voters
Q4) Do you hate Europe?
“I campaigned against Brexit, knocking on people’s doors and everything.”
Perhaps this question comes up because, according to the man who ran the Labour IN campaign, Corbyn and his allies “were actively undermining the party’s efforts” to keep the UK in the EU.
In a letter to fellow MPs Alan Johnson said at least three members of Corbyn’s team “wanted Leave to succeed and at best Jeremy could not control them; at worst he was sympathetic to their views.”
Q5) Do you promote antisemitism?
“I certainly wouldn’t stand for anti-Semitism if I saw it anywhere.”
If this is one of the questions you are being most frequently asked, surely that should raise concerns about the perception of Corbyn and his supporters?
The issue of antisemitism has flared up since Corbyn became leader – and not just because of Ken Livingstone’s frequent references to Adolf Hitler.
Claims of antisemitism in the party led Corbyn to ask human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti to launch an inquiry into the matter.
Yet even the launch of the report was marred in controversy, with Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth walking out of the event after being accused by a Momentum activist of working “hand-in-hand” with the media to damage Corbyn.