Jeremy Corbyn could be our next Prime Minister. Not just statistically, on the basis of the latest YouGov poll that Blair and the PLP have been flapping over, but really. Like really really.
I'm not exactly Corbyn's most genuine champion (nor am I the most left wing pea in the pod) but I honestly think he could appeal to the electorate. Not just the under 30, rich-hating, banker-bashing, animal-rights-and-Russell-Brand-loving types - but real, rational, human beings.
This brain wave came to me after watching Owen Jones being interrogated by the media's modern day Medusa (or Kay Burley to you and me) on Wednesday. Jones, who for once didn't totally come across like a 12 year old allowed to sit at the big kids table on Boxing Day, made the point that the majority of the non BBC Parliament watching electorate (so basically, the ones with lives) don't think in terms of 'left' and 'right'. They are attracted to clear visions, likeable policies, and genuine personalities.
Though the events of the last five years may, at a first glance, conclude that the electorate has moved to the right, I believe that people have merely responded to clarity and sincerity; qualities that defy the political spectrum.
For instance, how else do the pollsters explain why many life-long Labour voters have left their tribe for the right-wing UKIP? Paul from Grimsby didn't make the switch because of some collective transition across the political spectrum, he did it because he liked what UKIP were saying, agreed with their one and only policy on immigration, and probably had a subconscious man crush on Nigel Farage. The same goes for the Scots. Not all those who voted SNP are hardcore nationalists (though the ones on twitter definitely are), but they liked Sturgeon, and more importantly they responded to her clear and unambiguous vision for her nation. I'm not trying to call the electorate simple, but it's an undeniable fact that people respond to simple messages.
Take my dad for example (no, this isn't an X factor sob story). Prior to the never ending election campaign, he was dead set on voting Green, purely because they wanted to renationalise the railways - which were '17p a journey in my day'. The next time I saw my old man he told me he was now dabbling with UKIP, as he had (overnight) become concerned with immigration and the EU. Though my dad may be the only Brit alive to swing from the Greens to UKIP (he didn't end up voting for the latter before I'm hung and quartered by the political correctness police), he accurately demonstrates the fact that the position of the electorate is changeable and dependent on policy rather than rigid ideology.
In an odd, completely ironic way, Corbyn could emerge from this contest as somewhat of a male Margaret Thatcher type figure (I'm not totally insane, promise). He is divisive and will probably be hated by half the population; but he is genuine, principled and has a 'my way or the high way' approach that many may see as worthy of their X at the ballot box.
Many people - including me, prior to my Owen Jones inspired brainwave - wrongly believed that Labour's distant cousin Red Ed lost so spectacularly in May because he was 'too left wing', and because he had a (perceived) image problem. However, though we got over his nasal passages, his bacon sandwich eating skills, and the unnerving way he stared at us down the camera - we still couldn't find it in our hearts to unite behind him.
Therefore I believe that his catastrophic defeat could be interpreted as a result of his lack of ideological clarity and his incoherent narrative (though it was still far too communist for my political taste buds). He tried to make inequality and banker-bashing top of the agenda with the mansion tax and his stance on non-doms, yet supported austerity and voted for Osborne's £30 billion cutting spree. He claimed he was the only party that could save our NHS, yet pledged to invest £5 billion less than the Tories and Lib Dems. Team Miliband confused the electorate; they wanted to be everything to everyone, and as a consequence, they are now nothing to no one.
Instead of chasing the mythical, ever changing 'centre-ground' like headless chickens, politicians should try drawing the electorate to their end of the spectrum. It may be a long and far-fetched process, but the electorate could eventually warm to Jeremy Corbyn out of a begrudging admiration for his confidence and sincerity. For all his faults, even the most true blue of Tories must admit that it's refreshing to know where we stand with a leader in this era of political opacity.
Of course this conclusion is solely dependent on the left and right of the PLP kissing and making up - which seems increasingly unlikely in a week where Chuka Umunna announces his support for an English-only parliament and Margaret Beckett declares herself a moron. However, if the UK's largest left-wing party does indeed elect a left-wing leader (shocking, I know), Labour MPs should throw everything they have into being an unambiguous, united and socially progressive party, who hold the government to account and stand up for what they believe in. Even if they have to resort to gagging Liz Kendall with the bust of Karl Marx.
The only thing more damaging for the future of the Labour Party than Jeremy Corbyn would be if the entire party split, and continued to allow their internal cat fights to dominate the political agenda, as opposed to those insignificant, minor issues of welfare and finance (remember those?). And what's better yet, if Corbyn does achieve electoral success, we need not ever sit through another 8th of May display of smugness from everyone's favourite former PM and war criminal, Tony Blair. Every cloud has a silver lining.
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