Jeremy Corbyn, the candidate who 'can't win an election', is currently winning the Labour leadership election observes Charles B Anthony
Labour MPs are threatening to oust Jeremy Corbyn in a coup if he becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. More worryingly, some senior figures are even plotting to stop the election, so scared are they that Jeremy Corbyn is running away with it.
Their pathetic excuse for shutting down the most democratic Labour leadership election ever held: a few barmy Telegraph articles pretending to endorse Corbyn, double bluff written to spook Labour into paranoia, and thereby delegitimise Corbyn’s genuine support.
What utter contempt for democracy and the thousands of members and supporters, both old and new, who have been energised and inspired by Corbyn’s uplifting campaign. If they follow through on their threats they will play straight into Tory hands and destroy the Labour Party as we know it.
The MPs who are plotting allege that they are saving the party from electoral defeat. How they can talk with quite so much confidence after initially denouncing Corbyn as a joke candidate is beyond me. Add eight consecutive elections: in the latest Corbyn won a 21,000-vote majority and captured a 40% share of the electorate compared to Burnham’s 32%, Cooper’s 30% and Kendall’s meagre 25%. But such MPs are concerned with neither democracy nor facts and figures. They have bigger concerns than the interests of their members: the protection of unelected vested interests.
Jeremy's campaign is directly funded by the very people he inspires; currently he has raised £50,000 through crowdsourcing via social media. Liz Kendall, on the other hand, it has been revealed is being funded by lobbyists like Tim Allan who runs Portland Communications that work to influence parliament on behalf of arms manufacturers, autocratic regimes and multinational corporations. If the party should be concerned about anyone it should be Kendall. How far the parliamentary Labour Party has come: to the point that that MP’s represent capital more than they do constituents.
Two of Liz Kendall’s biggest fans, Tristram Hunt and Chuka Umunna, threw their toys out of the pram last week responding to the news that Jeremy Corbyn, the candidate who couldn’t lead, was leading! Tristram, on BBC’s Newsnight, suggested that Labour needed to talk about “white working class children”, “radical Islam” and “Englishness”. He summarised that for the Labour Party to win they needed to "re-find patriotism", referring to socialism as “stories from the past”.
Hunt fears Corbyn for his own selfish interests: his job. This is what Labour has let itself become: a vessel for careerists, weathercocks who, as Tony Benn described, point whichever way the wind is blowing, and emissaries of big business and neoconservative imperial interests.
Chuka holding his nose to the electorate called members of his own party "petulant children". How such arrogance will help the Blairites regain their grip is beyond me. If anyone is acting like a child, Chuka, it is you, Tristram and the rest of the generals.
Considering just how much Labour like to talk about business these days it is amazing that they act with zero business acumen. Any good business will know that in order to grow you need to know your numbers. Jeremy has increased membership, towers above the rest in terms of followers online, is leading CLP nominations, is mentioned significantly more times on social media than the rest of the candidates combined, is referred to in a positive light far more than any of the other three, and is leading in poll after poll after poll.
It is a business fact that you will struggle selling what is already for sale. Yes, you want to win support from people who have absconded to UKIP and the Tories but you don’t do that by emboldening their politics. By mimicking their policies you strengthen their vote, not your own. You can only win back voters by challenging misplaced myths - and having a leader who will challenge them.
The Labour Party just followed the Government into passing the awful welfare bill, pushing children into further poverty and falling off a cliff in the process. The Tories secured 308 votes for the bill, if all of Labour’s MPs would have vote against they would have defeated the government. The only leadership candidate to vote against the bill was Jeremy Corbyn. Doing what he does best: leading the opposition and taking on the government. And they wonder why he is currently in the lead. They are on the verge of making themselves totally irrelevant.
How they must be cursing the MPs who helped Corbyn sneak on the ballot. With just six weeks of mainstream oxygen he has transformed the very fabric of debate within the Labour Party, reducing the toxic influence of Blairism. Remember Corbyn and not Kendall was meant to be the joke candidate. If he can do this in such a short space of time then he has a pretty good chance in the next five years of shifting public debate, defeating David Cameron’s right-wing ideology that currently dominates political discourse in the process.
The internet and social media have meant that the likes of Rupert Murdoch are losing their monopoly on influence. Jeremy’s campaign is a shining testament to bypassing corporate channels to go direct to the electorate. He has managed in a very short time to galvanise thousands of supporters and activists and raise thousands of pounds. In 2020 social media combined with a solid anti-austerity message, after years of Tory abuse, will be vital to winning the election.
If the candidates of capital so ingrained in protecting themselves and their paymasters succeed using a few right-wing articles as an excuse to bring down the election it will signal the end of the party. The unions will leave and the record 250,000 membership they so proudly showed off last week will evaporate in an instant. Labour will become irrelevant. All because they wanted to preserve the interests of a privileged few over their very own members. And they could have had it all, power and principles.
Jeremy may not have what it takes, the majority it seems according to a poll by YouGov would disagree, but how do we know if he is not allowed a chance to prove himself. If he successfully sells his vision to the Labour faithful then he has earned his chance to put it to the greater electorate.
Charles B. Anthony is a political and cultural commentator.