Corbyn will transform Labour from political party to pressure group

Corbyn's campaign is about ideologically beating the rest of the left, not winning over the electorate

Photo credit: Lewisham Dreamer 

At the Hay Festival event ‘What Do We Do Now?‘ with Nick Cohen, the left discussed the 2015 election result. Audience opinion during Q&A: the electorate had got it wrong. What they needed was left max to show them the error of their ways. Ed Miliband was left lite, not the real thing let alone the real deal as a prime minister in waiting.

Cohen’s recent must read article ‘Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party: one of them must go‘ talks about how the parliamentary system (which does not support Corbyn)  is at odds with what party members want with a Corbyn presidential style support. I share the pessimism of the piece. It signifies a desire for sublime protest without compromise, rather than politics which appeal enough to win a General Election.

Electoral wisdom once was you had to meet the electorate with their concerns and wants. The left are rejecting this need to appeal for the centre ground.

Corbyn is meant to be the candidate worth voting for. He will give you the real thing – a left party in government. How he does that, without winning over enough of the electorate that voted Conservative, does not matter.

This is about rekindling enthusiasm for Labour members, having bought into the emperors new clothes that Labour had on for the 2015 campaign. The result showed to the party just how naked they looked to the rest of us.

The SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru will never be allowed to upstage Labour again with the mantle of the left, seems to be the rallying cry of Corbyn supporters. Ignore the fact that the Greens lost about a quarter of a million pounds in lost deposits at the general election. Or that Labour membership has been quite solid in recent years.

Discount what Nick Cohen told the audience at Hay, that 58 per cent of the electorate voted for parties with the deepest cuts to the deficit planned. Labour members instead want to have the discussion among themselves to learn the lessons, and ignore those that had warned Ed Miliband was a disaster from the start.

They have concluded they just need a seasoned man of the left to inspire the electorate to vote for them. To hell, once again, with what the media is saying.

As Labour MPs plan coups, the media reports how Corbyn is no prime minister in waiting, that his associations with bigots are too numerous to be down to ignorance of their views. This misses what Labour members are saying by voting for Corbyn.

This is about The Labour Party becoming a protest movement to beat them all. The need for credibility on the economy, statesmanship in international affairs, understanding how the world actually works – the needs of government – no longer apply.

The Conservative Party have understood the electorate better. They get how legislation allows them to transform the nation on ideological lines. They get the need for compromise, negotiation and fancy presentation to win polling day by galvanising the centre ground to vote for them.

That is why they won in 2015 – by being a political party seeking power by getting a mandate from enough of the people.

Labour’s transformation from political party to pressure group may appeal to relatively new members and the old guard hard left activists. People who enjoy being on the streets campaigning for change, rather than in the corridors of power making it happen.

John Sargeant writes on Homo economicus’ Weblog and blogs for the Huffington Post.

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54 Responses to “Corbyn will transform Labour from political party to pressure group”

  1. barry hearth

    Am I envious? You bet!
    When I see those top class Tories laughing their way through my pension, I’m positively mad.
    Westminster is full of over educated idiots who have no conception of ordinary lives lived by ordinary people THAT’S whats wrong with politics, not pissing money, scrounging it or even looting it.
    If I pay my taxes and that money can help another less fortunate, then great.

  2. robertsonjames

    He does normally but that’s as a courtesy because it’s also normally assumed that the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition is both trustworthy and loyal.

    But when he’s actually got a long track record of opposing the UK’s interests at every turn and actively lending aid and comfort to its enemies whenever possible, he’s not going to be given access to acutely sensitive information he can’t be relied upon to keep confidential or not to misuse.

    Indeed the security services will have a fat file on Corbyn’s subversive activities already and neither they nor the USA’s agencies with whom they work very closely will be advising the Prime Minister to give such a high-risk individual with some seriously dangerous friends the usual access to security briefings.

  3. robertsonjames

    Why is it that when I vote in my own financial interests for tax cuts or less government I’m a “selfish bastard” but when someone else votes in their own financial interests for higher welfare handouts or a nice bomb-proof public sector non-job they are acting nobly and altruistically?

    Left-wing double standards? Surely not!

  4. madasafish

    They can’t help it. They are mouthy and wordy but because they can’t cope with the world, whinge. Normal people put their energies into bettering themselves. These put it into complaining..

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