I should probably begin, so there can be no confusion, by saying that I’m not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. He’s an apologist for some horrendous regimes, and he it should be evident to most that values his politics over his country.
But for all the childish games that Conservative Party members have engaged in over the past few weeks – namely registering as Labour supporters so they can vote Corbyn and “really fuck Labour up” in the party’s leadership contest — I think he actually might make Labour attractive again to many of their disenfranchised core vote.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot. That’s why this article hasn’t come quick on the heels of his announcement, or any poll. But it does coincide with some unions claiming they’ll cobble together to back him. And I think they can see what I can see: a Labour Party that desperately needs some fight injected into it. A Labour Party lost at sea for ideological rooting. And a Labour Party that hasn’t really dabbled in old school socialism for decades.
This is what the unions want. And in a sense, it’s what the public wants. Not so much the tax and spend, redistributive economics that a socialist prime minister would herald. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll want an opposition party, and an opposition leader that doesn’t look like a mirror image in front of the Prime Minister during Prime Minister’s Questions on a Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s is how Corbyn could restore Labour’s fortunes over the next few years, paving the way for a more moderate successor to take over just before a general election:
STEP ONE: Win leadership and immediately set on a course to represent a patriotic, old school socialism (shudder) that shuns the metropolitan, liberal elite pet causes and goes after the type of things that people were marching about in London three weeks ago. The NHS, welfare, and even TTIP.
STEP TWO: Turn yourself into some kind of cult figure, recognisable by just your silhouette, and use that, as UKIP does with Nigel Farage, to be a party spokesman on all things bright and beautiful. Exposure. Then someone else can come along and pick up the mantle. A Rand to your Ron Paul.
STEP THREE: March, rebel, but don’t general strike. The public have no time for that sort of thing anymore, and you’ll only play into the cards of people like me if you piss off the average punter.
STEP FOUR: So finally Labour looks like it is standing for something, and you need a new Clause IV moment to cement that. So here it is: come out against mass EU migration, in a big way. You can sell it on the British jobs for British workers basis. Yes, it’s going to annoy a lot of party donors who like their company having cheap labour, and indeed the metropolitan, liberal sect of the party that has taken over. But fuck it, it’s time to make a stand for the working people of Britain.
STEP FIVE: Crowdsourced fundraising. By now you should have a solid base, and can use all sort of new digital wizardry to capture people’s details. Appeal to them on a “The big corporates won’t give us money anymore so we need you” basis. At this point, start introducing and promoting your preferred successor. Someone who has seen what being even just a little bit anti-establishment could do for Labour.
STEP SIX: Step down, it’s two years before a general election and you’re not prime ministerial. Plus you’re fun in theory but people know you’re an old Marxist with questionable beliefs. You were great in PMQs, using that bully pulpit to attack those “mean Tories” but this is the big time. At this point your corporate donors return, too.
Now, I realise I have either given Labour some really good, or really bad advice. But I just don’t buy the line that a centrist left wing figure, when European and American politics are both becoming more polarised, is what would appeal to the British public right now.
They want a fighter. Someone scrappy. And short of reversing the ageing process by 20 years, Jeremy Corbyn is probably the best thing they’ve got. I mean look at Andy Burnham for goodness sake. I mean really, look at him.