Friday, 11 September 2015

Can Corbyn win the Labour leadership contest? We'll know today...

0721hrs, Saturday 12 September 2015: It's going to be quite an exciting weekend on the political front. By around 11am today (Saturday) we should hear who has won the Labour Party Leadership contest and the firm favourite is left winger Jeremy Corbyn. Many say that if he wins, Labour will be unelectable as it will, in a sense, 'revert to type' and take the party back to the dark days of the early eighties when Michael Foot was the leader, followed by Neil Kinnock and the so-called 'loony left' and hangers-on like Derek Hatton, head of Liverpool Council back in the day.
Jeremy Corbyn. Pic from The Guardian

That, of course, remains to be seen and let's not forget that there's over four years before the next general election.

Ever since Corbyn signed up for the contest, the dominant right wing media has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy 'Corbyn bashing' and deliberately mis-quoting or taking out of context his various remarks about different aspects of his policies and his world view. Implicit in everything the right wing media says about Corbyn is the notion that he will be bad for Britain. And it's not just the right wing media. The Labour Party itself has nailed its colours to the mast and said virtually the same things about Corbyn. In fact, the kiss of death for those who don't want Corbyn in charge of the party was Tony Blair's intervention.

Blair is widely criticised internationally by those who feel his actions were responsible for the current chaos in the Middle East. Some have branded him a war criminal. And while Blair is really the only leader of the party who has experienced resounding success with the electorate – he stormed to victory in 1997 and was effectively the political poster boy for 'cool Brittania' – he's also been pilloried for essentially adopting Tory policies to get into power.

For many of his supporters, Corbyn is a clean slate, a breath of fresh air and a move away from the run-of-the-mill politics we're all used to; for a start he's left wing – providing, perhaps, 'proper' opposition for a change. He's radical and, as somebody in the media commented recently, at least he's got ideas and is, if you like, a thought-provoking politician.

People say that Corbyn spells the end of the Labour Party, but I tend to disagree. I can't see either Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper ever being Prime Minister; they're not statesman-like enough. Liz Kendall comes across as the mildy unscrupulous female boss of an SME on an industrial estate who everybody talks about behind her back. Yvette Cooper has that insincere smile when she talks to journalists, so for me, the only really credible alternative to Corbyn is Andy Burnham who has held the lofty role of shadow health secretary and has a down-to-earth Liverpudlian air about him that might win through.

Personally, I hope Corbyn does win as I believe he'll breathe fresh air into a stale political arena and put some interesting alternative points of view to the electorate – for better or for worse. He'll certainly brighten up televised political debate in this country and give David Cameron more than a run for his money at Prime Minister's Question Time. And if, over the next four years or so, he manages to endear himself to the electorate – with his sartorial elegance and liberal studies teacher chic – we might wake up one morning to Prime Minister Corbyn – unless, of course, he's assassinated by MI5.

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