3 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is an ill-informed activist, not a leader


Is Jeremy Corbyn in trouble? ‎Bookmakers William Hill have cut the odds on Yvette Cooper winning the Labour leadership. She was at 10/1 and today she is at 5/1 and second favourite.‎ I never thought I would say this, but: Go Yvette!

Of course Jeremy Corbyn, the vest-wearing Marxist, is still the front-runner and numerous veteran observers of Britain’s opposition party say that it is all over. They might as well give it to Corbyn now, according to the doom merchants.

But, but, but…

In the last few weeks Corbyn has looked shaky. During his appearances on television he has wittered on like a confused sociology lecturer at a bar meeting non-Marxists for the first time. This man is – for all the support he has attracted from starry-eyed lefties looking for the next Fidel Castro – pretty ropy when pressed.

Whenever a particularly batty idea he has endorsed or not knocked down with sufficient force is questioned he looks hurt and falls back on the defence that it’s “just an idea.” He’s just “putting it out there” for debate.

That was how he responded when Yvette Cooper took him apart in the Channel 4 hustings on the subject of QE, explaining the economic facts of life to him in the process. He looked baffled.

Is it possible that enough Labour members or friends, who can vote for £3, have seen these performances and picked up on the negative stories? The equating of 9/11 with the death of Osama Bin Laden was creepy, nasty stuff. Will enough Labourites see sense with clock at one minute to midnight?

The Sun’s Harry Cole reported that little more than half of those who can vote have done so. Others say that many of those who haven’t cast a vote won’t bother.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Corbyn and his team have been taken aback by the media pressure. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. If he wins it will be much, much worse than this. There’s PMQs to handle, a shadow cabinet to appoint, a parliamentary party to manage and a speech to make to British voters.

First, he has to win. And I stress Corbyn may already have done so. No-one who claims to know definitively has a scooby (scooby doo, clue). I can appreciate why this is not very helpful. The Corbyn phenomena has foxed political analysts almost as much as the British general election and the rise of the Scottish Nationalists. I’m thinking of taking up writing about nuclear physics. That’s got to be easier to understand than British politics these days.

But if Corbyn does lose narrowly, it may because with a couple of weeks to go it became apparent to anyone remotely sensible that Corbyn is a professional activist, not a leader. He is someone who is sincere, inexperienced to the extent that he has never run anything and about the last person who can command the loyalty of MPS, let alone inspire voters in places that voted Tory last time. Worse, some, I stress some, of those those supporting him are viciously anti-semitic nutjobs incapable of tolerating criticism. What a mess Labour is in.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX