On the BBC’s Question Time, after the polls closed in the devolved and local elections taking place across the UK, there was a revealing little exchange when the gentleman from Ryanair tried to explain to a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn in the audience that her man is completely unelectable. She would not hear it and shook her head despite his assertion being so evidently obviously true.
Inside a social media echo chamber it is possible for activists – and us commentators too – to convince themselves and ourselves of all manner of nonsense. Corbynistas, flush with their victory in the Labour leadership election in 2015, do seem particularly delusional though. How can anyone think that Corbyn can win seats next time that went to the Tories in 2015 because voters were not convinced by Ed Miliband? Mili E looks like JFK compared to Corbyn.
But the Corbynistas are going to need more than a dismissive shake of the head and radical rhetoric unless they produce a great set of results in these devolved and local elections. They must be held to what they said last year about his and their brilliance.
- Corbyn’s left-wing authenticity was going to be a great aid in helping Labour fight back and begin a recovery in Scotland.
- He had galvanised all those non-voters (one of the great delusions of insurgent movements). If he has, Labour must have done brilliantly in these elections.
The Momentum crowd must not be allowed to hide behind a victory in London either if that is how it turns out. London is a Labour city and Boris won it because of his charisma. If Sadiq Khan is the new mayor of London, that does not vindicate Corbyn. Let’s see instead what happens in the council elections and in Scotland. And let’s measure the Corbynistas according to their own predictions that he would spark a highly popular electoral revolution.