Stephen Bush of the New Statesman has revealed news that has sent shockwaves through Westminster. Jeremy Corbyn MP – Alexis Tspiras played by a sociology lecturer attending an Incredible String Band concert – is apparently in front in the race to become the next Labour leader. This adds to the sense that Labour is having a collective nervous breakdown. The excellent Liz Kendall is being branded as a Tory, despite her having been in Labour for almost 30 years. Harriet Harman is accused of betrayal for pointing out the obvious that Labour lost on the economy, welfare and leadership. And now Corbyn might win.
Stephen reports that:
“Private polling shows Jeremy Corbyn ahead in the first round of voting, a survey seen by the New Statesman has revealed.
The veteran leftwinger has surprised observers by collecting 40 nominations from local parties, just eight less than the bookmakers’ favourite, Andy Burnham. Yvette Cooper has 30. Liz Kendall is way back in fourth place with just five.
But the pattern of nominations actually underestimates Corbyn’s strength among the membership if two seperate polls are to be believed. The surveys, which have been conducted on behalf of two rival Labour leadership campaigns, are bleak news for Corbyn’s rivals.”
Now, private polling must be treated with some scepticism but there is no doubt that sensible Labour types are deeply worried. If Corbyn wins it will be the equivalent for the Tories of winning the Wold Cup three times. They will get to keep Downing Street for ever.
Splendid, say the Tories, who seem to be joining Labour in huge numbers just to vote for the fanatical Corbyn.
But one note of caution. Democracies need a properly functioning opposition and the Tories have a tendency to arrogance, born of the long periods they have spent in power. A monopoly situation is unhealthy in politics as it is in business. Britain needs the sensible parts of the Labour party to keep the Tories on their toes when they are in government, and it needs choice at the ballot box at election time.
Exactly, say crazed supporters of Corbyn. Jeremy is so left-wing that there will certainly be a massive choice at the next election if he wins, which rather misses the point that in a fight between a mainstream Tory party and a Labour party led by Corbyn you might as well cancel the election. Corbyn would get slaughtered by the voters.