Corbynite post-election excuses we’ll be hearing:
Labour are not going to win this election.
But “winning”, when it comes to Corbynites, is a word with many meanings. Did you campaign as a true left wing candidate and not as a red tory? Well then, you’ve won a moral victory, even if you got absolutely hosed at the polls.
The far-left do not care about winning this election. After Kinnock broke their choke-hold on Labour, they patiently spent the next 30 years organising, demonstrating, and awaiting their chance. As far as they are concerned, by taking over Labour, they have already won.
Labour moderates who have hunkered down and decided to wait this one out, having apparently convinced themselves that “this too shall pass”. They are mistaken. The far-left will campaign far more vocally to remain in control of Labour than they will for Labour to win a general election.
The likelihood is high that the post-game analysis to explain Labour’s forthcoming loss is already being prepared. The founders of woke “media” sites which pay their contributors pennies, the PhD’s in radical Irish feminism, former BBC journos going through mid-life crises, the few far-left commentators with gigs at centre-left publications — their wheels are doubtless already churning with the excuses, justifications and hot takes which will tell us all, in the most patronising way possible, how we are just not bright enough to understand how this was a massive win for the ideas they believe in.
But why wait? We can have a look at some of those excuses right now. For example…
1) “Corbyn did better than the opinion polls said. This equals a win”.
At the moment the opinion polls are giving a solid two-digit lead to the Conservatives. But for Corbynistas to try and spin this as a famous victory, all they will have to do is lose badly, rather than cataclysmically.
This absurd and pathetic technique has already been put into use by Cat Smith, one of the few loyal Corbynistas in the parliamentary Labour party. A few months ago Labour lost a by-election in Copeland, the first time a sitting government had won a by-election in 35 years.
The remarkable piece of spin attempted by Ms Smith went as follows:
“At a point where we’re 15–18 points behind in the polls, to push the Conservatives within 2,000 votes I think is an incredible achievement”.
Of course, this was perhaps slightly less of an achievement when you consider that the constituency of Copeland, and its predecessor, Whitehaven, had been held continuously by Labour for over 80 years. But expect to hear this a lot more after June 8th, with lines such as “the polls said Labour would lose over 100 seats — and we all know the polls underestimate Tory support! But thanks to Corbyn, we kept 50 of those seats we were slated to lose”.
We’ve seen a similar reaction today as Labour have slumped catastrophically in local council elections. John McDonnell has been making the TV rounds, claiming that since Labour didn’t do as badly as the polls predicted (which local polls he is talking about, no-one can say) this is a victory of sorts. Look at his face, though — even he doesn’t believe what he’s saying.
2) “Corbyn won millions of votes!”
Corbynistas love to talk about Jeremy’s massive mandate — of Labour party members. The likelihood seems high that the public, as a whole, will be somewhat less enthusiastic. But Labour will still receive millions of votes, as they do every election. And despite innumerable examples of people saying they will vote Labour despite Corbyn because they have a decent local candidate, every vote Labour take will be claimed by the Corbynites. Labour won’t have won those votes, “Jeremy” will.
In May 2015, Labour won 9,347,304 votes to the Conservatives’ 11,334,576.
Labour lost 26 seats all in all, and Ed Miliband resigned the next day. It was an obvious defeat. But although Ed had the Milifandom, he didn’t have the diehard supporters Corbyn has, otherwise we would have been hearing how “under Ed Labour’s vote share increased (it did, by 1.5%) and Labour gained 700,000 votes!”
However, in an election like this, there is unlikely to be any clear way to make Corbyn look good. Labour’s share of the vote will fall. Their number of seats will fall. The number of people actually voting for them will fall. But Labour will still receive millions of votes — so that is what we will hear. “Millions of people voted for Corbyn across the country” is likely to become a popular refrain, leading on to “By going against Corbyn, you are going against the will of millions of people, red tory scum”.
3) Corbyn’s opponents lost their seats. His supporters didn’t. What does that tell you?
Well, what it should tell you is that many Labour MPs in swing seats had no illusions about the toxic reputation Corbyn enjoys among both swing voters and even Labour centrists. Of course, since most of the PLP opposes Corbyn, this means that many opponents of Corbyn from within the PLP have safe seats as well. But many who have been the most vocal have marginal constituencies — and some will likely lose these.
The vindictive joy we will see from Corbynites at such MPs losing their seats will far outstrip the anger we’ll see from them at Labour’s significant loss. But they will also see this as an opportunity to try and clumsily bully the Labour MPs and Labour members who saw what a disaster Corbyn would be and have always said as such.
That means we’re likely to see headlines from click-bait far-left “news sites” (conspiracy peddlers) such as “These former MPs learned what happens when you rebel against your party’s elected leader — you won’t BELIEVE number seven”, or “THESE MPs supported Jeremy Corbyn. THESE didn’t. Look who’s left in Parliament”. The temptation will be to slam your head into the desk multiple times to try and erase that particular obvious piece of imbecility from your head, but, best to be patient — you’ll want to wait until the end before doing that.
4) The media was against us!
As excuses go, this one is the perennial favourite of the Left, and is that much more toxic because it’s partly true. Large swathes of the media in this country are right wing. Everyone knows that. But normally the media has to work overtime to try and find things that might make the Labour candidate look bad (eating a bacon sandwich, for example). When you choose a leader who has embraced terror organisations, has a pretty ambiguous attitude towards national defence, and is surrounded by people even more dubious than he is, there’s no need to try and portray him in a bad light — he does that all by himself.
Let us consider this anecdote from the Financial Times. Every election the Conservative party has a team ready to call broadcast media to complain that the Tories aren’t getting enough airtime. This election, the team has allegedly been calling up broadcast media — to complain that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t getting enough airtime.
But never mind, comrades — the path to the promised land is that way, right over that cliff!
5) Kinnock was given two elections to prove himself — Corbyn should get the same
Ok, this is not so much an excuse as an argument for maintaining a dreadful situation. But we will hear this. We all know it’s coming. Kinnock lost in ’87, it is true. He was then challenged by Tony Benn, but beat him decisively. Could Labour have won in 1992 if they had been led by someone other than Kinnock? I don’t know. Will Labour do better at the next election if Corbyn is still leading them? No. Will Labour do better at the next election if Corbyn is not leading them? That depends on whether Corbyn has been replaced by someone half decent rather than one of his shadow cabinet groupies, many of whom are almost as useless as he is. And Labour has lurched so far to the left that I’m not sure that will happen.
(Ok, NOW you can slam your head into the desk multiple times, if you’re so inclined).