Jeremy Corbyn is not the Messiah, he’s a very dangerous man
Oh dear, oh dear oh dear. Just when you thought it was safe to come out from behind the sofa and take a look at Labour again, they go and do something so stupid as nominate Jeremy Corbyn, a man previously known only as the political equivalent of a non-entity — “a good constituency MP” — for leader.
“How bad could it be?” I hear you cry. He’s a cuddly old socialist; just a make-weight, not a serious contender. To exclude him would be to ignore an entire wing of the party who believe Labour lost because they weren’t left wing enough. Surely we can’t crush democracy be excluding him.
Many in the party agree. Owen Jones, a regular Guardian columnist and man of such political judgement as to believe David Cameron should have been worried by Russell Brand’s endorsement of Ed Miliband, believes Corbyn’s inclusion is a great thing.
“Genuine political debates are good for democracy, because they force each candidate to define their views clearly and avoid relying on platitudes. With the current leadership candidates dancing inelegantly on the head of a pin, we have learned little — other than just how uninspiring, stale and vacuous a party leadership contest can be. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn’s entry into the Labour leadership race is so important.”
Ken Livingstone — the former London Mayor — approves of Corbyn’s nomination, as does a possible Labour Mayor of the future — Diane Abbot
I am delighted that Jeremy Corbyn is seeking to run for leader. For the union link, anti-war, internationalist, anti-racist, anti-austerity
— Ken Livingstone (@ken4london) June 4, 2015
We have done it ! #jeremy4leader pic.twitter.com/R2tKh1yBkn — Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) June 15, 2015
Intriguingly though, they aren’t the only ones rooting for Corbyn. Within hours of his nomination, the hashtag #Tories4Corbyn sprang up, aiming to mobilise as many Tories as possible to pay the Labour party’s £3 membership fee in order to vote for him — so sure are they that he will inevitably lead Labour to electoral oblivion.
But that’s not why he shouldn’t be on the ballot.
The Dangerous Man
Before understanding why he’s so dangerous to Labour even if he doesn’t win, it’s worth dispelling the myth that Jeremy Corbyn is some pleasant “elderly uncle” type figure. He isn’t. He is a man with a history of outlandish and immoral views that on their own should make him ineligible to run for high office in any serious party.
His friends resemble an international line-up of the terrorist “Usual Suspects”. Hezbollah — check. Hamas — check. This man invited “friends” of both terrorist groups into the House of Commons saying it was;
“my pleasure and my honour (to host) .. our friends from Hezbollah and our friends from Hamas”
I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that he’s talking about extending “debate” to those whose stated aim is that “Islam will obliterate Israel”. Hezbollah on the other hand support Jewish migration to Israel because, as the leader of the organisation said “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide”.
It’s not just today’s terrorists he sympathises with — he has history. He invited the IRA into the Commons in 1984 and observed a minute’s silence for the 8 terrorists killed by the SAS in 1987.
I guess debates are good for democracy, no matter what despicable views are being propagated.
His domestic views are little better than his foreign policy judgements. He is the worst kind of opinionated, inflexible, left wing militant. He once said he could not be friends with anyone who “isn’t left wing” and divorced his wife following a dispute over which school to send their son. She wanted to send him to a solid independent school. He preferred to dump him in a failing comprehensive. They divorced as they were “incompatible”.
This is but a taste of his failings and he should expect scrutiny of it all given he’s running for leader of the party. He is not a harmless, cuddly old socialist — he’s a crusty, belligerent dinosaur unworthy of high office, or any office for that matter.
But even with all this baggage, this still isn’t the reason his nomination is dangerous to the Labour party.
Corbyn the centre of gravity
All his electorally incendiary views count for nothing in reality because he won’t win. He won’t even come close. He’ll lose in the first round in all likelihood. He’ll make a laughing stock of the Labour party until September when they’ll come to their senses, remember they are a serious party and kick him into the electoral wilderness where he belongs.
Only political anoraks will remember his name in 2020 — a strange, socialist apparition, long since faded away.
However, his impact on the leadership election won’t be in what he says, but in what his presence in the field will cause the serious candidates to say and do. To understand this effect, one needs to reflect on the Labour leadership election mechanics.
Being on the ballot at all lends credibility to his crack-pot views. Each of the other candidates will have to hear him out, respond to his views and in all likelihood agree with some of them because — unfortunately — they need his supporters’ votes once he drops out. Once a candidate drops out, his votes are transferred to the other candidates via “second preferences” in the AV system Labour uses.
To gain these second preference votes, the serious candidates will all have to “out-left-wing” each other. This will have the effect of dragging all of the candidates away from the hallowed centre ground, where the party needs to be.
In practical terms, thanks to the changes to the electoral system, each candidate will have to say these things in public, loudly, so as to appeal to anyone only partially listening but able to vote — it only costs £3 after all.
They can thank Ed Miliband for the one-member-one-vote system he left behind for that.
They won’t be able to get away from what they say because all the while the Tories will be watching and painting the Labour party into a corner as they did with Miliband in 2010. He never got away from the “red Ed” caricature and the next leader won’t either — because they’ll be painting it themselves!
Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the saviour of the Labour party; he doesn’t herald the rebirth of some utopian, socialist dream and he isn’t good for debate.
He is a joke. A joke at the expense of the party he claims to love. He has gone a long way to losing the 2020 election for Labour, not because of what he says, but because of who is and his being on the ballot at all.
Originally published at www.thelaymansterms.com on June 17, 2015.