“First of all, anyone describing Corbyn as ‘hard left’ should automatically be disqualified from being taken seriously”
Corbyn and McDonnell have both described themselves as such… but your point still stands.
“leadership has been an inability of his opponents to name one policy other than his unilateralist stance with which they disagree — and that subject, in my opinion, goes beyond any rational debate.”
Well, as Owen points out, Jeremy hasn’t actually announced many policies that weren’t in the 2015 manifesto.
“Kinnock didn’t save the Labour party, except inadvertently, by moving the party to the right he regained a lot of the ground lost to Foot when the SDP split — and remember, Foot was solidly ahead in the polls until the twin events of the Falklands and the SDP split.”
This is very similar to what I mentioned in my earlier response. These are comfort zone answers. Labour would’ve won if it wasn’t for the SDP and the Falklands! Well, maybe. But these are excuses. There will always be excuses why Labour lost that weren’t Labour’s fault. And as long as people keep on looking for excuses, for mitigating factors, rather than looking to what Labour got wrong, Labour will never win. The idea that “We were right, and would’ve won if it wasn’t for the pesky SDP/media/Conservatives/weather” is a recipe for failure.
“The reason I say that Kinnock didn’t save the party is that the ONLY thing which brought Labour to power in 97 was the complete collapse of the Tories: Labour’s percentage of the electoral vote was lower than that of the Conservatives under John Major. If the latter hadn’t imploded and become utterly unelectable, Blair would have been just another in the long list of failed Labour party leaders.”
Yes, he only won a marginal victory. Scraped in by a landslide.
“The myth that you only win elections from the centre ground may very well prove to be a worse legacy to the labour movement from Tony Blair than the Iraq war: it simply isn’t borne out by an informed reading of history.”
Unfortunately it’s borne out by simple mathematics. Most voters are in the centre ground. Most non-voters are in the centre ground, for that matter. But the only thing is to ask; has Labour ever won an election from the left? I can’t think of any examples. Even the 1945 manifesto was pretty centre-ground for its time (people forget that most of it, such as the founding of the NHS, was also in the Conservative manifesto!)
“look at the effect JC has had on Conservative policies in only 9 months — more U-turns and changes of policy than under 5 years of Milliband.”
I’m afraid this is pure cloudbusting. If you stare at a cloud hard enough, it will break to pieces. Similarly, JC has had an effect on Conservative policies. All those things have happened because of Labour Lords, and Conservative backbenchers taking advantage of a small minority. Do you really think that Osborne was swayed by Corbyn’s rhetoric?
“ ”And, no less importantly, he has changed the ground of politics, such that ideas which weren’t even a talking point two years ago — austerity being both ideologically driven and economically illiterate, unilateral disarmament being a respectable option for consideration.”
You do realise that Labour are still in favour of austerity? In fact, McDonnell’s ‘fiscal credibility’ rule (taken from the 2015 manifesto, naturally) means that Labour is now the /only/ party committed to continuing with austerity (i.e. ending the deficit)! But your point about economic illiteracy still stands.
“And the idea that Labour can win under a PR manager like Smith is, I’m afraid, just fanciful: all that will achieve is the ‘re-disengagement’ of huge numbers, and a further drift back to the essential irrelevance of the Milliband years.”
I am becoming increasingly nostaligic for the Miliband years and his 12-point lead in the polls. Of course, that still wasn’t enough to secure a Labour victory, because we made the mistake of continuing wtih an unpopular leader out of a misguided sense of loyalty.
I’m not convinced there will be any ‘re-disengagement’. My feeling, from talking to people while campaigning in the local elections, is that people are crying out for a viable, competent, centre-ground party to vote for, and right now there isn’t one.