Why Corbyn is the logical, centrist move
I like Jeremy Corbyn. But I’m also not an idiot. I can perfectly well comprehend the argument against the Labour party electing him leader. He’s a gamble. The rest are not. The others will make minor gains from the Tories, which will be enough to oust them from their majority, and SNP-willing, put Labour back in power, albeit in an uneasy, difficult coalition.
Corbyn is a roll of the dice. I believe he’s the only candidate capable of winning an outright majority in 2020. I also believe he’s the only candidate capable of actually losing Labour seats. So on that evidence, it’s too risky, right?
Except there is no real risk. The next election is five years away. If Labour elect him as leader (and give him a genuine chance, or at least don’t actively undermine him), they can spend a few years watching what happens. If he crashes and burns, oust him and put someone new in. Hell, Corbyn is the one person standing in this election that would step down of his own accord if it looked like he had no shot at an election.
The reason he was on the ballot in the first place is a bunch of Labour MPs supported him in order to broaden the conversation during the process, and incorporate a greater variety of views. They didn’t expect him to win. And that’s actually sound thinking, but it’s thinking you can apply further – why not do it on a national scale, broaden the debate nationwide for a couple of years, show what a true alternative looks like and see if anyone might be interested in voting for it.
Yes, there will be some damage, that’s a couple of years that you’re not building up the media profile of a fresh new face, and yes, it might put off a few people for good. But honestly, if you’re one of the other leadership candidates and you’re worried two years isn’t enough to overturn a Tory majority of six then you really shouldn’t be here.
The irony is, of course, that the only reason this approach is possible is because of Cameron’s Fixed-term Parliament act. Without that, a Tory majority this small, watching a recently elected leader crash and burn, might well call an early election in order to strengthen their numbers while they had the chance. That’s no longer an option.