From the outset, let me make it clear, this isn’t the usual blinkered-tory criticising Corbyn’s leadership for the sake of party political point-scoring, I’m actually a kipper. I wrote before that despite the state of the Labour party, there is still a possibility of a Labour victory in 2020.
A poll by Opinium for the Observer found that only 45% of Labour party members thought Jeremy Corbyn would be the best Prime Minister raising fresh questions over the effectiveness of his already battered leadership credentials.
A great fabled witticism applies here, the one about the pot calling the kettle black. A polling company concluding that the conclusions which others have arrived at may lack accuracy. So in the sense that while it may appear the Labour leadership are arriving at false conclusions, similarly the polling industry has been missing the target over and over on recent major issues. The trouble for Corbyn however is that a polling result like this seems legitimate. Such is the quality of his leadership, the result of this poll isn’t shocking and adds to the already enormous pressure on him to step down.
Within Labour there is now a distinct split. Every other major party is united, Labour is definitely split. When you question anyone from Labour about this you can reasonably expect one of two responses. Either they will blame the tory-controlled media for attempting to unsettle Corbyn and weaken the party or they will claim there is no split at all. Within the membership the old hard-left Leninists have the upper hand and their man at the helm. The other side are less united but share a common belief in the idea of anyone but Corbyn.
A split like this doesn’t happen overnight though. The real bad news for Labour is that a rift of these proportions, which you could trace right back to the 1980s and the mistaken adherence to the failed ideas of 70s Labour is in danger of becoming party tradition. Indeed, many of today’s younger Labour party members may not even know why the party is split but take a side nevertheless.
Standing at the outside looking in as a neutral observer you could reasonably conclude that one possible cause of this Labour rift is strikingly obvious. Leadership; with a better leader the energy being used to fuel the infighting could be tapped and put to better use. But that’s not Jeremy’s style. Jeremy plays the long game. With the party ideologically hollowed out by Blair a vacuum was created and the strongest remaining ideologue slipped in to lead by default. Building his powerbase over decades means it is not just impossible to change but actually inconceivable. Jeremy is a weapon of mass destruction for Labour. He does not lead like a strong Admiral in command of a fleet of battle-ready warships. But rather as a sapling who fainted, absent at earlier opportunities and the only one left standing after destruction of everything else.
It would be a mistake to read too much into the result of this poll of 2000+ party members though. Unfortunately polling companies select samples and weight results to produce certain outcomes to substantiate particular claims. This was highlighted stronger than ever with last year’s Brexit result. Whilst this result probably isn’t too far from the truth and an easily imaginable reality Labour ought not to be discounted, even with WMD Corbyn in post. Corbyn has the look of the sort of chap who keeps his excretions pickled in labelled flasks in his basement. He was sad when C&A ceased trading in the UK shutting down his supply of beige windbreakers, even sadder when he heard about BHS. His character as a leader is incomplete; you must lead on all fronts if you want to win. Jeremy is just there because there wasn’t anybody else. He will never be Prime Minister and 55% of his flock willingly admit it.