Thanks to Martyn Richards (@MartynRichards) for this short commentary on the question I posed on Twitter. Although a brief piece, hopefully this article will spark debate and other writers into exploring…
If Jeremy Corbyn wins the leadership contest and then a General Election, would the majority of Labour MP’s vote with or against him once in power?
If the temptation to avoid the immediate simplicity of a “yes” or “no” can be resisted the complexity of the question must be unravelled.
First will he win the leadership campaign and if so why, second can he win a General Election and if so how?
The leadership campaign has come about due to a challenge by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) following a vote of no confidence. If Mr Corbyn does not enjoy the confidence of the majority of Labour MP’s he can win the leadership contest because of the “one member one vote” procedure introduced by Ed Miliband. The Betting organisation William Hill is offering 1/6 so they certainly seem to think he can.
I agree with Mr Hill. Mr Corbyn looks like he will win the leadership campaign and the reason is the membership want him. The majority of the membership then is at odds with the majority of the MP’s.
The second part of the question is can he win a General Election and if so how?
Assuming he wins the leadership the most likely thing to happen next is he gets the support of the majority of MP’s. Some will have their “road to Damascus” moment and some will adopt any flag of convenience. Some fearing the backlash of the membership may even pick up the ball and start their own party. Bottom line is the majority of MP’s in the party would support Jeremy Corbyn as leader going into a General Election.
The question as to whether the MP’s would support him if he were elected is flawed. He will not win a General Election if they do not.
This then gives us the real essence of the question, how can Mr Corbyn get elected with a policy of appeasement to the rebels in his own party? His popularity is based on some pretty simple left wing policies. To win an election he must combat the Main Stream Media (MSM) and the widely held cynicism of the ignored electorate.
Can it be done? Yes. Is it so difficult that it is unlikely, also yes? It requires all of the attributes of “kinder politics” but perhaps in addition some hard love.
I appreciate that this may appear an inconsequential question at this moment, until the leadership election has been contested, but I do feel it is something to consider within the wider context of turning our movement into tangible policies and actions, due to the complexities and the current state of ‘how things get done’.
As a continuation of the initial question posed, I would like to ask people what it is we will have to consider before it is possible to turn pledges and ideas into policy… Given the state of current PLP views, the effect of the media, big business, financial institutions and lobbyists, the neoliberal/corporatist consensus of our allies/the west/the EU, globalisation and suchlike?
Before/once in power, what do we/Jeremy Corbyn need to consider and do first, before it is possible to enact the policies we all wish to happen?
Thank you. @PoliticalSift