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If he’s that bad how come he’s that moderate?  April 25, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Is the question that comes to mind reading Polly Toynbee in the Guardian. Never been a huge Toynbee fan and ever less so as time marches on but this is a puzzle…

For on the one hand she presents Jeremy Corbyn as… well, read on…

Who knows what other clumsy damage he may inflict during the campaign. And afterwards, he might not go. Remember Tony Benn celebrating the millions of votes for “socialism” under Michael Foot’s 1983 political suicide manifesto, though Labour had crashed to epic defeat? Fantasy politics reign again when Momentum responds to May’s announcement by tweeting about the “path to victory for Labour”.

And:

Waiting for the 60% of Labour party members who voted for Corbyn to come to their senses looked like a very long wait indeed.

But hold on. Is this the same red revolutionary as the one she then writes about as follows:

Labour’s manifesto may not contain much all MPs couldn’t campaign on: Corbyn has been no firebrand after all. His recent cascade of minor policies are fine in themselves: £10 a week more for carers by abolishing inheritance tax cuts, a £10 minimum wage, free school meals paid for by private school VAT, obliging companies to publish their tax returns, and more. But elections are rarely about policies. Elections are won by the best-led party; YouGov finds just 15% put Corbyn as best leader, against May’s walloping 49%.

Leadership. Well, surely. But that’s a two-way street. How did the other side of the street hold up on that?

And… hold on further. Even when he’s not being…er… immoderate, he still can’t win for…

Just watch those reasonable policies twist in the wind under Lynton Crosby’s fiendish hand: Labour will snatch your inheritances, kill parents’ private school aspirations, punish business with compulsory unionisation, and so on. Labour can only make radical policies fly when floated by a trusted leadership. Nothing Corbyn proposes is as radical as Blair and Brown’s £5bn windfall snatched from privatised utilities – but by then they had earned economic credibility the hard way.

But there’s an obvious riposte or two to that. The man has only been in the job a couple of years or so, there’s been leadership challenges, the policies he actually supports as against the ones he is said to support are rather mild, and so on.

As it happens and it pains me to say this, Corbyn probably isn’t the leader for this point in time. I think absent Brexit – and the attempted coups – he would make a compelling leader for the BLP entering into an election in a year or two.

But Brexit has fundamentally shifted the terrain UK elections are fought on. And relentless media and other attacks have had their effect.

On the other hand, he’s the only leader the BLP has going into the election and deserves support for that, and certainly a lot better than the muddled argument Toynbee attempts to deploy against him.

And perhaps given that she is one of those who has attempted to paint him as immoderate she might think about her own culpability in a process which has led as she says to a situation where British politics ‘has rarely looked grimmer’.

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Comments»

1. dublinstreams - April 25, 2017

is he not better then the Lib Dems promising something they can’t deliver.

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2. Aonrud ⚘ - April 25, 2017

And perhaps given that she is one of those who has attempted to paint him as immoderate she might think about her own culpability in a process which has led as she says to a situation where British politics ‘has rarely looked grimmer’.

The self-fulfilling nature of the Guardian’s current efforts to ensure Labour are routed really is getting tedious.

Toynbee’s anti-Corbyn analyses might be more palatable if they were preceded by a health warning about her own role as an SDP candidate in the previous split of the Labour right, at least when she specifically makes a disparaging comparison to the 1983 election in the article 😉

On a related note, I wonder how many of those who were outraged by criticism of Clinton or the suggestion of voting for other candidates in the US election, on the grounds that the priority must be stopping Trump, are now pointing at the hopeless Lib Dems and deriding Labour?

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3. Michael Carley - April 25, 2017

We’re still supposed to take Toynbee seriously when she goes from this:

Remember Tony Benn celebrating the millions of votes for “socialism” under Michael Foot’s 1983 political suicide manifesto, though Labour had crashed to epic defeat?

to this

Waiting for the 60% of Labour party members who voted for Corbyn to come to their senses looked like a very long wait indeed. Talk of a new party to break away from the suicide party was heard only from those long out of parliament and out of touch. The fate of the SDP should be salutary warning to anyone trying to break the wicked first past the post stranglehold on all political innovation.

without mentioning she was an SDP candidate in 1983 and successfully helped to take millions of votes away from Labour.

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4. ivorthorne - April 25, 2017

The proIblem with Corbyn is that Neo-liberal Labour and the media have made him the issue. The self-fulfilling prophecy has come to pass.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d vote for him and Labour, but more in solidarity than hope. His “brand” has been so damaged that it’s hard to see a way back. The only thing that can be hoped for is some sort of Tory scandal that the press cannot ignored and all of the newly signed up Labour members going door to door and emphasising Labour’s policies rather than the leadership qualities of Corbyn.

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2017

I think that’s it precisely IT. The reality of Corbyn has been washed away both by opponents inside and outside the LP as well as a media all too eager to knock down, and then politically by the sea change that is Brexit (and Scotland).

Fingers crossed you’re right.

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