What is Jeremy Corbyn’s great weakness as a political leader? It is easy enough to dismiss him as useless, doctrinaire or whatever, but the basic question remains. Why is he so useless? Outside the political bubble I imagine he manages his affairs and is personable enough even if he persists in wearing his virtue on his sleeve. So what goes wrong when he steps into the official party leader’s trousers every morning?
The first thing to be explained is that millions of voters would vote for him if there were to be a general election in the near future. Yet Corbyn obviously doesn’t know how to govern a country such as the UK. He doesn’t even know how it is governed now, let alone how it might be more effectively governed in the future. He doesn't know anyone who knows either, yet millions would still vote for him.
This says something vitally important about human nature – it says we are shallow in our political allegiances. It can't be restricted to Labour voters and it isn't. To my mind this is also Corbyn’s basic problem - he is shallow. What you see is what you get.
Not a shattering conclusion, but here’s the rub – we are all equally shallow. Theresa May is just as shallow as Corbyn. She has no idea how to manage Brexit and it is mainly Corbyn’s absurdly inept handling of political opposition that keeps her afloat. It may even allow her to manage what probably should be politically unmanageable.
We are all shallow but we expect the political classes to hide it and we moan like hell when they don’t. Ed Miliband is as shallow as they come. He had no idea that his meddling with the election process for Labour leader would be such a disaster because it is so easily subverted.
What Corbyn illustrates is uncomfortable for anyone who cares to cast a bleak eye over what his antics tell us about human behaviour. We cannot personally measure up to political expectations and we cannot find people who do measure up and vote for them. It is only by calling on a wide range of outside expertise and experience that politicians ever manage to maintain the facade of modest competence.
When too much reliance is placed on a political class which has never done anything else but play political games then the shallowness of human behaviour becomes more and more obvious. An old aristocracy had certain advantages in that some of its members were trained to rule, trained to use outside expertise as it should be used and trained to disguise their own shallowness more effectively than people such as Corbyn and May. More importantly they had lives outside politics and that is something we could learn from and emulate.