Monday, 27 February 2017

Corbyn’s halo

An interesting aspect of Jeremy Corbyn’s ludicrously inept leadership of the Labour party is the halo effect. One could reasonably suggest that his leadership abilities are so glaringly deficient that the only honourable thing left for him to do now is resign, but he won’t. 

As things stand the Labour party seems likely to lose the 2020 general election by a wide margin even though the government has many exploitable difficulties. Brexit is currently top of that list, but as things stand a need to build good relationships with Donald Trump is likely to present opposition parties with lasting opportunities too.

Labour’s missed political opportunities do not matter to those who do not support the party, but we all need a capable opposition for the usual Parliamentary reasons. Not that one should elevate Parliamentary standards beyond their usual forlorn level, but we do need to keep hold of a few shreds of political dignity if we possibly can. Thanks to Corbyn’s inept performance we don’t have even that and are unlikely to see it until he goes, if then.

The damage Jeremy Corbyn is doing to his own party and to Parliamentary dignity is too obvious to need much analysis, but he clearly doesn’t see it like that so one may as well go further and say the guy is either remarkably stupid or remarkably malevolent.

Yet to my mind it isn’t particularly easy to see the man as stupid or malevolent. The interesting question is why not? His behaviour makes it clear enough that he is one or the other and quite possibly both. Behaviour is evidence and in this case, good evidence.

Unfortunately Corbyn seems to derive considerable benefit from the halo effect. With his beard, earnest manner, purported principles, and vaguely untidy appearance he looks and sounds like a college lecturer or an expert on rare books or an atheist clergyman. All stereotypes of course, but stereotypes are difficult or impossible to switch off however misleading they may be.

Jeremy Corbyn has a halo, somewhat tarnished now but still not easy to tune out. In my case, the non-attached part of my mind knows the man is a shit, but I cannot quite switch off his halo and see him that way.


Demetrius said...

What should be a worry despite what seems to be the case is that quite often it is not so much an Opposition winning an election, but a government losing it. Add to that outside factors over which a UK government has little or no control. And add to that one or more disasters arising from past policies or actions (business rates?). Be careful what you wish for.

Sobers said...

Its very simple. Corbyn is Hard Left. He and his Hard Left mates have gotten their hands on an established political party, one that is guaranteed to deliver them well over 100 MPs at the next election, regardless of how badly it turns out. All he needs to do is stay in his position come what may, regardless of how inept he may seem to the wider public, cement his grip on the party apparatus and candidate selection process, and the Hard left will be delivered a party at the very top of the political tree, maybe even as Official Opposition, with all the perks that come with that. This would have been beyond their wildest dreams only 2 years ago. Everything he does will be aimed at that one goal - making the Labour Party a Hard Left party in perpetuity. Everything else(winning elections for example) pales in significance.

Sam Vega said...

I think it hardly matters now. The Labour Party are completely irrelevant, so they could have a gifted political genius running them, or a donkey, and the effect will be the same. The Conservatives under Cameron hijacked the socially liberal New Labour project. Labour's vote has declined in the south apart from London, and has now completely collapsed in Scotland. The law of unintended consequences struck Miliband's reforms, such that a dispersed party membership are more important than sitting MPs in deciding policy. Very few people in the UK have any interest in voting Labour. Thus, the anxiety surrounding Corbyn is a bit misplaced; rather like journalists worrying over who will head the Royal Society, or the United Reformed Church.

A fascinating bloke, though. He can't seem to differentiate between politics and the hobby of historial re-enactment.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what the Labour party needs is a radical shake-up starting with Corbyn who should, of course, be fired, or at least, shot, and replaced with a leader blessed with keen political acumen, like Shami Abbott or Diane Chakrabati! They'll soon sort out those damned Tories!

Sackerson said...

Bring back Blair! That should finish the job.

Anonymous said...

Right now I doubt anyone could make Labour look a votable proposition. The 2020 election is lost, the question is what happens in 2025. Currently the political climate is not conducive to a socialist flavour Labour nor a Tory-lite flavour. So Corbyn is serving a useful placeholder role avoiding any useful candidate being burned out by the upcoming toil. Surely Corbyn will be dumped or resign or die as soon as the political climate changes. That depends on how Brexit pans out.

If Brexit goes well then 2025 is lost to Labour. But Brexit may not go well and 2025 may be the election to decide 'do we let the Tories stew in their own juice' with a view to slaughter by 2030 or do we kill them off now. Either way Labour has got plenty of time to figure out a strategy and wait for the Tories to fall flat on their faces. For sooner or later all incumbents fail through sleaze, incompetence or boredom.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - good point although Corbyn's Labour party may struggle to pick up enough support whatever happens.

Sobers - you may be right, but would such a party have enough funding? Would unions give up on them?

Sam - the habit of voting Labour may not collapse that readily and there must be people who see that as a political opportunity if only Corbyn can be ousted.

David - that's another issue they have isn't it? the lack of keen political acumen. Or indeed political acumen. Or indeed acumen. Or indeed men.

Sackers - I'm sure he's sniffing round for a reason.

Roger - possibly, but Brexit may also become a dull, long-winded grind which gradually slips below the political radar. Then the stage may be occupied by other events and other personalities while Corbyn seems older and older and less and less relevant.

Brett Hetherington said...

Sobers - It's beyond dispute that the Labour party lost a great deal of support because it neglected its core constituency over the last decade. One thing Corbyn is doing is trying to get them back with policies that are hard left, as Sobers said.

Some of these policies are too radical for many voters but others are extremely popular, including taxing the rich more heavily, shoring up the NHS and re-nationalising rail and possibly energy.

The problem for Labour is that it is internally divided and that mainstream media is focused on this at the cost of giving Corbyn's ideas wider publicity, as any opposition deserves. In more than a decade of closely observing mainstream British media I have not seen such a strong bias against any other party leader.

Corbyn has clearly missed an opportunity on Brexit though, and he deserves to be criticised for this. A different leader might have used the issue to demand another referendum (as the Lib Dems are doing) and would have risen significantly in the polls.

AK Haart - comments about Corbyn's manner, his beard and appearance are irrelevant.