Victory for whom?

The Labour party leadership election, cathartic, chaotic or both?

Long ago and far away Corbyn gets arrested! Long ago and far away Corbyn gets arrested!
In May of this year Ed Miliband and the Labour Party lost the general election and Miliband resigned. It's not fair to pin all the blame on him but this has to be the starting point for looking at the win by Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party leadership election. Miliband did however, and perhaps unintentionally, do both Corbyn and his party a favour by introducing the £3 membership idea.

Some estimates say membership is rising at a faster rate than at any time since the second world war when Clement Attlee came to power and now stands at 554,272 members and we know that 251,417 voted for Corbyn. Naturally the Corbynistas will say 'if only our man had been in charge in May'. But it's not that simple. Corbyn came in late to the contest with a bit of a fanfare from some in his party who wanted the election hustings to brighten up. They hoped he would swing the contest towards the other candidates but the opposite happened.

But the original idea at least showed a bit feeling for the public, if you look at the votes for the other three candidates they only total 171,247, without Corbyn the interest shown in the contest would have been reduced. Second placed Andy Burnham was simply revolting, being all that was wrong with not only Labour but also in UK politics generally. He played the 'I'm an ordinary bloke' card and there were pictures of him in his football togs but it went all wrong when he opened his mouth. At one point just before the polls closed he announced that -

people want politicians of conviction

This showed an acute lack of self awareness as many people want his conviction regarding the deaths at the South Staffs Hospital. While Burnham called for an enquiry what followed was given such a narrow remit it did not satisfy the relatives of the dead and to this day they blame him.

Yvette Cooper was described as 'the progressive candidate', progressive is the weasel word loved by Nicola Sturgeon and means all things to all people. However, you get the impression that Cooper accepted the lack of awareness of her supporters, she certainly did not condemn those who hinted that they had chosen Cooper, 'because she was a mother' see HERE and HERE and HERE .

But it was Liz Kendall who really bombed with only 4.5% of the votes despite, or perhaps because, she was portrayed as the 'continuity candidate'. What Kendall and her supporters failed to spot was that more of the same, more Blairism and more modernising was yesterdays game. Her opponents supporters said she would be better off in the Tory party and they have a point. Long gone are the days when a bright young thing could use the Labour party as a route out of the Oxbridge ghetto, Kendall has a Cambridge first in History, and so rise without effort to great heights. So is this the end of Blair's Babes and Blairism?

But what of Corbyn? Perhaps he too, like Kendall, would be better off in another party? Much was made of the fact he had voted against his party over 500 times since becoming an MP in 1983. As to whether this showed independence or treachery was seldom discussed. So it was funny when Tom Watson, the new deputy leader, said -

Labour MPs must respect the mandate Jeremy Corbyn has been given

as Watson had spent time as part of the Bilash group. The Bilash was a Wolverhampton curry house and the meetings there in 2006 were to consider the 'future' beyond Tony Blair. Alas Blair when told about this took it as plotting behind his back and sacked Watson. We should also remember that Blair had an even better mandate than Watson now claims for Corbyn.

Also at the Bilash was the then MP for Erdington, Sion Simon and Telford MP, David Wright, also present was Perry Barr MP, Kahlid Mahmood. Of all four plotters only Watson and Mahmood remain in the House of Commons, the latter being very much a busted flush while Watson is deputy leader of his party, this shows some survival skill. But some Labour supporters call Watson a fat thug going so far as to suggest that if 'things go wrong', whatever that means, Watson could 'save' the party. You may well think this should worry Corbyn.

So what did happen, why did Corbyn get elected and why was this not spotted as a possible outcome a long way back? To answer those questions we again go back to the general election. Few people predicted the true result there, the liberal left media clung to the hope that if you will something to happen it does. They did it again with the Labour leadership contest and failed again. We hear talk of the 'Westminster bubble' and it really does exist, its inhabitants are now trying to predict when the 'true left' will oust Corbyn. Why do they bother? Their efforts to predict will again lead to failure because they have lost control.

They want to think that the 'far left' is a minority in the party but well over 40% of Labour party members voted for Corbyn. They also talk about Corbyn's wider popularity, his lack of appeal to beyond party members and therefore his chances of becoming PM being poor. But even if his rise to leadership is temporary his replacement may also be not what they like because the Labour party has become detached from its base and there is no going back.

You can see this by the fact that the party put up Burnham, Cooper and Kendall in the first place, such people do not inspire. You can also see that they, the Westminster bubble old guard, cling to their sense of entitlement too. People like left wing journalists Dan Hodges and Polly Toynbee spent their time telling the nation not to vote for this man Corbyn, but were ignored! They now huff-and-puff but never once spot that there was a democratic process involved, it was not some evil plot financed by an Israeli businessman.

The left wing media is now saying how the Tories want to 'destroy' the Labour party. The language used tells us a lot about their mindset but then so does the sense of humour that comes with the left.

So a good day for Cameron and the Tories when Corbyn was elected? No not at all. For it's possible that the Tories could go the same way as Labour. True the Tory MPs still have a hand in electing their leader which is not the case with the Labour party. Traditionally both Labour and the Tories have got a good deal of their strength from the loyalty of their membership, when the members were told what to do they obeyed. But not any more. Slowly a little at a time the public, or we could call them voters, have decided they have seen enough. Many full time journalists and some bloggers have moved on from from the MP expenses scandal but the general attitude towards politicians goes only down as the public are not so forgiving.

Corbyn came to be the leader of his party on the basis he was something 'different', however, he is not. He is a product of the representative democratic system which has put all MPs into the HoC. It was given a jolt by his election and all political parties had better be ready for when the public want even more power over who governs them.