Until this morning I had bought into the concept that Jeremy Corbyn had no chance of winning a general election if elected as leader of the Labour Party. The reason I felt it was still worth supporting him is because I thought that whichever of the four won, Labour would lose. I felt that Corbyn would at least reinvigorate the party and connect it with its grass roots and help it move on from its 20th century obsession with spin and vacuosity. I can honestly see no way a party lead by Burnham or Cooper could win a general election and no way they could attract new members. Whilst I felt Liz Kendall could win a general election, there is absolutely no way the Labour party would choose her, so in effect she is a non candidate. I don't really like Kendall, she appears to have no compassion and no empathy with her own party. I suspect that like many, if she was elected I'd grudgingly support her as "Cameron lite" is better than "Cameron Max". Whatever misgivings I had about the Blair/Brown years, there is no doubt that Britain became a far more socially progressive country. The reason I don't support Kendall is that she buys into a philosophy that ultimately failed us all miserably.
So what has convinced me that Jeremy Corbyn will win? You may find this rather odd, but my hallelujah moment came reading this mornings Sunday Times. Every page I turned, I saw yet another character assasination of Corbyn. Here's a few examples. Page 1 & 2 a story about how the Labour Party is being "Infiltrated on an industrial scale". It seems the Sunday Times objects to the fact that people who had left the Labour party due to the Blairites are rejoining in droves to support an MP they agree with. It says "there was absolutely no way that Labour officials would catch all the Green, Trotskyist and Conservative supporters who had signed up to take part in the leadership contest". It strikes me as unlikely that many Trotskyists will "rejoin to support Corbyn", certainly not enough to tip the balance. Corbyn isn't a Trotskyite and true believers would see him as beyond the pale. As for Tories signing up to cause mischief, again the numers will be miniscule. Many joke about it, but by and large Tories would begrudge the Labour party a single penny. Which brings us to Greens. Those rejoining are by and large former Labour members with principles, who see Corbyn as a chance to rebuild the party. On page 18 we have a full page Camilla Long hatchet job. Pravda would have been proud of this piece. It gives no insight into Corbyn and is full of sly innuendo, portraying anyone who sympathises with Corbyn as deluded. This Brian Eno quote, produced with no context is typical "I don't think that electability is really the most important thing". On page 23 we have a trademark Ian Dale article claiming Corbyn only even thought of standing when "Sarah in London" suggested it and yet another hatchet job, this time from Anne Applebaum, with the title "While Russia burns books, the useful idiot Corbyn swallows its lies whole". This rather odd article seems to ignore the fact that half the world wasn't born when Russia was under a notionally Marxist state. Because Corbyn has criticised western policies towards Ukraine (which have not exactly been stunningly successful) and suggested supporters may find the news coverage by Russia today interesting , he must support the burning of books, seems to be the analaysis of this Pulitzer Prize winning author. I buy papers such as The Daily Express as I like to read a wide range of views. I suppose that this makes me a pornographer, given Richard Desmonds business portfolio. It is nonsense.
As I read this nonstop barrage of complete nonsense, two things struck me. First, despite the endless words and columns, there was no attempt at all to desconstruct the views of Corbyn. There was no analysis of what he was actually saying. I sort of expect this type of nonsense in the Daily Mail, which is not really a paper to be taken seriously, but for the Sunday Times to print so many "non articles" with so little analysis was extraordinary. I've no idea how much the Times pays people to write articles, but I'd guess Pulitzer Prize winners are not the cheapest columnists. The second thing that struck me was, given that Murdoch is a natural Tory, why so much bile would be poured on someone who, if the Times is to believed, would destroy Labours chances of winning.If Corbyn was electoral poison, surely Murdochs papers would be more than happy to see Labour elect him and destroy itself. The only logical conclusion is that Murdoch does not buy into the idea that Corbyn is electoral poison. Why else would he throw every resourse at his hands at trying to give his leadership aspirations an abortion? The only conclusion is that Murdoch rejects the notion that Corbyn is unelectable and is in a state of high panic. I suspect that Murdoch knows that one of Corbyns first targets if he is ever elected will be the likes of Murdoch.
So how could Corbyn possibly win? What a ridiculous idea is that? If you consider the maths, maybe not. The Conservatives are embarking on a vicious program of austerity. I can't really see this enhancing their popularity. They won in2015 by cannabilising the votes of their Lib Dem partners. Many of these voters are already bitterly regretting putting the Tories in. I doubt there are many more Lib Dems to "turn" and many are considering "turning back". I've heard many people saying that it is only now we see how important the Lin Dems were. The economy is doing OK at the moment. This is not the product of this Tory administration, but of the Coalition. It will take at least a couple of years for us to know if a Tory only regime can improve the economy, but I doubt that the British Economy can sustain current growth rates for the next five years. Whatever happens, no commentators think interest rates will be anything other than higher in 2020, which will hit household budgets.
The Tories were elected by 24% of the electorate. It is unlikely that 24% of the electorate will do better under the Tories. Many of Corbyns policies will appeal to the 76% of the electorate who didn't vote Tory. Some such as abolition of tuition fees will appeal to the 24% who did, especally Lib Dem switchers. I doubt even too many Tories would cry if the railways were renationalised. As someone who uses the railways every day, it is clear that the franchising system doesn't work. In effect it is a scam that takes taxpayers money and lines the pockets of foreign investors. Whilst the hard right believe nationalisation to be a rude word, anyone who has had to endure years of sub standard travel services will take a different view. There has been so little discussion of left politics since Blair took over. Whilst the Tories hark back to the days of Michael Foot, for a couple of generations of voters this is ancient history. Things have changed. Corbyn isn't talking the language of Foot. How could he? When Foot was Labour Leader, railways were nationalised, students got grants. Corbyn has a whole swathe of ideas that appeal to many people not only on the left, but in the Centre. During the Blair years, the left displayed a remarkable amount of restraint and loyalty to the party. If the right of Labour show the same discipline and work with Corbyn, it is more than possible that a popular and populist platform could be developed. I suspect that decent NHS services, Student Grants, Rail nationalisation, a tax system designed to help the many, not the few and laws to protect working people from the worst ravages of rampant capitalism will not prove quite as unpopular as the Murdoch Press would have you believe.
Until this morning, I'd thought that such talk was wishful thinking, but I read the articles several times and it is clear to me that the rich and powerful such as Murdoch are rattled and resorting to everr more desperate tactics to try and scare the living daylights out of people who are tempted by the Corbyn camp. When I read the articles it actually had the reverse effect on me. The Britsh dislike dishnoesty and I am sure that they see right through the dodgy spin of Murdoch and his army of highly paid Pulitzer prize winning mercenaries. In fact if by chance we see a Corbyn lead administration in 2020, I think the likes of Murdoch will be one of the reasons. For decades the attack dog tactics of the Murdoch Press have destroyed leader after leader for the Labour party. One may conclude that because its always worked, it always will. Sadly for the likes of Murdoch, things have moved on. In the electronic age, Twitter, Blogger and Facebook mean that there are many other sources of information and the likes of The Sun and The Times can get called out in away that the likes of Michael Foot could never have dreamed of. The trouble for Murdoch is that he's largely preaching to the converted. Papers such as the Times and The Sun have shed readers and influence massively in recent years. It is not inconceivable that one or both may not even exist in 2020. At best The Times is likely to be the equivalent of the Saga house magazine, read by wealthy pensioners mainy reading it to plan autmn holidays in Tuscany and investments of their pension pots. As for The Sun, in 2010 it had over 3 million readers, now it has under two million. If it has more than a million in 2020, that will be a minor miracle. It's decline is accelerating, shedding over 200,000 readers between 2013 and 2014. Whilst Kinnock and Foot knew that they would face a slow assasination from these papers, a Corbyn leadership would face a different beast. Not only that, but social media is built for campaigners such as Corbyn, who can rely on people using Fazcebook and Twitter to feed campaigns and bolster support. Whilst Foot and Kinnock had no mass media to make their case, Corbyn knows that if he gets it right, his message will go viral on the net. This costs nothing and is far more effective than dodgy articles by paid hacks. Whilst we don't trust the Murdoch press, we all trust our friends and family and when they share info with us, we read it.
It is interesting to see new Labour figures desperately looking at means to "fix" the Corbyn problem, I suspect that all of the denouncements of entryists is counter productive. If Labour start banning ex members who got disilliusioned and joined the Greens, they are doomed. Green members are hard working activists and generally honest and principled. If Labour are saying they don't want them, what exactly are they saying. If all Labour want to be is a metropoitan elite who believe in nothing, they will be permanently unelectable. There will be plenty of water under the bridge between now and the 2020 election. The Tories have tied a huge albatross around their neck by announcing Cameron will go. This Parliament will be dominated first by the EU referendum and then by the Tory leadership contest. I suspect that Cameron will have to go in 2018 to allow a new Leader a period to make his name. This puts another variable into the mix. Osborne is the front runner, but just suppose he does a Gordon Brown when stepping up to the top table. When Brown took over, he was viewed as a heavyweight and an awesome presence. Within six months, it was clear that he was a liability. Just suppose that Osborne is another great chancellor who can't step up, then it is possible that Corbyn will prove to be the man in the right place in the right time. As Napoleon once said "Give me a lucky general any day".