The real case against the party leader is not that a Corbyn government is unlikely, but that a Corbyn government would be disastrousby Peter Kellner / November 30, 2015 / Leave a comment
We know that many Labour MPs want to see the back of Jeremy Corbyn. But are they fighting him on the right grounds?
Yes, the MPs think Corbyn is a vote-loser. Yes, they deplore the way he tries to mobilise his supporters to outflank the shadow cabinet. Yes, they fear catastrophe if he leads Labour into the 2020 general election. But they are also refusing to engage publicly with Corbyn’s camp on doctrine—on what, fundamentally, Labour should stand for.
My point is that this refusal is a bad mistake. The real case against the party leader, that most Labour MPs know in their hearts but dare not say openly, is not that a Corbyn government is unlikely, but that a Corbyn government would be disastrous.
I had expected by now, eleven weeks into Corbyn’s leadership, to have to qualify that judgement. I thought that he would soften his long-standing, anti-capitalist views, appoint a moderate shadow chancellor, and seek to come to terms with the business community. He has done none of these things. He appointed John McDonnell, if anything an even more strident doctrinaire socialist, to speak on the economy. Corbyn’s conference speech contained no concession to the business community. He refused to address the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual conference.
Perhaps the most telling words came from Andrew Marr’s recent interview with McDonnell. In an exchange that deserves greater prominence, Marr asked this: