Why Jeremy Corbyn IS electable

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The debate of whether Jeremy Corbyn is electable has raged since the start of his leadership although the argument has been very one-sided.  Corbyn’s apparently extreme policies, such as nationalising railways and abolishing Trident, have given the right-wing press much ammunition and many commentators, such as Alex Takemura-James, have concluded that he is unelectable. The problem with this position is the glaring omission of key evidence.

Despite his troubles Jeremy Corbyn is the odds-on favourite to win the forthcoming leadership election. Although Comrade Corbyn’s policies appeal to most of the half a million Labour members, they may not appeal to the middle-class labour voters of Blair’s era and it will not be until the next General Election that anyone can be sure how popular he really is. After all the primary goal for the Labour membership is to be in power, and they must elect someone who can hold the Prime Minister to account and be a worthy challenge to her at the next general election.

The evidence so far is encouraging for Corbyn.

The press interpreted last May’s local elections as a disaster for Corbyn. They were anything but. Labour did rather well, now holding 1291 seats compared with the Conservatives’ 828.

So much has happened in UK politics during the last year it is easy to forget that the last General Election was only just over a year ago. Most of the press made this mistake too and described the results as if they were mid-term elections, when opposition parties normally thrive. They were not. Local elections held the year after a General Election produce very different results – usually giving the Government the benefit of the doubt.

Following the May elections Labour now controls 57 councils, the Conservatives 38. Of the 35 Metropolitan districts, where the majority of Britain lives, only three remain under Conservative control. Along with decisive wins for Labour in the Mayoral elections in Bristol, London, Liverpool and Salford the prospects for Labour at the next election look much better than some would have us believe, whilst for the Conservatives May 2016 was their worst performance at local elections since 1996.

comrade-corbynMore recently in last week’s Prime Minister’s questions Corbyn had May on the ropes over Grammar Schools, with May dodging his questions and failing to give any satisfactory answer at all. On more than one previous occasion Corbyn had Cameron on the ropes too, although again the popular press report that he is “not holding the Government to account.”

Like Bernie Saunders in America Corbyn has managed to inspire young voters in large numbers with his politics. Whilst Sanders is no longer in-line to become US president he inspired a movement that has led the Democratic party to become the most progressive it has ever been. I doubt that Owen Smith could inspire the same response.

Once the labour leadership elections are done, egos need to be put aside and the MPs need to back the leader, be it Smith or Corbyn, and give Labour a fighting chance at winning the 2020 general election.