Ignore the naysayers, Jeremy Corbyn is heading straight for No 10

Jeremy Corbyn
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At present, it feels like Brexit has engulfed the Jeremy Corbyn-led movement. But ignore the naysayers. Because Jeremy Corbyn is heading straight for No 10.

‘Wishful thinking, mate’

One fundamental reason why Corbyn is heading for Downing Street is actually pretty dry. The UK voting system is first past the post, meaning that the Conservative and Labour parties are the only viable options for government. And with Corbyn as leader, offering a real alternative to the status quo, there will be an even greater focus on the two main parties. Because people actually have a real choice between them.

This is what happened in the 2017 election: the two main parties’ combined vote share was the largest since 1970 – they took nearly 90% of the parliamentary seats.

The local and Euro elections, meanwhile, tell us next to nothing about what will happen in a general election. No matter how much commentators like to exploit the results to advance their agenda. At the end of the day, using a 36.7% Euro turnout as a forecaster for a general election is like using an opinion poll with a skewed sample in the wrong context. It can only exaggerate the views of those preoccupied with the day-to-day theatre of politics. By contrast, turnout in the 2017 general election could’ve been as high as 80%, according to analysis from Oxford and Manchester universities.

A general election sidelined Brexit

When push comes to shove, Labour voters care much less about Brexit than the chattering class will have you believe. By the end of the 2017 general election, only 8% of Labour supporters listed Brexit as their top concern, compared to 48% of Conservative voters. The Labour leadership’s strategy helped bring about this sentiment by avoiding becoming the party of Remain, which sidelined Brexit as an electoral issue.

When the dust cleared, the Conservative Party’s record of austerity, privatisation, and inequality was there for all to see. It stood in stark contrast to the Corbyn-led agenda of social housing, free lifelong education, and peace.

An unstoppable force

The message of pro-Corbyn activists – “hold on, this guy is actually worth voting for” – rippled throughout the country in an unstoppable force. Labour’s manifesto became the first document of its kind to go viral online. In the space of the six-week campaign, Corbyn’s Labour went from 21 points behind in numerous polls to achieving 40% of the vote share, a whisker off victory. In fact, Survation – the only poll to accurately predict the results – had Labour on 45% and the Conservatives on 39% just a day after the election took place.

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Even three shocking terrorist attacks – which traditionally should benefit the Conservatives – couldn’t stop the swing to Labour. Rather than treating the public as children, Corbyn ignored the right-wingers in his party and launched an honest critique of UK foreign policy and how it contributes to terrorism. This was a huge victory for the Labour leader.

We cannot underestimate the value of an election campaign with a programme people can get behind. This comes into even sharper focus when you consider that 57% of 2017 Labour voters selected the party within a month of election day. In other words, Corbyn’s Labour won almost two-thirds of its vote share in the four weeks before 8 June.

Corbyn is starting from a much better position than 2017

Avoiding becoming a hard-Remain party didn’t only carve the battle lines around austerity. In 2017, Labour managed to keep its coalition between large parts of the north and big southern cities like London together. A striking 61% of Labour constituencies actually voted to Leave in 2016, because of the UK’s electoral layout. With that in mind, it was the party’s focus on austerity – instead of Brexit – that enabled Labour to increase its vote share by more than at any point since 1945.

Fast-forward to June 2019 and the latest Survation poll, carried out on 22 May, has Labour on 33% – five points ahead of the Conservatives. That’s a way better starting point than it had two years ago. Provided Labour offers the radical programme of 2017, the energy of its election campaign will trounce the Conservatives. Ignore the propagandists who want to crush your morale. Corbyn is headed straight for Downing Street.

Featured image via Rwendland/ WikiCommons

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  • Show Comments
    1. To Mr Corbyn well done in By-election (good resolute)
      Q- when are we going to have a new G.E.?
      Could it possibly be in NOV 2019 after the Tories E.U. W/BILL fail again?
      under a new P.Minister they sick (not put to public vote by the way)
      POSTED this below today on web-pages
      LINK to post 7.6.2019

      Tory leadership: MPs face having their phones seized,
      in anti-cheating crackdown
      True Tory Democracy we will take your phone away
      you will vote how new P.M. candidate tell you to vote or,
      your out of a job in Tory Govt
      This is what Tory X P.m. tried to do and the rest of,
      Tory party back stabbed her out of her job as P.M.
      (Boris Could this not happen to you SIR yes or no?)
      If a new G.E. was held in NOV 2019 (Labour party)
      we voter would get shut of Tory party from power,
      so it does not matter which party member NOW,
      becomes new P.M. they will not be in the job that long a fact,
      from a free voter plus most of leave voter over E.U. W/BILL MESS.

    2. Labour will not win convincingly without the promise of a second referendum, at best they will have to form a coalition with an anti Brexit party, and will have to have another referendum anyway. The local elections were FPTP as well and Labour still made losses. For those on the left who oppose Brexit there are the Greens ( who unlike the Brexit party DO have a commons seat ) and in Scotland there is the SNP. Unlike the Labour party, neither of these parties have renewing Trident in their manifestos.
      Donald Trumps visit show that Brexit puts the existence of our NHS at risk. And the Peterborough by election show that Brexiters are not voting Labour anyway.
      If Labour do not win the next election Corbyn will have to stand down, and then we will be stuck with another Blairite “friend of Israel” as Labour leader.

      1. frank_freeman —GOOD POINTS!
        But If we had a G.E. in -NOV 2019 labour would possibly win out right
        Them Labour M.P. could start leaveing the party over Brexit mess.
        This then would lead to Labour party having to join with another party to
        run the country jointly.
        Would it be S.N.P./LIB-DEMS /GREEN P/ TORY P/ BREXIT P/UKIP P/ members?
        My money is on LIB-DEMS joining up with Labour,
        after some Labour M.P. do a runner over E.U. new referendum re-vote.

    3. Public opinion on leaving the EU has now almost completely polarized to the two extremes; No Deal and No Brexit. Hardly anyone now really wants the kind of halfway house compromise Brexit officially favoured by the Labour Party. The middle ground has collapsed.

      As views get even more entrenched Labour is going to have to decide which way to go – No Deal Brexit or Revoke Article 50. The current position is untenable as support for a soft Norway-style Brexit dwindles away. It was always the second-best option for people who really want to remain in the EU.

      Obviously, out of the two options left, Labour will choose Remain. The vast majority of Labour members and voters are supporters of remaining in the EU. It will be uncomfortable explaining to Leave voting Labour supporters why the party now favours remaining in the EU, but a very good logical case can be made that since the referendum it has become clear that the kind of Brexit promised by the Leave side in 2016 is actually impossible – it doesn’t exist.

      The Tories have made such a complete mess of the Brexit negotiations that the hopes of those voting Leave in the referendum have been betrayed and shattered. There is now no hope of achieving a Brexit beneficial to the UK. No-one in 2016 spoke of leaving without a deal or trading on WTO terms – all talk was of the great deals that we could do with the EU. The incompetence of the Tory government has destroyed that aspiration quite unnecessarily, leading to an attempt to move the goalposts and to herald the referendum result as a mandate for a disastrous No Deal Brexit. Given the choice between No Deal and No Brexit Labour has no hesitation in backing the revocation of Article 50 and remaining a full member of the EU.

      A General Election could well be coming sooner than people think. If a rogue new Tory PM attempts to push the UK towards a No Deal Brexit they will certainly face a no-confidence vote in the Commons – and almost certainly lose.

      In the ensuing election Labour will not be able to sit on the fence. They will have to choose one extreme or the other. With the Leave vote split between the Tories and the Brexit party Labour’s best chance will be to come out as a fully fledged party of Remain and pledge to revoke Article 50 as soon as in power. They might need the help of the LibDems and/or the Scots Nats, Greens etc but a Remain majority in the Commons is the most likely outcome.

      No further referendum would then be necessary. A General Election trumps a referendum every time.

    4. Yay Jezza! First thing, re-impose exchange controls and stop all those Tory scumbags from sending money abroad; if any do, arrest them and convict them for “Illegal residence” and send them to Yarl’s Wood”! The nationalise without compensation everything Thatcher privatised, from BT down to the last council house! Then hold a public enquiry into the Tory’s response to the Miners’ Strike, and abolish every institution that did not actively assist the miners, PARTICULARLY the London Metropolitan Police, Thatcher’s personal Gestapo! And then declare every law passed by a Tory government invalid, because the Tory Party cannot legally form a government as the Tory Party does not officially exist! TRUE! the Tory Party wriggled out of paying Corporation Tax in 1975 when they persuaded a court that “there is no such organisation as ‘The Conservative Party’ their MPs at Westminster belong to their individual Conservative Associations, which in turn belong to the ‘National Association of Conservative and Unionist Associations”, an “unincorporated body” not liable for Corporation Tax”. Unbelieveable, but TRUE!

    5. Apparently Consevative & Unionist party members would sooner abandoned Scotland & Northern Ireland in favour of a no deal Brexit…Mrs May’s precious “union” gone…no surprise really, I always knew thw Tories hated unions.

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