Thursday, 13 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn Set To Win Labour Leadership

This week in my Crawley Observer column, on the day that new sign-ups for the Labour leadership vote finally stopped, I have written about the shambolic leadership contest and the dangers of entryism. It has tonight been announced that there are 610,000 potential votes in this contest but that only 200,000 of them were members before May's election. We all know where the majority of those new votes will go.

Entryism - helping Jeremy Corbyn go from 100-1 outsider to 1-3 favourite
"If just four months ago, anyone had suggested to me a scenario that in 2020, President Donald Trump could be welcoming Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn to the Whitehouse, I would have laughed and said it was impossible. Fast forward four months and while still unlikely, such an event has now become possible.
Such a weird scenario becoming possible is a symptom of the strange political times we are living in, where the unexpected and bizarre can become reality. I don’t tend to follow American politics very closely and their systems of picking Presidential hopefuls, but I do take a keen interest here in the UK.

The unusual way the Labour Party are conducting their current leadership contest has its roots in the last one. The national choice of their party membership was David Miliband but Ed Miliband got over the line due to Trade Union votes. This was true in Crawley where the local Labour Party publically nominated David Miliband but ended up having to pretend for five years that his brother was the chosen one.
Labour recognised they had to change their leadership election system but what they came up with is increasingly likely to produce the wrong outcome, meaning Labour could have another unelectable leader for another five years. The problem now is that the system they created is open to blatant entryism, with half of all those with a vote having signed up since after the general election. I also suspect that returned votes will be higher among the new ‘members’ than the existing members. Entryism may well make Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party, as many pundits are saying most people signing up are from even further to the left than Labour.

As I wrote last week, oppositions whether nationally or locally need to be credible and electable. An outcome determined by entryism is not good for democracy and is of course unfair. Potentially, all parties can be at risk from entryism, including down to a local level when choosing candidates, but this Labour shambles is of huge consequence when picking a potential Prime Minister."