Would a slicker Jeremy Corbyn be better PM material?

corbyn

More accomplished, or at least higher profile PR pros than I have given their tuppence worth on why Jeremy Corbyn would be unelectable as Prime Minister.

Westminster kingmakers say he’s not slick enough or media savvy enough for a modern politician, he’s a throwback to the 80s, he’s a 21st century Michael Foot. He has the wrong image.

But it is precisely this lack of polish that is making him popular with the disenfranchised and the disconnected.

His policies are certainly popular with many who have become disillusioned with career politicians churned out of Oxbridge and through the party machine.

  • 75% top rate of tax
  • Nationalising the railways and utilities
  • Not renewing Trident
  • Private sector rent cap
  • Scrapping University tuition fees and reinstating student maintenance grants
  • An end to zero hours contracts
  • Major social house building programme

Populist policies that are putting the colour back into a Westminster system that has for too long been various shades of grey.

He is a new wind blowing the corridors of power say supporters, in the words of his campaign slogan ‘Straight talking, honest politics’

This approach has put him streets ahead in the race, currently polling 53% of the vote which means he would be a comfortable first round winner and new leader of the Labour Party.

After two decades of centre ground politics at last a real voice to represent those with views outside the accepted mainstream political neo liberal, free market norm.

Backers say he is a welcome breath of fresh air that will invigorate and reenergise UK politics.

If he wins it will bring back genuine debate to Westminster.

However, while this superficially may be good for democracy, it will in the long term be very, very bad for anyone who isn’t a Tory supporter.

For there is one fatal flaw in the Corbyn camp plan. History tells us that Britain, as a political entity is not a left of centre country, all the evidence says that it is very much the exception to the norm when a left leaning government gets elected.

It may surprise many to hear that it is now more than 50 years since the UK has voted in a government with a genuine left of centre manifesto with a proper working majority. More than half a century since what could be called a real Labour Government has governed, as opposed to Blairism.

Although Harold Wilson had a majority of three in October 1974 that was wiped out over the course of the parliamentary term. You need to go back to 1966 and Wilson’s majority of 96 to see socialist Labour policies being voted through comfortably.

So, the prospects of Corbyn being PM really has little to do with his style or his image.

It is his substance that is the problem. The fact is moving further to the left will do nothing to persuade middle England to vote for Labour. The majority fearful of who will pay for all this populism will triumph time after time.

His policies may be lapped up by supporters and those who have lost touch and interest in the political system. Unfortunately, they don’t make up the majority of the voting public.

Michael Foot’s term as leader has been described as the longest suicide note in history.

If election to government is the benchmark of success, history tells us a Jeremy Corbyn leadership and his policies will not be anything other than a continuation of this same note 30 years later.

Picture by Garry Knight