Despite all of the attacks, personal and political, from Louise Mensch in New York to Liz Kendall in the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn is now Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Labour Party.
Atul Hatwal wrote in Labour Uncut on 22nd July: Sorry, that Labour leadership poll is nonsense. Jeremy Corbyn is going to finish fourth.
As the new deputy leader of the Labour Party wrote in the New Statesman a few days ago:
Good debate, above all in a process like this, should also be about listening. It’s easy to forget in the passion of one’s own beliefs, but you also have to listen to the others. All of them.
And you have to start from the position that, inside the Labour party, we are all good people with good motives – indeed, with the same motives – and nobody is right about everything. And nobody is wrong about everything either. Liz Kendall is not a Tory and Jeremy Corbyn is not a Trot, and saying either of those things – on Twitter, on Facebook or in real life – just plays into the hands of our real opponents – the Tories. And they hold enough cards at the moment as it is.
– Tom Watson
Tom Watson thanks his mum, dad and Baroness Alicia Kennedy, his campaign director #labourleadership
— PoliticsHome (@politicshome) September 12, 2015
So what would a Corbyn-led Labour party look like? For people like me, it’s a relief that hitherto no-go areas for mainstream Labour politicians (such as not renewing Trident) are no longer beyond the pale. But, as Blair pointed out, much of Corbyn’s economic platform consists of defending New Labour programmes from Conservative attack. Putting the massively subsidised railways into public ownership is merely a reflection of economic reality, and public control of energy industry pricing was one of the most popular elements of Labour’s last manifesto. In 2015 the Conservatives created a malign image of welfare state beneficiaries (excluding pensioners) that in effect united the middle with the rich against the poor. What Blair refused to do, and Ed Miliband failed to do, was to unite the middle with the poor against the rich. – David Edgar
“Let Tories assume they are weak. Labour will unleash the power of hope.”
The Labour Leadership election: 540,272 eligible voters. 422,664 of those actually voted. 207 spoilt votes.
- Liz Kendall: 18,857 – 4.5%
- Yvette Cooper: 71,928 – 17%
- Andy Burnham: 80,462 – 19%
- Jeremy Corbyn: 251,417 – 59.5%
Both Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham received calls to step down so that the other electable candidate could get “their” votes – which they igmored, asserting they could still win. But in the end, even if all of the Cooper-voters had voted for Burnham, or vice-versa, they still couldn’t have won – not even if the small proportion of Kendall-votes were added in. More than half the voters wanted Jeremy Corbyn. No going back from that.
So, Jeremy Corbyn won. What now?
Who are the key players in Jeremy Corbyn’s team?
According to the New Statesman:
- John McDonnell, Campaign manager in the Parliamentary Labour Party, MP for Hayes and Harlington
- Richard Burgon, Labour MP for East Leeds
- Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South
- Jon Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth
- Carmel Nolan, Head of press
- Kat Fletcher, Head of strategy and key aide
- Simon Fletcher, Campaign chief
Even Owen Jones admits: there are formidable obstacles ahead.
I’m not writing this to dampen people’s hopes, or to prepare excuses, but because people have to be ready and prepared. See those guns in the distance? Yeah, well we’re running towards them. We have to be hopeful and optimistic, but also prepared for what awaits.
Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies are anti-austerity, which puts him squarely in the economic mainstream: he supports renationalising the railways and building more council houses. All of this will be ridiculed and twisted by the mainstream press, but nonetheless:
In the not unlikely event of an economic downturn before the next general election, Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader would be uniquely placed to benefit from it. Even leading Tories concede as much. Ken Clarke—a former Conservative chancellor—recently spoke of how any recession between now and 2020 could make the Government “very unpopular” and with it a Corbyn government more likely. In a similar vein, James Meadway, an economist with the New Economics Foundation, wrote of how a recession in the next several years would make Corbyn a highly credible prime minister in waiting.
– Aaron Bastani
Jeremy Corbyn now faces massive opposition from within the Labour Parliamentary Party – that won’t go away, even though they’re likely to keep quiet about it for now in the face of his overwhelming majority by members and supporters.
The enormity of Corbyn's mandate means MPs must back him or seen to be utterly at odds with the party grassroots
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) September 12, 2015
Who’ll be in the Shadow Cabinet now?
Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper, and Chuka Umunna have already said they will be stepping down to become backbenchers when Jeremy Corbyn won.
Corbyn’s team currently is both male and pale: now the only senior Labour Party leader who isn’t a man is Kezia Dugdale.
Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland has already stepped down: he was evidently confident that Jeremy Corbyn would win, as his typed letter of resignation as Shadow Health Minister was tweeted by him within minutes of the announcement. Rather insultingly to the quarter of a million who voted for Corbyn, he said:
“In synchronicity with the British people, the Labour Party is a force for good in our troubled world. On leaving the frontbench I will work harder than ever to restore this relationship so that our party can serve those millions of Britons who require a government that will help them to become empowered to improve their lives, achieve their ambitions and protect their communities. I look forward to working with those thousands of people who have joined our party in recent months so that I can help to turn the desperation of defeat into the determination to win again.”
Andy Burnham has already committed himself to complete loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Party leader.
Jeremy Corbyn’s said that Ed Miliband would be welcome in his Shadow Cabinet to “do the job he was doing very well” in Climate Change and the Environment. (Ed Miliband served as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change between 2008 and 2010.)
We’re unlikely to know if Labour HQ are cooperating with their new leader unless there’s a leak.
I’m genuinely excited to find out who’ll be in the Shadow Cabinet once all of the senior Labour MPs who’d honestly prefer a right-wing leader have quit.
…as it could mean they end up on select committees where party politics is dropped & you follow the evidence… pic.twitter.com/DZJonTZMl5
— The Dragon Fairy (@Puffles2010) September 11, 2015
Two things are sure: with this scale of victory, Corbyn’s opponents won’t try to re-run the leadership election in 2015 unless Jeremy Corbyn himself resigns – and the party itself won’t split. They tried that before in the 1980s and it didn’t work.
Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, threatened to have his new party leader “Ousted on day one”:
“Am I going to put up with some crazy left wing policies that he is putting forward and traipse through the voting lobby to support him? It’s not going to happen is it? So I would give him about twelve months if he does become leader.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents were frantically lobbing smears at him before he won.
Now he’s leader of the Opposition, they won’t ever stop until there’s a byelection in Islington North.
Corbyn's sipping plutonium tea any minute now..
— Katie McGarvey (@KatieKhaleesi) September 12, 2015