So, it’s over: Jeremy Corbyn won.
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
The Labour leadership voting opens on Friday 14th August and will close midnight Thursday 10th September: we’ll know the results on Saturday 12 September. Registration closes at noon today.
So, right now, no one can even cast a vote: all the polls predicting a Corbyn victory are based on people saying how they think they’ll vote when they can.
And in that race, Jeremy Corbyn seems to be a long way ahead in the polls, to the absolute despair of people who have tied their boats firmly to the belief that left-wing leaders don’t get elected.
But huge amounts of wordage from Labour party top brass and Labour-supporting pundits have been expended in telling people not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
In this contest, for the first time in Labour’s history, while the candidates for leadership were selected from the Labour MPs by the Labour MPs, the winner will be chosen by democratic vote from members, affiliates, and supporters. Each Labour MP will have a vote, but their votes won’t be allowed to outweigh everyone else’s.
On the morning of 8th May, Jim Murphy quoted Ernst Toller, who died on 22nd May 1939:
“It is not seemly for you to Mourn,
It is not seemly for you to delay,
You have received a legacy soaked in the heart’s blood of your brothers.
The pregnant deed waits for you.
…Wide burst the gates of bright morning.”
Murphy went on to say:
“Last night was gloomy for Labour. This morning as the sun rose we were hurting. But in a morning like this, before too long. We will bounce back. We will again be the change that working people need.”.
Does Jim Murphy have a hope?
On 8th May, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg both resigned. (So did Nigel Farage, but not Natalie Bennett.) But Jim Murphy didn’t resign: instead he declared his intention to lead Scottish Labour to the May 2016 elections, when he still wants to become a MSP and First Minister of Scotland.
The memo attack on Nicola Sturgeon, a day after she had been lauded at the leaders’ debates, was certainly an attempt by the Daily Telegraph to discredit her. If the Telegraph employees who contacted Labour and the LibDems for comment were subtle enough, it was also an attempt to discredit those two parties.
The Head of Content (as Peter Oborne noted, the Telegraph no longer has an editor) may have been instructed by David and Frederick Barclay to win the general election for the Conservatives: and it is a matter of simple Parliamentary arithmetic to see that if the polls hold good, providing Labour and the SNP are willing to vote together against the Tories, the Tories cannot form a government.
Scottish Labour had a night to howl about this: between the first tweet from Simon Johnson at the Daily Telegraph at 9:42pm, to a final tweet by Scottish Labour at 7:55am on Saturday 4th April, the Scottish Labour twitter account either tweeted or retweeted 22 tweets, including one apiece from Kezia Dugdale and Jim Murphy, and two from Scottish Labour candidates, Margaret Curran and Douglas Alexander. (If Mhairi Black, the SNP candidate for Paisley, unseats Douglas Alexander, she will be the youngest MP ever to be elected, aged 20.)
At 3:44 PM on 4th Feb 2015, Kezia Dugdale, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, tweeted “FACT: The biggest party gets to form the next government”, added the hashtag #voteSNPgetTories, and a link to a Youtube video on the Scottish Labour Party channel.
While “Vote SNP Get Tories” is a valid slogan for the Labour Party to use – a tad simplistic, given the options of the Sorting Hat, but valid electioneering – to claim as “fact” that the party with the most seats gets to form the next government is wilfully misleading.
There were three women and two men in the Scottish Labour leadership contest: the media largely ignored Sarah Boyack, Kezia Dugdale, and Katy Clark: most of the mainstream publicity I saw treated the contest as if it were a race between two men, Jim Murphy and Neil Findlay.
Jim Murphy won, MP for East Renfrewshire, and currently his name gets about 2,750,000 hits on Google.
Kezia Dugdale also won: she is the Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour, and currently her name gets about 75,900 hits on Google.