Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn will be unelectable ..... and Margret Thatcher was viewed as unelectable by the Tories in 1975

With all the rhetoric coming from all sides claiming Jeremy Corbyn will be an unelectable disaster for Labour, we should remember this simple point. Margret Thatcher was viewed as unelectable by the Tories and the upper echelons of the Tory party did all they could to stop her becoming leader.... Sound familiar?

Charles Moore, author of another biography of Thatcher, concurs: “Many regarded her candidacy as nothing more than a chance to prepare the ground for challenges by someone more serious, or merely for malcontents to let off steam.”  Sound familiar? [More here]

The Guardian’s Anne Perkins simply notes Thatcher was seen as “unelectable” by her own party”  [More here]

The Sunday Mirror’s Woodrow Wyatt argued Thatcher would take the Tory Party in “an extremist, class-conscious, right wing direction” which would keep it out of office for a decade. She was “precisely the sort of candidate who ought to be able to stand, and lose, harmlessly”, argued The Economist. “Leading Heathites… believed that the Tory party must stay on the middle ground to stand a chance of winning elections”, according to Campbell. [More here]

If all this sounds strangely familiar four decades later, Moore provides another uncanny historical parallel: “As the campaign entered its closing phase, the ‘establishment’ which Mrs Thatcher had decided to take on pulled out all the stops.” [More here]

Of course, there are many significant differences between Thatcher’s and Corbyn’s bids to lead their respective parties and, if the Labour backbencher should win, their attempts to lead the country. However, my key - though obvious - point still stands: the unexpected can and sometimes does happen. And it can happen a lot quicker than anyone was expecting. There is, in short, no unchanging historical or political forces, or logical reason, why Corbyn couldn’t be prime minister.
[More here]

a YouGov poll for the Evening Standard found Corbyn “has more support among the London public than his nearest rivals, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, put together.” The fact that many of Corbyn’s political positions are supported by a majority of the general public can only increase his electability. [More here]

So, before politicians, journalists and, yes, Corbyn supporters, blindly repeat the establishment-framed and establishment-preserving argument that Jeremy is unelectable, they would do well to ponder the words of Nelson Mandela, a man who knew a thing or two about political change: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” [More here]

Across three decades New Labour strategists have overlooked a crucial reality: politicians reinforce the values they espouse. The harder you try to win by adopting your opponents’ values, the more you legitimise and promote them, making your task – and that of your successors – more difficult. [More here]

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