Jeremy Corbyn appointed to lose the next election

[Update: or, you might prefer Man who just got elected ‘definitely unelectable’; or Jeremy Corbyn now abandoned by everyone apart from ‘voters’]

[Uupdate: Jeremy Corbyn on the Beach : Why a Man who Just Got Elected is Unelectable]

So says NewsThump; and I need something to distract people from the same old arguments about SRES / RCP.

The Labour Party has confirmed that Jeremy Corbyn will lead them to defeat in the 2020 election today... The ballot originally only asked Labour supporters whether they would like to lose the 2020 election badly, very badly indeed, or oh my goodness. However, this was not felt to represent a sufficiently broad range of potential losses, so Corbyn was added to the list as the “Nick Clegg” candidate. Corbyn took the leadership with 59% of the vote from members of the party, and those who joined just because they ‘thought it would be funny to vote for Jeremy’. “His victory is a resounding mandate for Jeremy’s style of old-school, traditional, principled Labour thumping defeat,” party insiders told us. “Now the electorate know they can reject the Labour party with a completely clear conscience.”... Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn insist it is important not make to compromises for power, because obviously the electorate totally want people who don’t take the views of others into account when they make decisions. At time of writing, Prime Minister David Cameron is reported to have laughed so hard he died twice on the table before they managed to resuscitate him.

Vair witty, as I'm sure you'll agree. And I reproduce it here as a prediction, since making predictions is good. The prediction is that Corbyn will indeed lead Labour to disaster1 at the next election; assuming he remains leader and that he doesn't suddenly change tack as Syriza were forced to in the face of reality. But I doubt he will be faced with reality any time soon.

[Update: 2015/11/11: Corbyn tries to impose control on Labour’s message. Jeremy Corbyn has sought to impose discipline on the Parliamentary Labour party by instructing his shadow cabinet that media statements must go through his central office... Mr Corbyn became leader on September 12 as a maverick outsider, determined to run the Labour party in a consensual, open way with MPs allowed to air their differences in public. After all he had rebelled more than 500 times during his three decades as a backbencher. Within weeks that approach began to look increasingly untenable as it became clear that the leader is at odds with many colleagues on everything from the Heathrow third runway to intervention in Syria.]

Refs

* Europe's Migration Crisis Isn't about Poverty, It's About Rising Wealth
* Egypt - WTF?
* Discrete Analysis — an arXiv overlay journal
* Wikipedia is significantly amplifying the impact of Open Access publications

Notes

1. No, I don't care to quantify that.

DSCN5979-regime-changeDSCN5986-drop-beats-not-bombs

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To be fair, of the four candidates, Corbyn is the only one who could gain enough popular support to win a general election, most likely in a hope v fear narrative. Though he probably won't.

[I think that's wrong, though I can accept its a view. Indeed, I think its exactly wrong: Corbyn is the only one who can't gain enough popular support. Though I think its astonishing how thin the Labour front benches are. The others are all, well, forgettable really; perhaps that's just me not paying attention to any of them -W]

I think you're spot on with two small caveats. 

Firstly that Corbyn will not win even if he does change tack;  he won't be seem as a credible pm regardless of labour's policy direction. 

Secondly that it's just possible that his leadership will be such a monumental clusterfuck he'll get ditched before having the chance to lead labour to disaster.  In which case Andy Burnham will instead lead a bedraggled and civil - war weary rump to disaster.

[Yes, there's a chance he'll be usurped. But I'm dubious, because the next reality-check is the next election -W]

By Verytallguy (not verified) on 12 Sep 2015 #permalink

As things stand, I think Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party has only slightly less chance of victory in 2020. Therefore, the 90% of Labour MPs who did not vote for Jez, might do well to consider forming a new party (e.g. an England & Wales equivalent of the SDLP in Northern Ireland?).

However, since humanity shows no signs of learning from its past, I think another financial crisis is inevitable. That being the case, there might be a way back from what now seems like electoral oblivion.

[Ah yes something that discredited capitalism might help him -W]

By Martin Lack (not verified) on 12 Sep 2015 #permalink

So the English aren't tired of austerity yet?

[I think it varies. There's not a lot of austerity to be tired of on show in Cambridge -W]

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 12 Sep 2015 #permalink

It does open an electoral gap for the Liberal Democrats.

"But I doubt he will be faced with reality any time soon."

No fear: In no time he will be an inverted Robin Hood and rob the poor to give the rich.

By Siegbrecht (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

David B. Benson writes: "So the English aren’t tired of austerity yet?"

Yes, just goes to show that climate change isn't the only subject where strange, counterfactual ideas proliferate.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

The blog was lazy rather than witty.

A useless bet

Attribution difficulties.
His proposition is that Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn will get fewer votes at the next general election than if had been led by one of the alternatives. If Labour loses we will have no idea to what extent this might be due to JC and the same is true if Labour wins.

Corbyn was added to the list as the “Nick Clegg” candidate

Wrong person. Nick Clegg argued before the election in May, that he would be less extreme than Ed Miliband and more moderate than the Tories. So also did Liz Kendall just after the election. LK was obviously the front runner for the "Nick Clegg" role and I am not the only one who has spotted the similarity.

Corbyn took the leadership with 59% of the vote from members of the party, and those who joined just because they ‘thought it would be funny to vote for Jeremy’.

Not actually wrong but misleading. He would have won even if the vote had been restricted to constituency members.

..obviously the electorate totally want people who don’t take the views of others into account when they make decisions..

Tha author does not appear to know much about what is happening to the Labour Party. But of course this is only a joke.

By deconvoluter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

I wonder how Jeremy Corbyn is going to explain his climate change denier brother. I have read some of Pier Corbyn's stuff and watched some of his videos - bad.

By Harry Twinotter (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

Harry, probably something like "We're different people. Look."

By keith (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

In reply to by Harry Twinotter (not verified)

"It is clear, too, that the prime minister will soon again be asking us to bomb Syria. That won’t help refugees, it will create more." - Jeremy Corbin

Geesh, I see Corbin has to deal with the same insanity in the UK that we have to deal with here in the USA. I think many of the GOP presidential contenders have the same silly idea - i.e., the first thing to do to solve the refugee crisis in Syria is to bomb the country.

As Eschaton says, Crazy Left Wingers - One can only imagine what sorts of horrible governments and government leaders Corbyn would associate with. As The Guardian says:

"Britain is continuing to defy the UN by selling arms to countries where child soldiers are routinely used or where youngsters are targeted in war zones. Before the world’s largest arms and security fair, which starts in London on Tuesday, the government is ignoring UN requests that it “expressly prohibit” such sales."

I got a flag, you gotta flag, all God's children got flags .... and guns, don't forget guns. Crazy talk. Just crazy talk, I tell ya.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Sep 2015 #permalink

This is exactly the sort of conventional wisdom that's spent the last 6 months or so insisting that Corbyn couldn't possibly win anyway.

The question is, can he re-engage with the 2 million or so former Labour voters who simply stopped voting altogether during the Blair years? If he can, then he has a chance. And that seems a lot more plausible to me than the idea that a Tory-lite Labour could peel off enough Tory voters from the actual Tory party...

The real, and generally neglected, story of the New Labour years was one of massive decline in popular engagement with politics. They drove away their own core supporters by the million in a futile quest for some notional "centre", with the inevitable result that the centre moved to the right. And they've been chasing it ever since, until we now end up with a situation where anybody who proposes, for example, to raise the top marginal rate of income tax to what it was for the majority of Margaret Thatcher's administration gets denounced as a Stalinist.

There are actually quite a lot of left-wingers out there in the British electorate... A Corbyn-led Labour party just might get them back in the voting booth.

[Blair won three elections; so his quest wasn't futile. His problem as I see it was then that he really didn't know what to do once he had power; he'd spent so much effort in getting and keeping it. Perhaps you could call that futile; I wouldn't disagree. The scary thing is that Corbyn does know a lot of things he wants to do, and many of them are stupid -W]

Yes, Blair won three elections - but in two of them he got fewer votes than Neil Kinnock did in 1992. You have to remember that the Tory party was a complete shambles at the time - Michael Foot's donkey jacket probably could have won at least one election against them. The greatest success of the Blair years was in turning people off politics altogether.

As for whether Corbyn's ideas are stupid - well, of course you would think they are, but that doesn't mean the electorate agrees with you. The real question is whether or not his ideas are popular.

[A friend did an analysis of Blair's victories, and its better than you make out. I'll try to find it and post it here. But regardless, the main point is that Blair won; everything else is secondary, no matter how many excuses you have -W]

'There’s not a lot of austerity to be tired of on show in Cambridge -W'

A statement roughly on a par with disproving global warming by bringing a snowball onto the senate floor..

The thing is, Austerity as practiced in the UK has been designed to target those who are very unlikely to vote conservative - so for (as an example) a 50-something in the AB social group would be unlikely to see many effects from Austerity. Unless they had to visit A&E. Things that have been cut - investment, non core council services, public sector wages, tax credits - are not going to hit you. Not yet, anyway.

Tuition fees may be an issue, of course - depends if you have kids and what age they are - and later on noticing how unaffordable housing now is. The interesting thing about dogmatic austerity is that the absolutely obvious policy of borrowing money at rock bottom rates to build desperately needed public housing - given that it's much cheaper than paying out huge amounts of housing benefit - is off the table. Indeed, refusing to borrow to invest under current conditions - rock bottom interest rates, a huge output gap, no inflationary pressure, multiple urgent areas - is economic dogmatism of a pretty drastic kind.

As far as electability goes.. it will be interesting. The concept that Labour must take votes from the Tories, and do so by becoming Tory-lite, hasn't worked - it lost Scotland and dumped a lot of core voters, many onto UKIP. Targetting the biggest chunk of the electorate - those who can't be bothered to vote, who are generally younger and poorer, and may yet by kicked into politics by the cuts in the pipeline - may be more fruitful. There people are not going to get out of bed for another Blairite clone who runs scared of Daily Mail headlines.

Having said that, I'm very dubious about Corbyn. Certainly needs to dump the anti-NATO stuff. But its not like the others were making convincing cases..

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 14 Sep 2015 #permalink

Here's the promised (ref #17) analysis:

So let's get this straight. Mrs Thatcher was only elected in 1983 due to jingoism and nationalism and not her policies, but the SNP win in Scotland in 2015 was purely due to their being left wing and nothing whatsoever to do with their nationalism which defines them? (By the way, the SNP was in favour of recapturing the Falklands.)

Using percentages of the total electorate rather than percentage of the total vote is a bit misleading. It's obviously better to get the support of 30% of the electorate on a 30% turnout (100% of the vote) than 30% of the electorate on a 100% turnout (30% of the vote), but the measure favoured by Craig Murray doesn't distinguish. And he only compares Blair with other successful prime ministers, omitting to compare him with other Labour leaders, possibly because it would make Blair look too good by comparison. So let's fill in the gaps:

Percentage of electorate:

1979 Callaghan 28%
1983 Foot 20%
1987 Kinnock 23%
1992 Kinnock 27%
1997 Blair 30.8%
2001 Blair 24.1%
2005 Blair 21.6%
2010 Brown 19%
2015 Miliband 20%

Sorted in descending order it goes: Blair, Callaghan, Kinnock, Blair, Kinnock, Blair, Foot/Miliband, Brown.

But if you use percentage of the vote (more meaningful in my view, otherwise you are effectively counting non-voters as anti-voters) then you get

1979 Callaghan 36.9
1983 Foot 27.6
1987 Kinnock 30.8
1992 Kinnock 34.4
1997 Blair 43.2
2001 Blair 40.7
2005 Blair 35.2
2010 Brown 29.0
2015 Ed Miliband 30.4

Or sorted: Blair, Blair, Callaghan, Blair, Kinnock, Kinnock, Miliband, Brown, Foot

But over the years support for the third and fourth parties has waxed and waned along with the turnout. To make a more useful comparison from one year to another, I suggest that a better measure of success is something like the ratio Labour/Conservative because it's obviously much easier to get 40% of the vote when there are essentially only two parties than when there are three or more large parties vying for support. And getting 40% of the vote when there are three major parties is likely to be very successful under FPTP, whereas 40% of the vote under a two party system is no big deal (e.g., 1966, 1970).

Under this measure the Labour leaders score:

1979 Callaghan 0.841
1983 Foot 0.651
1987 Kinnock 0.730
1992 Kinnock 0.821
1997 Blair 1.407
2001 Blair 1.284
2005 Blair 1.086
2010 Brown 0.803
2015 Ed Miliband 0.824

Or sorted:

1997 Blair 1.407
2001 Blair 1.284
2005 Blair 1.086
1979 Callaghan 0.841
2015 Ed Miliband 0.824
1992 Kinnock 0.821
2010 Brown 0.803
1987 Kinnock 0.730
1983 Foot 0.651

I.e., Blair, Blair, Blair, Callaghan, Miliband, Kinnock, Brown, Kinnock, Foot

You could do the same process with "seats gained" and get a similar result.

I think therefore that a more reasonable reading of the data is that Blair is far and away the most successful Labour leader of the last 40 years (and the only one to be elected). Moreover the sorted lists go from Right to Left across the Labour party spectrum. It's a historical fact that in recent memory, right-wing Labour leaders have been much more successful than left-wing ones. Of course that's not to say that this trend has to continue in 2020 - Jeremy Corbyn might win against historical precedent - but let's not pretend that there isn't such a trend otherwise we're living in lala land.

From the piece:
"Michael Foot consistently led Margaret Thatcher in opinion polls - by a wide margin - until the Falklands War."
That's not actually true at all. It's a made-up fact (TM). Labour (under Callaghan) lead Thatcher in the polls. Then Foot became leader (Nov 1980) and the peak Labour lead over the Conservatives. Then the SDP split from Labour happened. Then Labour's lead over the Conservatives immediately started to crash. Then the Falklands happened. See http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/voting-intention-1979-1983. The last set of polls before the Falklands War puts all three parties on fairly similar numbers, with the Conservatives 5% in front of Labour on the past poll before the invasion (1982-03-31). It is true that the Conservative lead took off during and after the Falklands Conflict, and I've no doubt that some of this popularity was due to supporting the boys / nationalism / etc., but the rest of that article is kind of bunk.

[NB: that's in response to stuff elsewhere, so don't worry if it doesn't all fit here. An example is http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/12/jeremy-corbyn-can-…. FWIW, if you've got Ken on your side I don't think you need enemies -W]

Well, yes, that's entirely fair enough, but actually it illustrates the point that I'm making: Blair was good at getting a higher percentage of the vote, but from a smaller total turnout. I tend to think that a democracy in which more people do not vote at all than vote for any of the parties is one that has serious problems, and which is failing in its basic purpose.

Whilst Blair was a success within the terms of the system, the system itself is failing.

[That the system is failing, in that more and more are disenchanted with voting, is a commonplace. You're suggesting that Corbyn might be good, because he might enthuse more people to vote; and there's some truth in that -W]

From http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/12/jeremy-corbyn-can-…, I find "The party lost its way under and after Blair – Corbyn’s straight talk is just what we need".

Ironically, I agree with almost all of that: the Labour party did indeed lose its way. It went from something unelectable with clear policies and principles, to an election winning machine with no clear purpose. It desperately does need a clear idea of what its for; and I would be very happy with more straight talk and less wurble. I just don't think Corbyn's talk makes sense; talking straight is not enough, any more than good intentions are enough -W]

I am barely knowledgeable about British politics, but from what I gather Corbyn --

* Opposes nuclear weapons and spending money on them
* Believes in a mandatory living wage
* Wants to cut tuition and fees for students
* Wants to raise taxes on the very wealthy
* Wants to abolish the monarchy
* Wants to re-nationalize the railroads
* Believes Northern Ireland should be part of the Republic of Ireland

Re-nationalizing the railroads is the only one of these ideas that doesn't seem like a no-brainer, but apparently even British conservatives are split on the idea. So, privatisation must not have worked very well.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 14 Sep 2015 #permalink

Harry Twinotter -- "I wonder how Jeremy Corbyn is going to explain his climate change denier brother."

He doesn't need to because it's no secret that he totally disagrees with his brother on the subject.

Kevin ONeill--

Not bad, except for...

"* Wants to abolish the monarchy"

He's stated he won't be fighting that battle.

"* Wants to re-nationalize the railroads"

He wants to renationalise the railways, Royal Mail, energy sector, and kick the private sector out of our NHS. Every single one of those renationalistaions is a vote winner with the majority of the British electorate. One to watch out for is that he wants to reopen the coalmines, whereas what he actually said was that he'd consider it if they were carbon neutral. In other words, there's no chance of him reopening the coalmines.

"* Believes Northern Ireland should be part of the Republic of Ireland"

It's highly unlikely that he'll pursue that one, either.

J. Bowers - regarding coalmines reopening, "he’d consider it if they were carbon neutral" Now that was worth a laugh. Only a politician can deliver that one with a straight face :)

[His reputation for straight talking will see some stress -W]

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 14 Sep 2015 #permalink

Forget Piers. I wonder how Jeremy is going to explain how he did VSO in Jamaica in the '60s without smoking ganja.

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 14 Sep 2015 #permalink

Vinny -

I'm not sure it'll be too much of an issue, try googling 'george osborne cocaine' and come to your own conclusions.

Nice to see that the subtle attack ads have started circulating. He's the Manchurian Candidate, I tells ya'.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

Manchurian Candidate? If some of the redtops are to be believed, he's Godzilla...

Dunc -

Indeed, having seen the Daily Mail headlines on Sunday (my parents were visiting), I can conclude that they don't entirely approve of Mr Corbyn's politics.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

Andrew D, Corbyn's problem is the opposite of Osborne's: people believe his denial. He's weird enough to have spent his late teens in Jamaica without sampling local herbs.

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

Vinny - can you name 6 people who care?

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

Vinny, JC is a vegetarian.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

I wish him well.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 15 Sep 2015 #permalink

Visions of disaster may be a bit presumptuous. He may be the only one of the four that could re-engage with Scots voters. If Labour were able to recover some seats North of the Border, then they may have a very slim chance of challenging the Tories. I still think it's highly unlikely that he will succeed though. It seems like they have forgotten quite how unelectable Michael Foot was.

By Mike McClory (not verified) on 22 Sep 2015 #permalink

Help me out here as I'm looking from a long, long way away:
Was this really in the news in Britan?

http://off-guardian.org/2015/09/21/red-neoliberals-how-corbyns-victory-…

"... autumn 2002 Ed Vulliamy, a correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Observer .... persuaded Mel Goodman, a former senior Central Intelligence Agency official who still had security clearance, to go on record that the CIA knew there were no WMD in Iraq. Everything the US and British governments were telling us to justify the coming attack on Iraq were lies.

Then something even more extraordinary happened. The Observer failed to print the story...."

[> Was this really in the news in Britan?
No. It even says it wasn't. It says it was suppressed news. We've no way of knowing if its true or not -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink

> [...We’ve no way of knowing if its true or not -W]

This was originally reported by Nick Davies in his 2008 book 'Flat Earth News.' To my knowledge the story has never been denied by any of the central figures (Goodman, Vulliamy, Alton). Given the direct quotes Davies uses in the telling he obviously had several inside sources.

Beyond Vulliamy, we have the contemporaneous statements by Scott Ritter, the subsequent revelations by Lawrence Wilkerson and Ray McGovern, and the fact no WMDs were ever found in Iraq.

It was pretty obvious *at the time* that Iraq did not have any WMD.I know that I started writing about the whole fiasco in early fall 2002. Why anyone needed either the UK or USA governments or one of their agencies to publicly admit this as required proof just shows how overwhelming the tide of propaganda ran and how few people were able to resist it.

As of January 2015, 52% of FOX News viewers believe we definitely found WMD in Iraq. Propaganda works.

[> *at the time*

Regrettably, I wasn't blogging then, so have no direct record of what I thought; and memory is fallible. I certainly opposed the war (the picture used at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_the_War_Coalition is mine) but I'm fairly sure that I took the WMD story literally and saw no reason to disbelieve it; other than the entirely contrived nature of the phrase "WMD", which was intended to over-dramatise not-very-scary weapons. Which, as later became clear, didn't even exist -W]

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 17 Oct 2015 #permalink