As 2015 draws to a close Jeremy Corbyn is still the leader of the Labour party. A year ago who would have thought it possible? The only thing more remarkable than his election is that after three Months of indecision, disorder and chaos not only does he remain in place but he shows no sign of going anywhere.
There have been lots of bold words thrown around like ‘Resistance’ and ‘Rebellion’ from the Blairites but disagreement over foreign policy and military intervention has in no way challenged Corbyn’s position as leader and the sight of the Labour Right emasculated through fear of de-selection is one of the most pathetic spectacles in the history of Westminster. That not one of them has the courage to sacrifice their own career to save their party is a sad indictment of the calibre of current Labour MPs.
The 60% share of the leadership vote together with the support of Don McCluskey and the other Union bosses ensures that Corbyn is fixed in place. It had been presumed that a poor performance in May’s Scottish, Welsh and Local elections could force a challenge but people are slowly beginning to realise that 2016 will be dominated by the build up to the EU referendum, as it rightly should be, and this will afford Corbyn another year of hiding in the shadows.
But if he were to fall, would it matter? Thanks to Ed Milliband’s catastrophic overhaul of the Labour Leadership election process and the Unions’ refusal to have new members/supporters scrutinised, the Left now holds the future of the Labour party firmly in its hands.
The idea that 100,000 ‘Moderates’ could be attracted to the party come 2017 is laughable. Moderates are by their very nature, well…Moderate. Corbyn appealed to tens of thousands because he was selling a revolutionary alternative. The idea that thousands could ever become inspired by Chuka Umunna’s insipid, lukewarm statism is absurd.
For the Labour Right to achieve any sort of grassroots uprising it would need to declare open war on Corbyn and from what I have seen I doubt any of them have the stomach for it. Simon Danczuk’s defiant Daily Mail columns amount to little more than the political equivalent of a child playing Knock and Run.
It is easy for the Conservatives to focus on defeating Corbyn but that would be foolish. Corbyn is not the beast to slay, he is merely one head of the Hydra, cut it off and it will only be followed by another. Get rid of Corbyn and you get McDonnell, get rid of McDonnell and you get Abbott (a terrifying thought in itself), and so on and so on. Until the election process is reformed Labour is a party of the hard left. It could be decades until this changes.
The Labour MP most likely to end Corbyn’s leadership is Corbyn himself. His public demeanour seems to shift between that of a muddled pensioner on his weekly trip to the shops and the grumpy old man next door who won’t throw the kids’ ball back over the fence. Either way the stress of leadership has taken its toll on him and one wonders whether he has the mental strength to continue to face the relentless assault of the ‘Commentariat.’
I suppose he will consider the capture of Labour by the hard left to be a satisfactory legacy and step aside when he’s forced to the end of his tether. I think he’s the Accidental Leader who never really wanted the job and if it were not for some shady individuals in his camp telling him the world is still flat I suspect he would already have gone.
As we watch Labour crash and burn the Conservative party must take advantage, taking the opportunity to do what is right rather than what is popular. Fears over the effects of the Tax Credit cuts at the ballot box were wholly misplaced. The 2020 Conservative Manifesto could include a commitment to slaughter the first born male in every household and the Tories would still win a majority. The time is now for a bold Conservative leadership to shape both the party and the nation.
Much has been written about a healthy democracy needing a credible opposition but this is nothing compared to the gilt-edged opportunity we now have to reduce the malignant influence of the state. Free from the short term concerns of electoral appeal the Conservatives must take this chance to cut welfare and roll back the state from our lives, reinventing the United Kingdom as the nation we desire and deserve.
This article is part of our ongoing ‘Why I am a Conservative’ series, in which supporters of CfL talk about their beliefs and values. If you would like to take part please email blog@con4lib.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty