On the figurative morning after the figurative night before, heads spinning from too much late night Wine and Dimbleby – phrases like ‘political earthquake’ spewing from the commentariat cliché machine like little sausages filled with pungently seasoned paté de cliché – with the heady whiff of a seemingly inevitable Tory defeat in our nostrils, wafting tantalisingly from the horizon ahead of us and the absolutely understandable desire for the many not the few to whoop with joy…
….and despite an opening sentence far too long for its own good…
…it’s easy to be simplistic, it’s easy to generalise, it’s easy to be binary, it’s easy to be revisionist. So let’s try not to do any of that.
(sings in the style of Cliff Richard) ‘Election time, Dimbleby and wine….’
Someone asked me recently: ‘Why NinjaMarmoset?’ Well aside from it being an anagram of my name, once my old university mucker George Dillon suggested it, I knew that the implicit cocktail of tufted monkey cuddliness and Japanese ninjutsu stealth, espionage and assassination was the dialectical blog moniker for me. In light of that, I was quite amused when three different people suggested – or demanded – on Friday June 9th, the day after the general election – that I might like to ‘apologise’ for having been so vocal in my criticism of one J Corbyn esquire over the last two years. Aside from the somewhat creepy and controlling tenor of this suggestion – ‘May the apostates be lined up and made to recant!‘ – I think the time would be better spent having an analytical and ambivalent simian nibble at five things that actually did or didn’t happen on June 8th 2017. It’s taken me a few days, but that’s because I was running low on goat vellum.
The Marmoset takes a sideways look
1) It was a stunning victory for Jeremy Corbyn / Labour Lost
The stats have been much ruminated upon in more authoritative organs than this, but whilst it was undoubtedly an extraordinary and surprising poll turnaround, the Labour Party – plus all the oppositional left of centre parties combined – lost the election. That’s in terms of parliamentary seats, of course, but even if you dig into vote share – and the popular vote itself – Theresa May still pulled in over 13.5 million votes, increased the Tory vote share by five and a half per cent, and at 42.4% is up there with Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and John Major, all of whom enjoyed huge popular mandates with similar or lesser percentages.
So when Shami Chakrabarti went onto the BBC the night after the election and claimed that ‘[Jeremy Corbyn] effectively won’, in reality that was the one thing that hadn’t happened. Achievement or no achievement, ‘effectively’ Labour lost.
This isn’t about pouring cold water on the phenomenon of a Conservative poll lead of twenty points on 18th April falling to just three per cent on June 8th, it’s about looking the numbers in the eye and asking what they mean. US President Lyndon B Johnson famously said that the first rule of politics is that ‘its practitioners need to be able to count’. No matter how you spin this, a minority isn’t a majority, so Labour and its supporters mustn’t fall into the trap of believing that it is, and now, more than ever, must ask serious questions as to why it isn’t, and how the next hurdle can be o’erleapt.
Theresa May ran the worst Conservative election campaign in living memory (certainly in my adult life and that’s going back a fair way!) – was the least inspiring and most robotic candidate – launched a disastrous manifesto, which she promptly dumped etc etc etc and yet she still had those extremely impressive voting stats. Yes! Impressive! You think Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t hail numbers like that as a mandate?
And yet many in print and online media have hailed Labour’s result as a nation waking up to Jeremy Corbyn’s message of hope. It isn’t. It’s less than half of a nation, and one that remains more emphatically divided than ever. Whilst it’s understandable that most of the commentary since last Thursday has been about Jeremy Corbyn’s success, by far the more important question is why Labour still lost.
Of course, if there were an election tomorrow – with May still in charge (once the screams of horror at the very thought had died down) – Labour would romp home without a doubt. Right now – in the cold light of morning – it feels very much as if the period of Tory hegemony that began in 2010 is well and truly over (apart from the next five years of course…). But the election won’t be happening tomorrow. And it won’t be happening with Theresa May as Tory leader either.
Several commentators – including Owen Jones – have made comparison to the poll turnaround of 1945 which saw a 12% swing to Labour bring in Attlee’s epoch defining government. Hmm. As returnees to this page will know, comparisons to Attlee turn me into a werewolf (scroll down to the final section of this blog from last year…). Yes it was a 12% swing from the election result at the previous election, ten years and a world war away in 1935, but opinion polling such as it was had Labour creeping into the lead as early as 1942 despite patriotic support for Churchill as war leader. Of course this can be interpreted at least two ways. The Corbyn disciple can say: ‘Well there you go! Jeremy achieved in three weeks what Clement Attlee did in three years!’ A more circumspect observer might counsel caution. Like a dodgy share portfolio, values can go down as well as up, and such rapid change often indicates a high degree of unpredictable volatility, and a fragility to the numbers as an insecure electorate grasp at whatever straws of hope are wafted their way; or in dangerous times, at whatever least-worst solutions appear to offer themselves. Attlee built his victory on years at the helm as deputy prime minister alongside Churchill during a world war, and in that respect had become something of a trusted – or trustable – brand for whom waverers could chance their vote. Corbyn does not yet have that brand reliability in the centre ground, and will need to replace it with something of equal solidity if current polling isn’t to be proved transitory in the face of a new Tory foe showing the basics of competence.
And if anyone reading this is asking: ‘Why does this scuzzy little tree rat only bang on about Labour’s problems? Why’s he being so negative?’ It’s because these questions cannot be ducked. The Tories ‘won’ in real terms – ! – but they’re sure as hell asking themselves why they didn’t win big enough. Both sides have questions to answer, and Labour’s are just as tough, and any serious politician knows that the next election belongs to the party with the best and most hard-faced answers.
2) It Was The Youth Wot Won It!
Well… yes, and no.
That’s the whole point of this blog, so you’d better get used to it!
At the time of writing, the exact voting demographics aren’t out yet, but it seems reasonable to assert just by looking at where the big swings took place (university towns such as Canterbury…) that young voters, many registering for the first time, got stuck in and helped to tip the balance in certain places. So far, so youthful (and middle class and aspirational…).
But before we get too carried away, just go back to the beginning here.
Labour didn’t win. Labour lost. The Youth didn’t win it.
I’ve rattled on pretty tediously over the last couple of years how campaigning to the disenfranchised and those who habitually don’t vote is, by definition, a fairly fruitless enterprise. Whilst I stand partially corrected that insofar as clearly there has been an impact this time, my point still stands. According to some psephologists there are only seventy-five constituencies in which the youth vote alone can effectively outnumber an older, more conservative demographic, and before last Thursday, fifty-seven of those were already in Labour hands. Perhaps this explains at least in part why Labour didn’t make even greater gains than they did. But it also tells us that some of these impressive and unexpected swings and/or gains were to do with marginal voting patterns… most probably (no evidence as yet) older voters alienated by Tory manifesto proposals on Social Care, the Triple Lock, and universal Winter Fuel allowances. If this proves to be the case then you can argue that it’s those marginal voters who really hold the keys to 10 Downing Street.
If/when Labour get in next time – it’ll be the crumblies wot win it.
It’s still the case, as it always is and always will be, that in order to win a general election – especially an absolute majority not dependent on a progressive alliance with the SNP or the LibDems – a crucial body of people, who already vote, who are not tribal, and are open to changing their minds, are there to be persuaded by whoever seriously aspires to power.
4) This Was The Brexit Election / This Wasn’t The Brexit Election
Well… it was… and it wasn’t.
Or to put it another, and equally contradictory way: it was supposed to be; but then it wasn’t; but all along everything about it actually was; everything can be traced back to it; and will continue to be Brexit flavoured for the foreseeable future.
In some ways this is the most depressing aspect of this whole awful election – and it seems to me that pretty much everyone is culpable. The only reason we ended up with Theresa May in the first place was because of Brexit. The reason she wanted a bigger mandate was to give herself a free hand on Brexit. Labour was (is) hopelessly split and confused and wilfully, teeth-grindingly vague on Brexit – as of course the Tories are and have been for forty years. The public trusted May on Brexit. And then they found out she didn’t have a bloody clue either. Both teams decided that Brexit was the policy that dare not speak it’s name and stopped talking about it altogether. The electorate were sick of Brexit and didn’t understand the horrific complexity of it either, so we were happy to move on to other things. Tim Farron stuck his hand up and said; ‘Let’s talk about Brexit’… and the whole country told him to shut up.
And no one gave a flying f*ck what Paul Nuttall had to say about it.
Then terrorists started murdering people on our streets and in our concert arenas and suddenly it didn’t seem so important.
Despite a lame effort in the closing stages, we never got back on track. This may yet prove to the defining national disaster of the twenty first century and Theresa May’s negotiating stance ended up being the one thing we didn’t really discuss beyond the vaguest of details. Labour barely challenged it, because they knew that their multi billion pound spending pledges are absolutely meaningless without a successful outcome, and they can’t promise that either.
And as for us, the electorate? Basically we’ve been sticking out fingers in our ears and hoping for the best. Every second that we didn’t discuss Brexit and demand clarity and forensic detail about how the next ten years was going to work – was in itself an example of how Brexit was shaping everything that happened. We should all be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves.
Overly cynical perhaps, but this is how discussion of Brexit felt for much of the election…
Negotiations start next week.
4) Main Stream Media Was Finally Shown The Door
Weeeellll….. (wheedle, wheedle, wheedle) …it depends how you look at it…
…and frankly I’m not sure I can be arsed to go into great detail here, having explored the issue many times on these pages, but let me have one more go.
According to Kerry-Anne Mendoza, The Canary’s editor-in-chief interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme (click here and scroll to 25.25 to hear the relevent extract), in the run-up to the election her website had 25 million hits – outperforming Reuters, The Economist, New Statesman, The Spectator and The Times.
This poses two crucial questions. The first is one concerns the most fundamental of life’s questions:
This is actually my favourite joke… ever
Given the partisan nature of The Canary surely its job isn’t to persuade the politically neutral, but to give voice to the new activism on the Corbyn/Momentum left. People choose to go there because they already believe in those ideas. There’s nothing wrong with that – apart from the appalling quality of the journalism. Similarly, the Mail is read by people who go to that paper because it reinforces their world view. There’s nothing wrong with that either – apart from the appalling quality of the journalism.
The one major exception in print journalism is the London Evening Standard which is free and browsed at some point by everyone on public transport in the capital. That one paper does have an ability to shape opinion, rather than simply to follow it in order to sell units.
The second question – and perhaps far more important – is that with those kinds of numbers, who exactly is the Main Stream Media now? And if it’s not broadcast or print media, then do organs such as The Canary see themselves as exempt from the kind of criticisms hitherto aimed at minnows such as those owned by the Murdoch empire?
An important thing to remember for anyone spinning a line…
5) It’s Time For Corbyn’s Critics To Eat Large Portions Of Humble Pie
I completely get why formerly critical members of the Parliamentary Labour Party are queuing up to eat humble pie all over the tellybox over Corbyn’s relative success last week. They can sniff victory – should the May government collapse any time soon – and so a public realignment behind a now successful figurehead is most definitely the new realpolitik.
I use the word ‘figurehead’ advisedly. My guess is (and it can only be a guess) that many of them still harbour deep reservations about Corbyn’s core skills – that much has been evident from several TV interviews not least Hillary Benn’s politely evasive exchange with Evan Davis (Newsnight 13th June 2017) – but see a Labour victory by any means as superseding those concerns. Go for it!! Why not?
I’m not a member of the Labour Party any more – something I find incredibly liberating – so luckily for me I don’t have to suspend my judgement, turn a blind eye, or get behind anyone.
So what just happened (or didn’t) to bring about this transformation?
Let’s not get revisionist about this. Three weeks into the campaign and it was all still extremely grim. Jeremy was stumbling and carping through TV interviews; the polls were terrible; his campaign was rooted in declarations of class war, threats to come after Mike Ashleigh and Philip Green, and a desperate vision of Britain that was like something out of Hieronymus Bosch. Labour candidates were apologetically pleading on the doorsteps for votes on the basis that Jeremy couldn’t possibly get into Number Ten…
And then manifesto week came along – and Jeremy Corbyn Mark II was born!!! Cue heavenly choirs!!
If you’ve got it, flaunt it!!
He didn’t do well because his critics were wrong. He did well because at the eleventh hour he – or someone in his campaign team – woke up to the reality that many of the criticisms were correct and needed addressing pronto. He did well because Theresa May decided to self destruct in a manner never before witnessed in a UK election campaign – and take what was left of the Tory brand down with her. And he did well because he concentrated on what he is good at. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!!
Disingenuous? That’s not my intention. Seriously. Let’s look at the evidence, take a ride through the checklist of design faults on the old Jeremy Corbyn Mark I. I think there was one in an edition of What Party Leader. Let me dig it out….
Image: For the last two years those of us not so enamoured of the old model have despaired of the ill fitting suits, the scruffy beard, the the wince inducing Lenin cap. Fans of the original leapt to his defence. ‘It’s authentic!’ they opined. ‘Jeremy the Saviour is above such superficialities!’ David Cameron mocked The Chosen One in parliament, passing on Mama Cam’s advice that he should ‘put on a proper suit and do up his tie’. Jeremy has done just that – got a decent haircut and trimmed his beard – and now at least he vaguely looks the part.
Corbyn Mk I rating 3/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 8/10
Manner: Up until the launch of the manifesto on May 16th, Corbyn’s encounters with the media were uniformly tetchy and defensive. He would regularly struggle to hold his temper, and bark spiky rebukes to any journalist daring to ask a difficult question. Again the disciples cried unto the heavens: ‘Go, Jeremy, go! For they are all unbelievers massed against you!! Tetch away, Lord! The World will know of their bias and You will show them!!’
Unfortunately for the disciples, some wise head in Labour HQ said: ‘You know what Jezza, you don’t half come across as a grumpy old twat. Why don’t you loosen up? Smile! Your smiles become thee well! Appear cross-gartered and in yellow stockings!’
Ehm, no, they didn’t say that last bit, although a nip of Twelfth Night never did anybody any harm. Yer man has had some solid media training. He hasn’t lost his temper on air for nearly a month now! Whahoooo! And he doesn’t worry about the questions – choosing to answer whatever is thrown at him in his own way. It’s pretty basic stuff but at last – AT LAST!! – he seems to have got the hang of it.
Having said that, since the election, he has come over as a bit smug. As a lot smug, if Sunday’s Andrew Marr show is anything to go by. He’ll need to watch that. The British public love an underdog, but they hate a smug bastard.
Corbyn Mk I rating 2/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 8/10 (or 7/10 factoring in smugness)
Corbyn is a Campaigner, not a Politician: The apostates spake unto the acolytes: ‘I know you love him an’ everything, but he’s spent 35 years on the back benches, voting against his party more than 500 times and organising demos. He hasn’t got a clue about parliamentary politics, or actually getting things done, which is a team sport, dependent on cunning strategems, machiavellian deals etc etc.’
‘Ah,’ they sang in shimmering harmony, ‘but He speaks of a New Politics – Straight Talking and Honest – like one of those loan consolidation packages advertised by Carol Vorderman on daytime TV!’
Well… the jury’s out on this one. The very nature of What Just Happened is about him doing what he does best – i.e. campaigning. Huge rallies of adoring crowds who have come to be filled with the Jezzy spirit. He’s clearly had some debate training but dealing forensically with counter argument is still not his strong point. We’re yet to see whether He-That-Is-Jez can persuade the hard core doubters, or operate within the febrile atmosphere of a hung parliament for what could be a lot longer than people anticipate. Whilst I’m dubious of comparisons to 1974, let no one forget that the Wilson/Callaghan government lasted for the full five years.
And that’s before we even get to considering the realities of what it means to actually govern, should that come to pass at some point.
Campaign rating (Both models) 9/10 Politics rating (Both models) – tbc
The next category is a double header:
Jeremy Corbyn is too extreme: Personally speaking, this has never been the issue for me, as I’ve said many times on these pages. My beef has been far more about competence and the superficial politics-subsidiary-Santa-list nature of his policies, but rooting around the track record of JC, McDonnell and other the apostles, there are certainly traces of alarming fundamentalism knocking about. I won’t evidence that here, simply because there’s no point. With a dazzling starburst of realpolitik, the team have moved on – to a far tastier, easy to chew left of centre populism. Which leads us to…
He needs to woo the Centre Ground: Anyone who dared suggest this on social media during the two leadership campaigns was roundly abused as Blairite Scum, Tory Lite, NeoLib Bastard etc etc etc. Jeremy was True Labour, the Authentic Voice of the Working Class, the Disenfranchised etc etc but of course the centre is where UK elections are won. There is no getting away from it. Corbyn’s team know it. And so, Alice-like, we have gone through the looking glass and, as explored in a previous blog, the glittering utopia of the Labour manifesto and subsequent pledges is full of fabulous retail offers to an anxious middle class wanting to hang on to their cash – not to mention promises of legions of armed police and increased surveillance. Hey! I’m not knocking it. It’s a good thing – apart from the small matter of a tax and spend model that is probably unsustainable in the long term.
But, hey… we can deal with that later…
Corbyn Mk I rating 5/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 7½/10
Corbyn is divisive and anti-aspirational: One of Corbyn’s more dreary character traits has been the constant portrayal of the country in a state of collapse. This may yet come to pass if Brexit proves as problematic as it threatens to be – for which Mr J should be held as responsible as any other Brexit politician – see below – but at the moment, despite huge inequalities, eye-watering stresses on public services etc etc we still live in one of the most prosperous and privileged countries on the planet. To get people on board with working together to create a fairer society, the focus has to be on aspiration, not the constant reiteration of everything that’s wrong. Defining the country purely in terms of the Have-Nots versus the Haves may reflect a certain truth but it ends up smearing and dividing everyone.
Right up to the campaign launch in Manchester on May 8th, JC Mk I was still in the ascendent, a wide eyed sooth sayer, stirring the masses to an angry war against Mike Ashleigh and Sir Philip Green who ‘would have reason to be afraid’! Whether or not these guys deserve a kicking, anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations would have good cause to feel nervous.
I think someone had a word.
He may well have gone on saying that at rallies – I have no idea – but he kept such pitchfork-and-torches talk to himself when in front of a TV camera. The media advisers know exactly how it looks.
Eight days later, when the Labour manifesto hit the table, it was utopia all the way. Lots of free money, and an industrial paradise where five per cent of the population would see us all right by paying ‘a little bit more’.
Whether or not this can work in practice is for another blog, but it’s certainly the way to go if you want to win an election – and the other lot aren’t saying anything apart from: ‘It’s going to be shit, and I’m the best person to deal with quite how shit it’s going to be… oh and by the way, I want your house.’
A Labour family watch a nuclear strike in the sure and certain knowledge that we won’t be retaliating … What??? That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Corbyn Mk I rating 1/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 8/10
Anti Semitism / Terrorist Sympathies: Shortly before the election I wrote on these pages about my reasons for not voting Labour in the light of the Manchester bomb attack so I won’t reiterate that here. Keyboard apologists are keen to poo-poo such concerns, but in some darkened room, Labour strategists know full well quite how vulnerable they are on these flanks. Whether Diane Abbott is truly unwell is not for me to say, but rest assured they slept a little easier once both she and Ken Livingstone were safely consigned to the annexe… you know, the one with the sound proof walls and double padlocks.
Meanwhile on social media the narrative is that if it’s ok for Theresa May to snuggle up to the DUP then it’s okay for Jezza to get cosy with Sinn Fein/IRA. Aside from the ahistorical mismatch, the logic doesn’t work at all. As far as I’m concerned it’s a good reason not to vote for either of them, and you can bet your bottom Euro that Labour brains are praying that Sinn Fein don’t suddenly decide to take their seats at Westminster. That could kill Corbyn’s chances stone dead at the next election.
Meanwhile Corbyn has to tread very carefully in his dealings with the DUP. He might need their help if he wants to defeat May on key policies, and if he lays into them with the hand wringing self assurance of many on social media he will end up being just as destabilising to the NI peace process as his Tory counterpart. This is his opportunity to rise above prejudice and act like a statesman.
Corbyn Mk I rating 1/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 5/10
Defence: This is still a mess. Labour Party policy is still multilateralist. Jeremy is – and forever will be – unilateralist. He got away with it this time because the two terrorist attacks shifted the focus from ICBM to IED… and so the irreconcilable confusion over nuclear policy was forgotten, but it might not be next time and a newly united Labour party will have to get its shit together. Always worth remembering that the electorate aren’t unilateralist, and I doubt they ever will be, as Neil Kinnock learned to his cost. Where Corbyn goes on this might be his ultimate realpolitikal hurdle.
Corbyn Mk I rating 2/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 4/10
Jeremy Corbyn is an intellectual lightweight: Sorry peeps, nothing I’ve seen, no matter how adoring his crowds, no matter how confident he has become in a TV one-to-one has changed this. Polling success or not, no one can sprout IQ overnight. Although, having said that, when the incumbent Tory administration is as utterly shite as it is at the moment perhaps brains cease to matter.
Until of course he actually gets into power.
This is what really worries me when I consider the prospect of a Corbyn premiership. I still don’t think he has the intellectual chops, or political fleetfootedness to handle the job. That’s me being polite. And that’s before we get to some of the utter dimwits taking up space on the front bench after the so-called coup of 2016. He has one or two strong political players – Emily Thornberry, Sturdy Starmer, and the effete bruiser that is Barry ‘Creepy’ Gardiner… but Diane Abbott? Richard Burgon? Seriously?
And yet… who knows? The change in fortunes over the last month seems to have woken the spirit of realpolitik in the Corbyn team, and once that happens quite a few smarts fall into place as a matter of course. My personal jury will take a lot of convincing, and he’ll need to bring in some the more experienced players back onto the field if he wants to be taken seriously by floating voters remaining to be convinced. Yvette Cooper for Shadow Home Secretary anyone?
Corbyn Mk I rating 2/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 2/10
Corbyn failed the country over the EU Referendum: Don’t give me that ‘he-was-campaigning-really, the-media-didn’t-report-it’ bollox. Seriously, just don’t. I might not be responsible for my actions. He didn’t, ok? Get used to it. Own it. No one but the most revisionist Corbotee seriously believes he did. As I’ve said elsewhere, THIS is what campaigning looks like: the smart suit, the smiling ‘vote-for-me’ face, the rallies, the passion – not going on Channel 4 and giving the EU 7½ out of 10; not calling for Article 50 to be invoked on live TV the morning after the referendum before he’s consulted a single cabinet colleague (and people wonder why they all resigned????).
On one hand, what’s done is done. But on the other I still can’t forgive him. If Jeremy Corbyn (with the help of a Tory meltdown) can knock seventeen points of a twenty point Conservative poll lead – swinging millions of votes – then don’t try to tell me he couldn’t have swung the 600,000 votes we needed to overcome the 1.2 million majority enjoyed by the Leave campaign. If he’d got his shit together last year none of this would be happening right now. None of it.
None of it.
For me, it remains one of the greatest acts of political sabotage – (Neglect? Carelessness? Stupidity? There’s no good way to spin it) – of my lifetime. And now he has the gall to knock at Number Ten’s door on the back of the votes of the very generation whose future he has betrayed.
Corbyn Mk I rating 0/10 Corbyn Mk II rating 0/10
A quick tot-up gives a total score of 25/100 for Corbo one-point-zero, up to 51.5/100 for the election reboot. So, if The Inquisition will allow me, I’ll settle for saying that the New Model Corbyn is a hundred per cent better than the prototype sent to What Party Leader last year. And yes it absolutely did confound expectations. I stand amazed, and even corrected. But that’s starting from a low base, and frankly who knows what would have happened had Theresa May not decided to do a big greasy shit over her core demographic. Let’s hope that Jeremy Corbyn Mark III will take a little less than 35 years to hit the market.
If all of this seems a little lemon lipped, rest assured…
…I love lemons, and on Friday morning I woke up thinking that, messy, chaotic, and frightening though the next few years may be, democracy had triumphed and we had got a result that precisely reflected the wishes of the country. Jeremy Corbyn hadn’t yet earned the nation’s trust, but Theresa May had lost it; a majority preferred the Tory brand despite her shortcomings and chose that, with May stripped of her power and the worst excesses of the manifesto neutralised by the lack of parliamentary numbers. With regard to Brexit, it’s not completely out of the ball park to suggest that this result is the country’s way of telling the politicians to work together to sort this out. A wise Mrs May would convene a cross party negotiating team to deal with the most crucial realignment of the UK’s position in the world since World War 2. And as for Mr C himself… well, as far as I can see he got the perfect result. No one loves a heroic defeat more than a British lefty (such noble defeatism doesn’t exist in the Tory canon) – and this way he gets all the plaudits, he gets his PLP on side, and he doesn’t have to deliver on a single manifesto pledge or disappoint anyone.
And if he really is finding some smarts down the back of the Labour sofa, he will ask himself the very tough questions about why he lost this time, and what he needs to do to win the next. If he does he will be unstoppable.
And if you think that all of this is being wise after the event, please may I indulge myself (when did I do anything else?) by sharing a Facebook post I wrote on 18th April, the day Theresa May announced her ill fated election and the polls were fifteen to twenty per cent in her favour…
I was wrong about the LibDems and I didn’t factor in the NI parties, but otherwise…