All evidence now suggests that Jeremy Corbyn will win his second Leadership contest in a year, maybe even with a larger mandate than before. 84% of Constituency Labour Parties have backed Corbyn – some 285 constituencies, to Owen Smith’s 53. Most trade unions are also backing him. Of the three debates so far, it would be fair to say that the “score” is 3-0 to Corbyn, with those classing themselves as “undecided” at this morning’s debate eventually pledging their support to him based on his performance. And yet Owen Smith still says he believes that he can – and will – win. Surely not? Surely the only outcome here is another blistering Corbyn victory? Surely this is Game Over for Smith and his shadowy PLP backers?
Whatever side of the fight you fall on, one thing is a probably a given: IF (when) Jeremy Corbyn wins again, the losing side will not take the news well. I predict bitterness and tantrums from the Smith camp. Behaviour, you would think, that was unbecoming of someone who claims that party unity and a solidaritous push for General Election victory in 2020 (or sooner) are the most important issues. You’d hope, given all his talk of the hard work ahead when it comes to fighting the Tories, that the loser in this contest will graciously accept defeat – and the democratic decision of those voters deemed eligible to have their say – and put their efforts into helping their winning opponent achieve victory on a national scale.
But who knows? Maybe Owen Smith and the Labour MPs we’re told back him (although I’ve yet to see a single MP stand beside him on a campaign platform, despite promises – after she was shoved out of the race – that Angela Eagle would be Smith’s “Right Hand Woman”; Again, either Owen Smith was telling porkies or Eagle didn’t want anything to do with his campaign!) will suddenly return to their jobs in the Shadow Cabinet and actually knuckle down to fighting the Tories, rather than continue to sound off about how disunifying and unelectable the by-then two-time, democratically-elected Labour-leadership winner Jeremy Corbyn is.
I’m not holding my breath. All I know is that, one year ago today, I posted my leadership ballot and voted for Jeremy Corbyn. I’m now being asked, one year on, to try again because a bunch of MPs didn’t like the guy we picked. If, one year from now, I’ve been asked to vote for Corbyn for a third time then our great Party will well and truly be a national and international embarrassment.
It says on my Labour Party membership card that I belong to a democratic socialist party and it is for that reason that I am backing the democratically-elected socialist leader of my party. Not out of some blind loyalty to a Messianic figure or cult leader but because Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are, by and large, my own and I’ve waited all my life to see the things I believe in most passionately brought to the fore. For hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members – old and new – is really is as simple as that. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise.