As the Labour leadership battle continues, I find myself coming back to the same point over and over. Why is there so much admiration for Jeremy Corbyn? I feel a bit like I’m stuck in the Emporer’s New Clothes, having failed to get the memo that would have explained it all. Why can’t they see he’s just an old man who means well but is ultimately hopeless?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that he is principled and that is admirable. And he is an alternative to the spin offered by most other politicians. But not, as far as I can see, a refreshing one. He is the 1980s personified and Labour were unelectable then and I can’t see them being any more electable now.
This isn’t the only problem with Corbyn though. It’s the fact that he cannot unite his own party. Okay, I understand that he has a lot of grassroots support. Great. But the party itself is more occupied with bickering and in-fighting. Not the way to win elections. (Of course, winning is not necessarily the object. Sticking to principles rigidly and making sure you have the moral high ground often seem much more important to the Left.)
Nor should this be taken as an endorsement of Owen Smith who has oozed his way into the public eye from absolutely nowhere. I can’t see how he would be good for the party either. And anyway, he won’t win.
Now that we have a female prime minister who is arguably a lot more able to lead than Corbyn, I can’t help feeling that we are heading for a re-run of Thatcher vs Kinnock with the well-meaning but ineffectual left being no match for the strength of the Tory party. What a thoroughly depressing thought.