Jeremy Corbyn has proved that he is not unelectable, after all. He has confounded his critics with his election as leader of the Labour Party, and has now signaled intent to tighten his grip in the context of shadow cabinet elections. Indeed, the socialist from Islington could appoint his own shadow cabinet to emit a signal to defiant MPs who are clamouring for a say in its constitution as the price for a truce. In the immediate perspective, he has been able to overcome the challenge to his leadership from Owen Smith.
The triumph in Saturday&’s election must be as critical at the individual level as it is for the Labour Party. Profound will be the impact on the next elections (2020), though it must be accepted that Britain today lacks an Opposition worth its salt. A churning within is, therefore, generally anticipated and Corbyn might well conduct his own reshuffle. Indeed, he has hinted at a limited number of “de-selection” of MPs, couched in the assurance that the “vast majority” of Labour MPs had nothing to fear.
And yet several high-ranking MPs are gearing up for a fight, going by speeches at the party&’s conference in Liverpool. It is a measure of the bickering within that battlelines have been drawn over the weekend, indeed in the immediate aftermath of Corbyn&’s victory. There is no denying that the applecart has been rocked if the decidedly cynical observation of a senior backbencher is any indication Rs “The leader wants the unity of the graveyard”.
What could yet turn out to be a daunting task for critics is that membership of the Labour Party has been buttressed in the hours since the outcome was announced, with a further 15,500 people joining the party. It is early days to speculate whether the new leader has thus gained a groundswell of potential support.
The anti-Corbyn segment is expressedly aware that the hard left new entrants will vote for him. It would be presumptuous to speculate on 2020 quite yet; the leader needs to be given time enough to refashion the party&’s paradigm, even if in his own lights.
Fairly definite is the fact that most of Britain&’s 45 million voters do not share Corbyn&’s desire to jettison capitalism and unilaterally forsake the country&’s nuclear weapons, nor his sympathies for strongmen, pre-eminently the likes of Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez.
Unmistakable is the paradox – Corbyn has been voted in twice under Labour&’s own party rules, and yet they are loath to accept it. Realpolitik would suggest that the party works with him, and functions as an opposition. This is not the Labour Party that Britain once knew.