Jeremy Corbyn will never be Prime Minister of Britain. He's unelectable. A cruel and anti-worker Tory government set on scrapping the Human Rights Act, taking Britain out of Europe, and cutting welfare is now free to rule, probably for at least a decade.

We've been here before. Michael Foot's defeat in the 1980s condemned Britain to the cruellest years of Thatcherism.

There is nothing noble or brave about unworkable polices and promises that will never be delivered. There is only defeat.

Tory activist Lord Ashcroft recently published a survey of loyalists who voted Labour in this year's UK election. It found, "More than three quarters said one of their main reasons for voting Labour had been that the party's values were closest to their own; fewer than half said it had been because they thought Labour would have made the most competent government. This, then, is Labour's loyal core vote.

"They believed people had failed to appreciate what Labour had achieved, that credulous swing voters had been influenced by the right-wing media, and that although Labour's policies had been right, they had not been communicated well."


Ashcroft's analysis shows Corbyn has been elected by activists more concerned about validating their anger and feeling good about themselves than by people who will make Britain better. They think its more important to show their rage about inequality than to reduce inequality. Labour's base has indulged itself, convinced of their own principled virtue rather than asking hard questions about why most voters don't trust us to deliver on our principles.

But Labour's purpose is to do good, not feel good.

Jeremy Corbyn blamed the media for Labour's election loss multiple times in his victory speech. This is a cop-out. Lecturing the media won't change their minds next time around, and only begs the question of why activists are able to see through pernicious lies while voters are not.

Some banner preferences of the left are out of favour with the majority of voters Labour needs to win over. Polls following the UK election showed that the Conservatives were not re-elected despite their austerity economics but because of it. The left is wedged by this, and it is not just a matter of language or communications in making our arguments. Most of us favour strong public services funded collectively out of taxation. Yet more voters, while supporting strong public services, are rejecting tax increases to pay for them.

Jeremy Corbyn won because he was clear and authentic about his values. But now he will have to state how he will deliver on them. If he promises he can deliver public services without making hard choices about paying for them, he will not be believed. If he abandons his clarity about those services, he will betray the emotional surge that has brought him to the leadership.

There is no way through for him that will see Labour elected. The reality of Corbyn's leadership is the opposite of what it promises to be. It will actually betray Labour voters because it ensures Conservative rule by offering comfortable and easy reassurance only to Labour's activists.

Corbyn's politics are narcissism, where hard decisions never need to be made, where the unpopularity of a policy is evidence not of its failure but of its virtue.

Yet modernising Labour has failed to offer a compelling alternative. It has failed to demonstrate Labour can be hard-headed about our priorities as well as soft-hearted in our intentions, that we have a way to provide caring community services that meet voters' aspirations for better lives and their questions over whether we can be fiscally competent. Alternatives to Corbyn's emotional appeal have been so weak, it has sounded like the only other option is to split the difference with the right.


So the election of Jeremy Corbyn has thrown a grenade into parties of the left everywhere.

Those of us who believe the Labour party must be a broad church which makes people better off, need to defend our position that winning elections isn't choosing power over principle. It is more idealistic because it believes we can convince thousands to join a movement to change lives if people trust us to prioritise policies that will make more people better off. The support for Corbyn has shown that people want their politicians to be courageous. They don't want bland unity.

They want Labour to stand for something they can believe in. Jeremy Corbyn doesn't have a monopoly on that.

Josie Pagani is a centre-left political commentator and former Labour Party candidate.
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