a: I’m not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn. Never have been.
b: I spend a lot of time on Twitter defending him and retweeting sympathetic stuff from his supporters.
Point a hasn’t caused me any issues – it appears I’m in company – but point b has, at times, meant I’ve been labelled a cultist-fan of the Magic Grandpa by people without the power of original thought. So, if you’re one of those people, or if you are one of the many on Twitter who is nuance-deficient, you may be asking, “how can these two positions be reconciled?”
Well here are two more thoughts. I think that the most important and self-inflicted problems that cost Labour at the last election were
c: Jeremy Corbyn himself being leader, and
d: The civil war waged against him by much of the PLP.
So why does my Twitter timeline lead people to think I’m a Corbyn fan? Perhaps because point c happened once, five years ago, and I grudgingly accepted it, while point d occurred almost continually, with only brief respite, over the next four years. I know which I find the more annoying.
And the thing is, if anything, I think I’ve been too harsh on Corbyn. My main issue, individual policy differences aside, was that I didn’t think he was electable. Well ladies and gentlemen, anyone who can get over 40% of the vote at a General Election, as Corbyn did in 2017, is electable. But have I been too harsh on his detractors? My main issue there is that I agree with the longstanding opinion that divided parties don’t win elections. We all know what happened next. So in fact, no; I may not have been harsh enough.
But here we are, a bright new Labour leader, a party under new management, a poll rating proving that Labour would be 20 points ahead of the Tories under any leader other than Corbyn…oh wait, one of them hasn’t happened. Yet. And a lot of people now angry at Corbynistas for not lining up behind the new leader. I mean, what sort of hypocrite do you have to be to complain about Labour not backing Jeremy Corbyn if you’re not now going to go and back Keir Starmer?
And they have a very good point. It’s just that, as the last few years have shown us, this hypocrisy thing cuts both ways.