Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #10

Letters from an encouraged Corbynite #10:
There has been a series of learned articles this week from the heated keyboards of the chatterati that got the General Election so wrong, so flamboyantly. This time, the gilded children of our independent schools have decided that Jeremy Corbyn, allegedly such a dullard at the dispatch box just a few months ago, is now a veritable Apollo of the Commons. I don’t buy it at all.
Corbyn has been a remarkably reliable figure over the decades, very consistent and principled if not the greatest orator, but since when did golden tongues reliable politicians make? So why the perceived difference. Well, it has to be circumstances, doesn’t it?
It is considered akin to farting in church to mention it now, but the welcome the Parliamentary Labour Party gave Jeremy Corbyn two years ago was short on fluttering cherry blossom and braying klaxons. His sandals didn’t exactly dance on palm fronds. Many tried to unseat him from the start. They sat behind him, stony-faced, arms folded across indignant chests. They knew- not thought, knew- that he could not perform and repelled the public.
Only he didn’t.
With the help of a small group of supportive MPs and, more importantly, the backing of the mass membership, Corbyn endured votes of no confidence, mischievous media briefings, appallingly skewed and abusive articles and another leadership challenge- and he won through with a little help from his friends. Even so, becoming electorally credible, we were told, was the impossible dream.
Of course, we Matt Monro fans shrugged and carried on regardless. We had argued for two years that a principled leader, a more engaged mass membership, an impatience with austerity, a resentment at failed elites and an arrogant Tory Party that thought more of the same after seven grinding years might just be favourable conditions for a Labour recovery at the polls. Now, nobody likes a smug know-all who says we told you so but, cough, we did, and it wasn’t really that surprising when you zip back through the narrative of events. It was entirely predictable, but refusal to engage with the new political reality, to draw up a defensive strategy that would have abandoned seats like Wirral West may arguably have cost us office. We went from a 30.4% vote share to 40%. Had the entire Labour Party been on a war footing, looking to capture Tory marginals instead of stacking up majorities in seats we were never going to lose, we might even have registered a stunning victory.
So back to Jeremy Corbyn. The conditions make the fortunes of men and women and the conditions have made Labour electable. The fact of Labour’s electability have made Corbyn more authoritative and part of his audience more attentive.
The man hasn’t changed, though I will say a man not used to oratory was positively Paul Foot-like at Glastonbury. The political landscape has. So here endeth the lesson. With a little more unity, a little less self-indulgence and grandstanding before the right wing media, a little more support for the leadership and a lot more energy and campaigning, who knows what is possible.

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