I read an article the other day about how Labour could rid themselves of Corbyn. I forget the exact mechanics, but it was something to do with MPs being brave enough to sacrifice their parliamentary careers in order to…you know what, it doesn’t matter how they were doing it. It might have been to summon the shade of Lady Thatcher to drag Corbyn beyond the veil of death or to make a Tory MP fall down stairs, through a combination of overexertion laughing at Labour and the tremors from the all-night port sessions, and land on him – it’s not important. The point was that the first step was politicians risking their careers and the following steps didn’t mention anything about dealing with the hundreds of thousands, maybe more, who really, really like Corbyn.
If Corbyn’s politics are never tested in a general election then a great many people are going to remain convinced that they are popular, vote-winning policies (we don’t trust polls any more, remember). These people will either keep demanding Corbynesque leaders or will form the ‘Real Labour Party’ (or something equally wanky) to fracture the left, possibly until the Tories get so sick of being in power that they start putting actual rats up for election, just to see if they’ll still get in.
Neither can we just ride this out with Corbyn in charge until 2020, because if he loses (and all of the data suggest that he will do, comprehensively) then his supporters have the narrative that he lost because ‘traitors’ to the Labour party didn’t support him, and we get right back to left-wing politics being split and the new MP for Huffingshire South being a stuffed squirrel in a bikini.
Anyway, who are those who are left-of-centre, but right of Corbyn going to vote for? Labour’s shift to the left has torn the heart out of the Greens, a Lib Dem vote in 2020 is going to be nothing more than a proxy Conservative vote and nobody really wants to vote UKIP.
The choices then are a ‘Yes, I’m fine with all of this’ cross for the Tories, or a ‘This is worse than the time I moved back in with my parents and all of my teenage band posters were still on my bedrom wall’ vote for Corbynite Labour. To make it worse we have to be happy about the Labour vote. We have to end the paranoia about Red Tories. We have to support Corbyn. Applaud his brilliant political manoeuvres. Cheer on this week’s shadow cabinet. The alternative is the boot stamping on the human face, forever.
Mind you, when Orwell wrote that line he probably never imagined that we’d have to think about whether that really was the worst option.