Preamble to Jeremy Corbyn’s Budget response

Today, Jeremy Corbyn faced what Matthew Norman called “the scariest ordeal in domestic politics, an instant, semi-off-the-cuff response to the Budget” – for all opposition leaders, a nightmare.

JC standingIn his favour: since Corbyn became Labour leader, throughout a period of barely broken turmoil, Norman describes his calm as supernatural: “No sporting analogy properly conveys the leap in class from irrelevant back-bencher to alternative PM; Rocky Balboa’s rise comes close. But Rocky at least had the passionate support of his Philadelphia home town crowd when he fought Apollo Creed”.

Norman refers to the ill wishing ‘supposedly home-town crowd on the Labour benches’, 95% of whom will “fidget on their arses, waiting for the debate to end so they can resume huddling in alcoves and scheming about ousting him”.

Driven by the toddler’s sense of entitlement denied, ‘cabals of New Labour recidivists inside and outside the Commons have been up to their familiar tricks’ three of which he details. Norman’s treatment of the last will amuse some readers – the touting of ‘a ready-made replacement in the square-jawed form of former paratrooper Dan Jarvis’:

dan jarvis“With soldierly courage, Jarvis has overcome his objections to leading Labour. Last summer, he refused to run because his children were too young. My, my, but how quickly they’ve grown. Jarvis, who is hoovering money from previous Labour donors, auditioned for Corbyn’s job on the weekend by repositioning himself a few inches to the left, criticising New Labour’s failure to recognise the pressure on workers’ pay exerted by globalisation. Whether that suggests Jarvis is a trade isolationist, or a fan of restoring lost trade union powers, or both, no one could know. Least of all, you suspect, Jarvis himself”.

Norman points out that almost a year after the election calamity, there is no sign of Corbyn’s detractors developing any coherent alternative philosophy to the neo-Thatcherite Conservatives or to Corbyn himself. 

He sees no tactical opportunity for the detractors: by keeping Corbyn off a leadership ballot “they would unleash a tidal wave of fury that would wash the party away”.

As Andrew Whittaker in the Scotsman says: “Corbyn’s most virulent critics will know that if Jarvis was to move against Corbyn when the party leader remains overwhelmingly popular among the rank and file membership and registered supporters, such a bid would be doomed to failure”.

Norman ends: “If the last election taught us anything, it is that the Labour movement is on the verge of extinction. And if the subsequent Corbyn landslide taught us anything, it is that its long-term survival depends on reigniting and harnessing passions rendered moribund by two decades of anodyne cynics whose paramount concern was assuaging the Daily Mail”.

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Posted on March 16, 2016, in Democracy, Economy, Event, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party, Media, Politics, Watershed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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