I can remember the heady days of Michael Foot‘s Labour Party. A party that embraced socialism, unilateral nuclear disarmament, increased taxation (always a vote winner!), plans for union representation on the boards of businesses, donkey jackets and a thirst to nationalise everything from the royal family to the local massage parlour.
Anyone with an ounce, or should that be 28.3 grammes, of common sense would have pointed out that this approach might not be attractive to those who don’t have the word Marx tattooed on their left bicep.
So it came to pass that Labour didn’t defeat the Right-wing behemoth that was Thatcher and Michael of the Foot cast himself into political oblivion so that the Kinnock might bring salvation to Labour. (He didn’t, but that’s a tale for another time).
Fast forward to 2015 and the ghost of Michael Foot seems to be haunting the Labour Party in the form of Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr C is, like Foot was, a leadership candidate that threatens to split the Labour Party like a rotten melon.
The Torylite contingent see him as lefty vote loser who cannot win over the aspirational electorate.
The Stalinist component of Labour see him as a possible Messiah who will bring the peoples of Britain to the promised socialist paradise of Airstrip 1.
What the rest of the British population think of Mr C is not clear.
Will a Labour Party led by Mr C be an improvement on the Miliband era? Quite possibly yes.
Mr C has held up pretty well at the husting events I’ve watched and listened to. He seems less enamoured of the usual method of handling questions – at times even giving straightforward answers, something his competitors seem unable to do. He also appears willing to stick to his principles. Something that the usual Champagne Socialists of the Parliamentary Labour Party would appear to drop at the first hint of possible personal advantage. I refer to things like sending your kiddies to private school whilst criticising private schools, attacking those who seek to legally minimise their tax bills whilst legally minimising their tax bills. You get the idea.
Hell, this guy purportedly divorced his wife over the issue of sending his child to a grammar school. He was against it. She was for it. The lad went to the grammar school. The marriage ended. Now that’s what I call sticking to your principles!
Now you could say that shows a level of commitment to political principles you won’t find in most MPs of any party. Or, an irrational adherence to political dogma that has no place in the 21st Century. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
I think, barring a political hatchet job, Mr C will become the next Labour Party leader AND I think he’ll do a good job of holding this government to account. Something that the currently leaderless Labour Party seems incapable of right now.
Would I vote for him in a General Election? No. Would I like to see him act as a counterbalance to the current government? Yes. Why? Because he brings a different viewpoint and perspective to the running of this country. He’ll offer a true alternative to Torylite-New-Labour/Miliband-Wishy-Washy-Labour/Call-Me-Dave-Conservativism and he just might bring a tang of pragmatism to Tory policies.