You have to believe Corbyn (a) wasn't first choice for the 'hard' left; (b) didn't really want to stand; (c) didn't expect to win. Also, he probably doesn't imagine he can become PM.
Or didn't. Because some evidently hard-headed elements in his fast-forming coterie have decided there's at least enough of an outside chance, that it would be utterly crass to lengthen the odds unnecessarily. I don't know any other way to interpret what they are doing:
- back-pedalling on the silly stuff - IRA, National Anthem etc: costs 'em nothing
- recognising the Big Lesson of 2015: not so many general election votes on offer to a deficit-denier
- rowing back on EU equivocation: this and the deficit fall into a category where someone has done a quick and sensible calculation, see below
- putting some distance between their new selves and their violence-friendly pasts
But that's not how the headlines look (- intentionally so!) and items 1 & 4 are self-evident craven line-toeing for Daily Mail consumption. How will this moderately ruthless, extremely hasty show of political populo-realism play with the slavering *idealistic* hordes so enamoured of unbending sea-green radicalism or whatever it is they think the New Politics is all about? Check out "Susan's" reply here:
@JeremyCorbyn4PM Hope @johnmcdonnellMP isn't going to do the contortions Miliband did and make us keep reading the small print. Risky game.Yes Susan, lots of ducking and diving, you and the rest of the faithful/hopeful will need to keep your wits about you. The Labour conference may give some more clues.
And look at this lot. A serious, serious power-play. The contrast with Michael Foot couldn't be more stark: being of an age, I well remember the ecstatic leftist MPs reeling away from the conclave (of the Parliamentary Labour Party only in those days) when he beat Denis Healey for the leadership. "We've done it, we've done it!" they giggled for the waiting cameras, much as naughty schoolchildren do when, out of childish devilment, they elect the class eejit as form captain.
Yes, someone of serious intent (Watson?) has taken charge in the happy-go-lucky Corbyn camp. For the Tories, there is good reason for pausing awhile before deciding exactly how they should be 'framing' Corbyn. At the very least, he seems determined not to have Michael Foot's donkey-jacket stuck on his back, if he can help it. He might soon be fairly armour-plated, and comfortably placed for any half-arsed attempts at a palace coup in the Labour ranks from those of his party who haven't rapidly come to terms with the New Reality. Guess which fast-recanting 'moderate Labour intellectual' Vicar-of-Bray this is*:
"There are few more obvious signs of political morbidity than the collapse, intellectual as well as organisational, of those moderate sections of the Labour party that did not back Jeremy Corbyn."Tory high command, we are told, sees in this an opportunity to destroy the Labour Party once and for all. Maybe: but it could be a fight to the finish with a tooled-up and grimly determined, if minority, political movement. Rather than a push-over perpetrated on a bunch of hapless, hopeless clowns.
(* Ans: Tristram Hunt)