“I’m voting for Jeremy because I don’t think any of the candidates are capable of winning in 2020 so I think we need to remember why we’re Labour.”
“I don’t see why people think he’s unelectable. He speaks to my issues.”
“The other three candidates don’t seem to have any policy ideas. They’re just politicians. Jeremy believes what he says.”
These are just some of the reasons local Labour supporters, including members of Ipswich Borough Council, have given me for supporting Jeremy Corbyn in recent weeks. Those who blithely bury their heads in the sand and insist that even the Labour Party isn’t that bonkers need to spend less time in their ivory towers (or Grafton House as it is called) and more time talking with their own supporters.
I am yet to find a single person prepared to tell me they would vote for the only Labour leadership candidate who realises the party lost the last General Election because it wasn’t credible on the economy – Liz Kendall.
I am yet to find anyone who will openly support either Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham – though both have significant backers, especially among the local party membership. I can remember, for instance, David Ellesmere telling me that Yvette Cooper was a future Labour Prime Minister, though that was several years ago, and he did loyally insist that Ed Miliband would be PM first.
But Jeremy Corbyn is the popular choice among Labour’s affiliated members, registered Labour supporters and others who have a vote. Or at least that is what recent discussions have told me.
What the media is completely forgetting, however, is that it doesn’t matter who comes first. The Labour Party prefers to elect the person who comes second. David Miliband won the backing of more MPs and more party members, but affiliated members backed his brother by a much larger margin and so we had five years of Ed Miliband. The crucial thing for this election will not be how many people vote for Jeremy Corbyn. It will be how many of Liz Kendall’s second preference votes go to Andy Burnham and how many go to Yvette Cooper. It will be how many of Andy’s second preference votes go to Yvette and how many of Yvette’s go to Andy.
Liz Kendall looks set to come last, and will therefore be eliminated first. Her second preference votes will be split between the other three candidates. Whoever is then last – and I suspect it will be close – will then be eliminated, and their second preference votes redistributed between the remaining two candidates – and whoever has the most votes overall will then become leader.
If the polls turn out to be as accurate at polling Labour activists and registered supporters as they were at polling Labour voters up to 7th May, then Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper could already be ahead. Indeed Liz Kendall could have a silent majority of support out there. But from conversations with Labourites here in Ipswich, I don’t think so.
We could be just five years away from Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn MP.
To quote a senior Labour figure from the Speccie the other week – we’re in real fuckaroo territory now.