A Corbyn victory will herald a dramatic change of Tory tactics
13 Aug 2015 at 10:37
Unless Jeremy Corbyn has been found tweeting in his Paisley pyjamas or caught shagging a royal corgi he will be kissing the hand of the Queen on the 12th September as a privy counsellor and Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. And it won’t be an embarrassment for staunch republican Citizen Jezza. Ever since George V charmed Labour MPs with dinners and drinks at the Palace the Royals have have mastered the art of self preservation. I suspect that she will rather like him.
All this panicked talk of a Parliamentary coup against him from day one is nothing but piss and wind. Yes, it only needs 47 MPs to fire the gun, but the ammunition won’t be live. The PLP voted for democracy; tough if they don’t like the result. And if a few do spit in the eyes of their grass roots then there is nothing like a bit of deselection talk to concentrate the mind. And who would they try and parachute in as leader anyway? Yvette? Armani Andy? And why would the result be any different? It’s all headless chicken prattle.
What Corbyn has to do is hold his party together which has never been easy. His most important appointment will be Chief Whip. If Tom Watson doesn’t get the Deputy Leadership he would be perfect for the job. He is the fixer’s fixer. A charmer, but as tough as old boots. As all party leaders do Corbyn will try and manipulate the candidates list, pack the NEC and do his best to get some trusties on the PLP. The latter will be the most challenging. MPs don’t like being told who to vote for as Cameron found out in the botched attempt to rig the election of the chairman of the 22.
The Corbyn election is going to prove problematic for Mark Harper and his private secretary known as ‘usual channels’. Despite all the bluster and fireworks in the chamber getting government business through is about deals and compromise. Is Corbyn’s mob prepared to do this? Or will he be a purist and demand a vote on just about everything? Will the pairing system work or is it going to be a hard slog to stop government grinding to a halt? With a majority of 12 this is going to be a potential nightmare. MPs may have to face the horrors of all night sittings, which makes them even more bad tempered and fractious. And rebellious.
And the whole approach to PMQs is going to have to change. Corbyn is not a knockabout, boo ya sucks merchant. He is measured, he is calm. Cameron is going to completely re think tactics. No sneering, no knock out blows, no crowing. He doesn’t need to anyway. He is in power and he wants his legacy firmly in place before he bows out just before the 2020 election. That dopey Telegraph splash that he might change his mind is very wide of the mark silly season nonsense.
And what about bored and rowdy backbenchers? Someone is going to have to try a bit of cat herding to stop the ghastly braying and wall of noise that will greet Corbyn every time he gets to his feet. The public will hate it. Someone is going to have to boycott arrogance. Hah!
The Tory problem is that nobody under forty has a clue what it was like when the dead hand of the state controlled our essential services. They don’t remember how the unions controlled every aspect of our lives. If the print unions didn’t like a story it would not so much be spiked as a blank paragraph appearing in our papers. They don’t remember bodies being piled high because mortuary attendants were on strike and they have no experience of when double digit inflation was the norm. As it is the young who have been energised to vote Jezza it is the young who will have to be made aware of some very uncomfortable home truths. Not any easy task.
But what maybe Corbyn’s greatest problem is being seen to compromise, to water some of his policies down. The purists would throw their toys out of the pram. It is really scary to think that many Labour activist genuinely believe that the Tories hate the poor and want to grind their faces into the dirt. We have to show that we really do care, that we really are compassionate, that we really do want to change the face of Britain for the better for everybody, not just an elite few.
We are all on a very steep learning curve unless Armani Andy shocks us all and scrapes home. Then it’s back to boo yaa sucks politics which will suit many just fine.