Sunday, 5 May 2019

Labour: the damage done

Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. (Photo/JTA-Getty Images-Thierry Monasse)This piece was written before the local elections, where there was certainly some kind of electoral verdict on Corbyn's leadership. Whether this will finally lead to action to remove him remains to be seen.

While it is usual for the political commentariat to be largely focused on the present – especially with Brexit dominating headlines in recent years – sometimes it is useful for us all to take a look at the past, and the future.

Fast-forward to 2022, the projected next general election: Jeremy Corbyn, safe in his position as leader, has been leader of the Labour Party for seven years.

With regard to tenure, that will put him as the seventh longest-serving leader in the party’s century-long history. MacDonald, Attlee, Gaitskell, Wilson, Kinnock, Blair and Corbyn. That is the peer group: all party leaders for more than one term.

While some might reasonably quibble about MacDonald, the first six are undoubtedly heavyweight, historical names. And party leaders with that kind of tenure are, clearly, the ones with the best chance of shaping their party in their image.

Let us turn now to the seventh, Jeremy Corbyn. He already has.

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