Is Jeremy Corbyn good or bad for the Labour Party?

Well, it depends on your perspective and there is evidence to support both views. The most recent evidence is from two polls: a YouGov poll for the “Times” and a ComRes poll for the “Daily Mail”.

On the one hand, the first poll finds that 66% of those who were eligible to vote in this summer’s leadership election believe Corbyn is doing “well” as leader.

On the other hand, the second poll reveals that Labour is trailing the Tories by 11 points, by 29% to 40%.

So whether you think Corbyn is good for Labour depends on what you think is most important: appealing to Labour supporters or to the overall electorate.

Two things to bear in mind:

1) Labour supporters are a relatively small number – a few hundreds of thousands – compared to the population as a whole and are a self-defining group who became supporters because they believe in Labour’s values and Corbyn’s expression of them.

2) The electorate is a much much larger constituency of tens of million of people who are simply defined by their eligibility to vote, that is they are citizens over 18. Of course, whether they are registered to vote and whether they will actually vote are other matters.

Now, as we know, polls only tell us so much and can be wrong – but soon we will have accumulating hard evidence of Corbyn’s appeal or lack of it where it matters – that is, voters who will determine whether Labour wins the next General Election.

The first bit of electoral evidence will be the result of the by-election on 3 December in Oldham West and Royton. Then, in six months, we will have elections to the Scotland Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, lots of councils in England, and the mayoralty in London which will enable millions of voters to tell us what they think of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.


  • Jeremy w

    The other point is most of us see Jeremy Corbyn through the filter of the Media which is controlled by just a handful of very powerful men with vested interests.

    Much of the time what he says is manipulated to make him look naive, dangerous or an enemy of the Country:

    This concentration of power in the hands of people like Murdoch and the Barclay Brothers is profoundly undemocratic
    We need and deserve more integrity and balance in our media.

    So in terms of ‘how’s he doing’ i’d say not very well.

  • Roger Darlington

    What you say about the media is true, Jeremy, but I would make two points:
    1) Not all the media is controlled by powerful men. The “Guardian’ and the BBC are much more independent and anyone reading that paper or watching that channel would struggle to believe that Corbyn is doing a good job which is simply misrepresented by the rest of the media.
    2) Most of the media is usually against a Labour leader: Wilson, Foot, Kinnock were all given a terrible time by the media. Even Blair was dubbed ‘Bambi’ (that was before Iraq). Yet Corbyn is the most unpopular Labour leader in many years.

  • Rolf Johanning

    Dear Roger,
    a lot of members of the social democrats of Germany (SPD)are full interest how Corbyn will manage his heavy Job.
    Best regards from Tina and Rolf
    Thank you for all the messages yuo will send every time.
    We stil Swinging between the City of Kiel and Berlin. Tina works every time for her art and I´m her knight of art!

  • Roger Darlington

    Good to hear from you, Rolf.

    Of course, Germany now has two Left/Centre-Left parties and perhaps Britain should too. But you have a system of proportional representation and we have the first past the post. So the only way the Centre-Left can win power in the UK is by being united and at the moment we are far from that.

  • Max Bancroft

    Those of us of a certain age who still read newspapers over-rate their influence.

    People like me of a liberal/left leaning bent tend to buy the Independent, Guardian, sometimes the Financial Times and use the BBC website and rarely buy the Express, Mail, Telegraph etc.

    When I do read any of the latter I can see their bias and distortion and they annoy me but that’s all. They’re not going to persuade me to vote Conservative.

    What makes me doubt Jeremy Corbyn are events like the ‘shoot to kill’ interview. He’s still sounding and thinking like a rebel who has the luxury to take up what he thinks is a principled position and not like someone who in a few years time will have hard choices to make which will affect all of us.

  • Roger Darlington

    I agree, Max.

    I fear that white, working class voters especially – such as those who will vote in this week’s Oldham by-election – will see Corbyn’s reaction to the Paris atrocities and the threat of ISIL as weak and overly nuanced. The first thing citizens look for from their government and political leadership is a feeling of safety and security and at the momentt the Labour leadership is not delivering this.


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