Jeremy Hardy thinks… about the Labour leadership

'The highlight began when it looked as though Corbyn could win, and continued thereafter'

September 1, 2015 · 2 min read

At the time of writing, I don’t know who the new Labour leader will be. Polling is a disgraced profession and, even if Corbyn wins, there’s a strong chance that Simon Danczuk will finally lose it and storm the announcement with an assault rifle.

So let’s look back at the campaign highlights. Well, highlight. It wasn’t, for me, his decision to run, to which I responded, ‘Oh Christ, what’s he doing that for?’ Nor was it the moment when he hobbled onto the ballot paper, with the support of right-wingers hoping to be able forever to silence the left with the words, ‘Look we had a debate about policy and the poor lost.’

The highlight began when it looked as though he could win, and continued thereafter. There was, of course, an immediate fightback: ‘Corbyn has questions to answer.’ Well, obviously, he’s standing in an election – next. ‘He’s not an anti-semite but he’s met some.’ So have most of us. You can’t always tell. Barbers seldom say, ‘Square neck or natural, sir? God, I hate the Jews.’ I have definitely met people who harbour prejudices about the Palestinians. I have friends who blame them for the conflict. Friendship is complicated.

The more considered attack has been, ‘He’s going to print money.’ I know he looks like someone who’s still got a printing press that he hid during a bitter factional split in a Trotskyist sect in the 1970s. But money isn’t created like that anymore. Banks just click ‘Confirm Payment’.

There has been kindness, Andy Burnham praising JC’s energy, and asking, ‘Can I have your supporters if I win? I mean, you’re not going to be needing them are, you?’ But let’s assume Corbyn has won. How will he graciously and generously state that he wants to harness all the stupefied apathy generated by the other three?



Critical tradition: Tribune then and now

As the relaunched Tribune prepares its second issue, Hilary Wainwright assesses the history of the paper and the left Labour MPs who rallied around it – and the lessons it offers today’s Labour left

Labour and reselection: the panic last time

As anti-Corbyn Labour MPs kick up a fuss in the press about possible reselections, Hilary Wainwright looks back at the strikingly similar alarm in the parliamentary establishment in the 1970s and 1980s

The power of collective joy

In a world of isolation and a left which tends towards despondency, collective joy is our weapon against neoliberalism. Sam Swann reflects on The World Transformed 2018


What happened at Labour Conference?

Michael Calderbank brings you a bite-sized guide to what went on at conference, and what that means for the future of the party. 

In and against the state

Labour needs to develop a socialist strategy that goes beyond a single election manifesto. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin look at the challenge of state transformation

Let Labour members choose their MP candidates

If we want a radical socialist government, it starts with democratising the party from the bottom up. Dan Gerke argues in favour of mandatory reselection.