Sunday, 11 June 2017

Beware over-confidence, Mr Corbyn

Rasputin (Nick Timothy) is dead, killed off by the aristocracy of the National Conservatives. Tsaritsa Theresa is, in the words of another Tory aristocrat, a dead woman walking. 

But the Bolsheviks should not get too cocky. True, they should seize their advantage and seek to ensure that Mrs May goes sooner rather than later. But the best – and really the only - way to do this is to bring on side as many MPs as possible and that could include Mensheviks, Social  Revolutionaries and even dissident Kadets. It only needs two or three Tories to break ranks over a deal with the reactionary Democratic Unionist Party and Mrs May is finished anyway.  Think Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston.

Mr Corbyn understands this. But there are almost certainly others who do not, imagining that one can seize power anyway, majority in Parliament or no majority. They understand correctly that there has to be a shove, a will to win, but probably underestimate how hard it is to come out on top in the British political system. Very few have ever managed it.

British voters are fickle (they have shown that repeatedly; who would want to be a politician?) though it is true that a completely dysfunctional electoral system amplifies that in a Tory-favouring way. One constant is a dislike of cockiness, over-confidence, hubris – call it what you will. And they have a perennial soft spot for underdogs and they don’t like to see a man (or woman) kicked when they are down. So Mr Corbyn has to navigate carefully. 

Not least, he needs to strengthen his team, and if that means putting Yvette Cooper in as Shadow Home Secretary then he should do it and sort things out later with the hapless Diane Abbott. And if it means putting out feelers in all directions, he should.


Nicola Sturgeon is currently paying the price for over-playing her own hand. By trying to turn the pro-EU vote in Scotland into a pro-Independence vote she has ended up reducing what was a genuine and enthusiastic popular base of support.

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