As the ballot papers go out...
I've been really, deeply uneasy with the Corbyn campaign.
Not the man, who is decent. Not the platform, which if you look at it is actually a fairly moderate Nordic/European centre-left social democratic menu. (Only in this hysterical country would we allow that to be painted as communism.)
What concerns me are the thousands of identity-politic window shoppers who have flocked to his banner. Open interviews with his campaigners reveal people who freely admit they are joining the party only to vote for him, then will leave the party immediately if he loses. This highlights the increasingly shallow, consumerist nature of our rotten politics - looking for quick fixes and immediate wins or flouncing out again if you don't get your way. People blame politicians for being shallow, vain and corrupt. But actually we get the politicians we deserve in our culture of instant gratification.
However, having looked carefully from the sidelines the other three leadership candidates have been among the worst candidates for any elected office I can remember. I had high hopes for Burnham in particular, but he has been woefully bad - slippery, uncertain, waffly, platitudinous. Cooper has been mundane, faux-diplomatic, ponderous, focus-grouped and - I'm sorry it shouldn't matter, but it does - still married to useless election loser Ed Balls. Kendall could have been interesting and radical from her wing of the party and laid down a credible liberal alternative - instead she has been hectoring, patronising, offensive and unctuous without setting out anything politically distinguishable from what the party has been offering for the past 20 years.
Above all, the intervention of the succession of decrepit has-beens over the weeks - Milburn, Blunkett, Beckett, Kinnock, Straw, Campbell - and culminating in the predictable intervention of the grand cash-lacquered Reverend Blair of Baghdad with his disgraceful comments writing off the entire union movement in this country as a "hard left fringe" and begging his dwindling band of disciples who remain in Labour to vote for "anyone but Corbyn."
The scaremongering is almost entirely replicant of the insanity which gripped the 2015 general election when too many little England simpletons swallowed the lie that only brave Prince Cameron could slay the evil Scottish as Labour would be "in league" with the dark lord Salmond. To put it another way, it is the establishment closing ranks to try to shut down anyone who might challenge the status quo of neoliberalism through fear.
So I am left in a bind.
My hope if Corbyn wins is that as soon as he gets in and starts making concessions to the various sections of patchwork quilt that is the Labour Party (as he will have to), the fly-by-nights tear up their freshly printed cards in disgust at his treachery and go back to the Greens/Lib Dems/Natural Law/paper-selling historical re-enactment cults. I hope Corbyn proves to be a likeable, avuncular and honest leader who builds a serious movement of community and workplace activists intent on changing politics from the braying, public-school debating club that is the palace of Westminster and that he rises above the inevitable barrage of lies from the rabid media barons.
Because the reality is Labour wont win the UK general election in 2020 regardless of the leader. So better to be a real political party for a bit and actually decide whether we stand for something materially different to the Tories or just replicate them in a nicer way.
I'm voting Corbyn.