There are lots of things to dislike in the Labour manifesto. No doubt voters will have plenty of opportunity to pore over them, courtesy of Sir Lynton Crosby, in the coming weeks.
But Corbyn’s views are only part of the reason for his unpopularity. Even if you leave them aside – the call to abolish the army, the chumming up with the IRA, the blind repetition of “tenets he’s always held ahead of evidence” (in the words of one Labour MP) – there’s still the issue of his crashing incompetence.
His bogus attempt to claim he was forced to sit on the floor of a train when he wasn’t, the delays and dithering in the EU referendum campaign, his inexplicable decision to pose for a photograph in a toilet, his neverending reshuffles, his mismanagement of the Parliamentary Labour Party to the point of mass rebellion, appointing Diane Abbott to a serious job, his back-to-back declarations of admiration for “our SNPs” (instead of MSPs) – you could write all day and still not complete the list of ways in which he has shown himself not to be capable.
The fact that his entire general election manifesto has now been leaked is, of course, the latest instalment in this epic clown car roadtrip. That in itself adds to the narrative of incompetence, but the content of the manifesto also underscores why it matters.
Not only is Corbyn bidding to be the person in charge of the Brexit negotiations, but he is proposing the nationalisation of large swathes of the economy. Putting the government in charge of industry is a bad idea even in the best circumstances, but it’s a particularly bad idea to put an incapable government in charge of industry.
Voters can smell the air of incompetence on Corbyn – by asking them to put someone who can’t even manage an ordered manifesto launch in direct charge of their energy supply, and other major parts of the economy, he’s simply underscored that distrust.