I find it hard to envisage Labour winning the next General Election regardless of which of the four leadership contenders the Party chooses. Perhaps many of the Party members agree and that is why they feel they may as well choose Jeremy Corbyn as someone who sings the old songs they are comfortable with.
London Labour Party members – and those who have registered as supporters – will also be sent another ballot paper to choose their candidate for Mayor of London. This is a contest which Labour should have a much better chance of winning. At the General Election in May there was a clear victory for Labour in the capital – 45 out of 73 seats. They won 44 per cent of the vote against 35 per cent for the Conservatives. Last time round Boris Johnson only won narrowly – but just three points – despite his huge personal popularity.
It is suggested by the polling that Dame Tessa Jowell would have the best chance of victory among the Labour contenders. Her support for a third runway at Heathrow would not be favoured by those of us in west London trying to get a good night’s sleep and breathe clean air. But generally she seems a less scary prospect that some of her rivals. This YouGov poll for the Evening Standard in June suggested she would beat Zac Goldsmith but that Goldsmith versus Sadiq Khan would produce a tie.
But what of Diane Abbott, the Labour MP and hard left contender for the Labour Mayoral nomination? She has the worst poll ratings but might she get the nomination on Jeremy’s coattails?
The New Statesman have considered this although they feel Khan might also be helped by it:
“Party sources expect around 105,000 to be eligible to vote in the contest, of which 40,000 are existing members, 20,000 are new members, 25,000 are affiliated members (belonging to trade unions or socialist societies) and 20,000 are supporters. With private polling showing Corbyn on course to win around 70 per cent of first preferences in London (compared to 53 per cent nationally in the most recent YouGov poll), some in the party are now doubtful that Jowell, an unashamed Blairite, will triumph. The left-leaning Sadiq Khan, who is backed by Unite and the GMB (and who nominated Corbyn), and Diane Abbott, who Corbyn endorsed, are likely to benefit. Khan’s opposition to the Iraq war and his recent vote against the welfare reform bill are said to be aiding his campaign.”
However they add that Dame Tessa came out top in a poll of Unison members. Indeed – but that seemed to be of all Unison members not just Labour members or even Labour voters. Dame Tessa’s team also say their phone banking efforts are going jolly well – but they would say that, wouldn’t they?
It would seem a bit odd for Labour activist to fill in one ballot paper for Corbyn and then a few seconds later fill in another one for Jowell. Even if they had written off the 2020 General Election but felt they were in with a shout of capturing City Hall it is hard to make sense of it. Then again, trying to apply the sense of Labour Party members in order to formulate a prediction strikes me as imprudent.