If you believe the polls and bookmakers (which many won’t!) Jeremy Corbyn is well on his way to winning the Labour leadership race. This has caused widespread anxiety amongst many Labour MPs and there are already talks of immediate coups and challenges to Corbyn should he win. There seems to be a common wisdom that if Corbyn is elected Labour leader he will not last five years and will not be the Labour leader come the 2020 election. However this does not necessarily stack up with the evidence.
Corbyn is on track not just to scrape home, but to win an overwhelming victory possibly in the first round of voting. This would give Corbyn an incredible mandate and would lead to questions about whether the party has the authority to get rid of him. In a future contest there would also be nothing to stop Corbyn putting his name forward again and possibly winning again, rendering any challenge to his leadership meaningless.
Historically Labour does not remove leaders, even unpopular leaders. We have seen that in recent years when Labour have gone into elections with Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown. It would be a big change in strategy if Labour suddenly decided that now was the time to start removing leaders in between elections.
Everyone also seems to be taking for granted that Corbyn will do badly electorally. What happens if Corbyn does better than people expect. If Corbyn does well in local elections and Scottish elections in Holyrood then there would be no reason to remove him. During the mid-terms there is also the potential for a bounce towards the opposition party which may cloud just how well Corbyn is actually doing and lull those on the Labour side into a false sense of security.
Firstly there was the idea that Corbyn could not win, that idea has quickly faded. Secondly there is the idea that if Corbyn does win, he cannot survive. This too for me is questionable. It is not too hard to see a set of circumstances where Corbyn does survive for five years. This could be disastrous for the Labour Party but may just be a scenario they need to get used to.
Labour’s leadership contest, considered bland and uninteresting for so long has been brought to life by the success of Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s popularity has grown amongst the grassroots of the Labour Party and recent polls have even put him ahead in the contest.
Many theories have been given for Corbyn’s success, but the strongest appears to be that none of the other candidates have put forward a compelling case. Liz Kendall had a strong start to the campaign, but has since fallen away and is no longer a serious contender, leaving the Blairite wing of the party isolated. Yvette Cooper has come across as competent, but unexciting and there are still doubts over where she stands on certain issues. Andy Burnham remains the frontrunner in the contest but has been weakened by his flip-flopping on the welfare bill and has failed to build on his position.
Looking at these candidates and their performances so far, many ordinary Labour Party members may feel sceptical about whether any of them could win an election. Although a significant proportion of the Labour Party had their doubts about Tony Blair and where he stood on the political spectrum, he was considered a winner and a Prime Minister in waiting and this helped to ease their fears. In this contest there is no candidate who fits this description and therefore the desire to back a candidate more politically aligned to the traditional values of the Labour Party may be tempting.
Jeremy Corbyn has stood out in this race because of clear positioning and ability to give straight answers to straight questions. The political values he espouses may not be considered electorally viable but are certainly clear cut. His romantic and nostalgic version of what the Labour Party should be is very appealing to many on the Left of the party. Corbyn is winning people’s hearts and when there is no candidate who can win people’s heads, this is a distinct advantage.
A strong candidate in the Labour leadership race would have blunted the appeal of Corbyn. A candidate who could unite the party and could win an election would have brought all sections of the party together. It is to the detriment of the Labour Party that no such candidate exists or has chosen to enter the race and that there is a very real prospect Corbyn could win.
Iran recently reached a deal with Western powers on the country’s nuclear programme. This caused wild celebrations on the streets of Tehran and among ordinary Iranian citizens and came after long negotiations. However the agreement has not been universally popular and has its fair share of critics as well.
The deal stated billions of dollars of sanctions would be lifted and in exchange for these sanctions being lifted, 98% of Iran’s stock-pile of weapons grade uranium would be destroyed, making the path to a nuclear weapon more difficult. These reforms would give Iran greater control over their economy and would allow the country to trade with the rest of the world.
The loudest critics of this deal have been the Republican Party in America who claimed this deal legitimized the Iranian government and that Iran could not be trusted and the Israeli government who are fearful of a stronger Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very strong saying this was a mistake of historic proportions and that Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.
Iran does have a questionable track record and therefore questions do have to be asked about trust. Despite being brought to the negotiating table, they have shown no desire to change their position on Israel and still refuse Israel’s right to exist. This should have been made a focal point of any negotiations. Until this changes they will always remain a threat to Israel and the more powerful they become which this deal will ensure the stronger the threat they will be.
Iran has always had a difficult relationship with the West. Therefore it is admirable that Iran has been brought to the negotiating table. However that does not justify a potentially bad deal or mean that any deal is better than no deal. Parts of this deal remain unsavoury and therefore Israel has every right to be angry with the agreement.