Saturday 12 September 2015

Norman Smith's first thoughts

I transcribed the BBC News Channel's first 'official' BBC reaction to the victory of Jeremy Corbyn today, namely Norman Smith's initial response (delivered as the applause was still going on). 

As I didn't want to have let quarter of an hour of my life go to a complete waste, here it is:
Absolutely. Jeremy Corbyn's totally obliterated his rivals.   
Mathematically, to win more than 50% when you've got four candidates in the first round is incredible, but he got nearly 60%. And what is politically important, he won in every section. 
Jeremy Corbyn has a massive mandate. He won nearly 49% in the first round of ordinary party members. He won 57% of union members. But here's the really striking figure. Of those £3 supporters, people who are not party members but who just paid £3 to vote, nearly 85% of them - 85% of them! - backed Jeremy Corbyn. They were a landslide for Jeremy Corbyn. 
And that's what we have learned about this contest. Jeremy Corbyn managed to reach out and galvanise people who were left-leaning but had lost faith in Labour. They were tired of Labour as a sort of austerity-lite, just a pale imitations of the Tories. They wanted something different and much more radical and Jeremy Corbyn hoovered up their votes. 
Now, one thing follows from this: Those who think they can get rid of Jeremy Corbyn any time soon are going to have to think again because Mr Corbyn did NOT just win this on the back of the £3 supporters, he won it across the board. He has a rock solid mandate. An unbelievable mandate! So those, and I've spoken to people who say he will be gone by next summer, they now have to tread very, very carefully indeed.  
Also Jane, another very significant thing: in his speech, Jeremy Corbyn saying "I want this to be an inclusive party. I want us to reach out", praising Andy Burnham for his passion for the NHS, Yvette Cooper for her stance on refugees and Liz Kendall, the most Blairite of the candidates, saying "I admire her courage for standing up for her beliefs". Now that suggests Jeremy Corbyn knows he cannot govern as a hard-left Labour leader. He has to reach out. And the signal from what he said today is he is going to try to bring the different wings of the party in together. 
But an astonishing result. He has a mandate. Those who thought he would be gone any time soon, think again!

1 comment:

  1. I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow before the first "Corbyn's mandate means he doesn't have to be inclusive of those who are against his policies" shot is fired. Which he won't be, or need to be, if he follows through on his promise to let the newly formulated party membership to select candidates for seats and get to vote on plebiscites for everything. Watson hinted at something like this today.

    No need to keep them in the fold and have dialogue if they're marginalized by this strategy.


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