Here are the 10 steps that could take Jeremy Corbyn to Downing Street

Some Tory MPs have dubious links with business or outside earnings that are embarrassingly large. An open goal for Labour

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The Independent Online

Unlikely as it may seem, elections are unpredictable, there’s always plenty to play for, and, well, you never know. Maybe no more than a thought experiment, but here are some things that could, at any rate, make the election result less painful for Labour than some predict.

  1. Ignoring the polls

This is easier to do than ever, given the poor record of the pollsters, so the usual politicians’ line that it’s only real votes that matter is a bit more plausible. After all, Corbyn was once, as he says, a 200 to 1 outsider for the Labour leadership. His ratings are so dismal that he may actually outperform expectations and see them go up as he gains media exposure. Corbyn, in other words, is probably a better campaigner than his knee-jerk critics think. Less of a pushover, in fact, than Ed Miliband was, whose ratings also improved, by the way, the more he appeared on TV. But, bacon sandwiches and photo ops in train loos should be avoided.  

  1. Going Trump, or at least Bernie Sanders

Insurgency suits the Momentum Labour Party and its leader, so why not make the most of it? There are encouraging signs, especially in his first campaign speech, that Jeremy Corbyn and his allies are following the Trump example and attacking the “elite”, “rich” and the “establishment” that supposedly runs the country, even though of course every Labour candidate is a member of that establishment, usually well-off by normal standards and aspire to belong to a governing elite. Still, a good pitch.

Anyone who takes on the establishment gets vilified, Corbyn says
  1. Being collegiate

Or as much as Labour can be. The party has to recognise that Corbyn probably isn’t the best electoral asset at its disposal. Obviously it cannot replace him (can it?) so it has to downplay him and promote instead the Labour “team”, or the more media-friendly elements of it, and that there will be a return to cabinet government.

  1. Attacking the media

How did Ken Livingstone get where he did in politics when he had the entire media against him? He always hit back and took his critics on directly. So when the newspapers do a hatchet job, Labour should attack them and their owners; there’s plenty of material to go on in the Leveson report and in their tax affairs.

  1. Stop criticising Corbyn

Labour MPs and arch Corbyn critics have a lot of words to eat, but they have to go around telling anyone who’ll listen that Jeremy Corbyn walks on water. It’s that or lose their seat or see friends and colleagues lose theirs, as well as having the Tories in untrammelled power for another half a decade, and all that means for the “people” they want to defend. Not to mention that the idea that Labour can “rebuild” in opposition may be simply a fond fantasy; it usually does itself more damage after a drubbing.

  1. Sleaze

The Conservatives have 24 MPs being investigated for potential criminal offences concerning election expenses from last time round. Many MPs have dubious links with business or outside earnings that are embarrassingly large. An open goal.

  1. Accepting the Greens’ offer to cooperate

It could mean a few extra seats for Labour, the Greens and the Lib Dems. Every seat counts, so the party should encourage local parties to be “imaginative” about their tactics.

  1. Being nice to the Lib Dems

That would help Labour dilute the idea that there is going to be some “extreme” socialist administration coming in. Theresa May says that Labour will be propped up by the Lib Dems, and the answer to that has to be – “what’s wrong with that?” Voters like parties who want to work together.

  1. Saying little about Brexit

Labour can’t out-Ukip Ukip or out-Brexit Theresa May, so it shouldn’t bother. The party must sound pragmatic and as positive as it can about the EU and Brexit. Not easy but the best of a bad job would be the tone on Brexit and it should let people have another vote in due course.

  1. Campaigning on more than public services

Labour (almost) always leads on the NHS, so what’s a win? The party could follow Tony Blair’s example and take the fight onto Tory territory – the economy – where every election is won and lost. It must make sure its numbers add up and have them certified by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

See you in Downing Street, Jeremy.

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