Theresa May did Labour a favour by putting Corbyn’s far-left dream out of its misery

Labour’s flirtation with hard-left lunacy will be over in two months after a crushing defeat and its representatives can set about convincing people they are fit to govern the country once more

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The Independent Online

There is no doubt that June’s general election will hand the Conservative party a majority that would make Margaret Thatcher blush. For Labour, it will be a grim night, one which takes the party back to the levels of support it last saw at the end of World War I. But at least their torture is coming to an end.

Jeremy Corbyn was never going to become Prime Minister. In electing him not once, but twice, Labour members signed their own death warrants and, as a result of their folly, have inflicted untold suffering and heartbreak not only on themselves, but on the millions of Brits who need a left-of-centre government.

His leadership has been a catalogue of chicanery and incompetence. Just seven years ago, Labour was in power. Now it is reduced to debates over what constitutes anti-Semitism, handing peerages and shadow cabinet posts to anyone willing to stick to the leader’s line, lying about the number of seats there are on trains, categorising MPs by their (dis)loyalty, never-ending shadow cabinet reshuffles, failing to ask any questions at PMQs and declining to attack the government for cabinet resignations.

Theresa May goes back on election promise

His hardest core of support will point to the PLP’s “coup” last summer, the hostility of the right-wing press and the difficult post-Brexit political terrain, but any attempt to frame the coming wipeout as anything but Corbyn’s fault is an exercise in futility.

Since the party membership re-affirmed their faith in him in September, criticism of Corbyn has been muted but Labour’s support has continued to slip month on month, with the leader somehow contriving to poll lower than his party.

He has been able to do nothing avert that slide. During the Easter recess, Corbyn announced a string of good, progressive policies which have polled well. His reward was for Labour’s polling to slip further to a 21-point deficit in two of the most recent polls. He is a millstone to progressive change.

A general election offers Labour the chance to rebuild before it is too late. Its flirtation with hard-left lunacy will be over in two months and its representatives can set about convincing people they are fit to govern the country once more.

It is to Labour’s benefit that the existing constituency boundaries will remain in place but that will not avert vast losses. Whether, 200, 150 or even fewer MPs are returned in the general election, the moderates in that body will not be profligate in the nomination procedure and put forward another token left-winger as they did in 2015.

Corbyn could attempt to cling on until September’s party conference in the hope that the nominations threshold will be lowered and a successor from the left can be secured. But the pressure on him will be so great and a big enough chunk of his support will have fallen away.

Quite simply, in opting to go to the country now rather than waiting, Theresa May has done Labour a favour that may ensure their survival as a party rather than an irrelevant left-wing debating society.