Jeremy Corbyn's appeal to non-voters should make the Tories worried

A Labour victory under Corbyn won't be easy, but only 24 per cent of eligible voters chose the Tories at the last election – why wouldn't you target everyone else?

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The Independent Online

In his Labour conference speech on Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn presented a party that wants to appeal to a broad range of voters, and not just those who have swung from Labour to the Tories. During the leadership contest, his rivals were intent on claiming the so-called centre ground in order to target Tory voters. There's a perception that Labour had lost the general election because they swung too far to the left. But what about those who didn't vote?

Many are writing off Corbyn's chances because of his left-wing policies, but this was an argument that was also trotted out ahead of the leadership campaign, and we all know what happened there. In reality, it makes much more sense for Corbyn to get off the fence and target those who didn't cast their ballots in May. What people seem to forget is that The Tories only gained a small majority in the last election. In fact, it was a rather limp victory. Only 24 per cent of those eligible to vote did so for the Conservatives.

In his speech, Corbyn set out a much broader vision than what the Tories are offering. He rightfully attacked the Government on their broken promises, and declared that Labour would set themselves apart by challenging austerity.Under Ed Milliband, Labour failed to challenge the Tories' pro-austerity mantra, and instead offeried a watered-down equivalent. It was this lack of any real alternative that was rejected by the voters and – most importantly – the non-voters.

Of course, 2020 is a very long time away, and a Labour victory under Corbyn will not be easy. The party will need to win around 140 new seats and take about 40 per cent of the vote.

But we should at least be clear: to win in five year's time Corbyn needs to target the people who didn't vote Tory in May. There are enough of them out there. He doesn't need to desperately cling to Tory swing voters. For now though, people do have a genuine opposition party to the Conservatives at Westminster, and that can't be a bad thing.

Amit Singh is the co-editor of Consented. To follow: @Consenteduk