The past weekend saw Jeremy Corbyn win the Labour leadership election with 59% of the votes cast trouncing his rivals, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. Although Corbyn has the backing of the majority of his own party, winning over the British population will be a substantially tougher task for the new leader of the Labour party.
By large amounts of the population, Corbyn is seen as a maverick; he is unlike the stereotypical politician and appears as a breath of fresh air. It is expected that under Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour party will be drawn away from the centre right established under New Labour, and lean to the left of the political sphere. However, the modern corporate world will certainly frown upon the new Labour leader.
As soon as Corbyn was announced as leader, Sky News instantly began reporting how unlikely it was that Corbyn would even be around in 2020 never mind Prime Minister. They reflected on his age and how he was just a stop gap for Labour prior to the next election. But surely it’s absurd to think that Corbyn would not want to become Prime Minister in 2020, if it was truly the case that he doesn’t want to become Prime Minister then why would he want to be Labour leader? Another baffling conundrum was the media view that Corbyn’s age gives hindrance to his actions as leader of the Labour party. That’s like saying if Liz Kendall was elected leader then her being a woman would burden the Labour party; it is a profoundly ridiculous notion.
Inevitably, starting from now, Corbyn will have to battle the might of the Rupert Murdoch press empire. Predictably, on the days after Corbyn’s landslide victory, The Sun headlined an extremely anti Corbyn stance; the newspaper discussed Corbyn’s various expected left wing policies calling them “potty plans” whilst describing Labour as a party in “meltdown”. Additionally, the majority of the other newspapers were anti Corbyn. Many discussed how divisions in the Labour party were widening as Corbyn became leader. The newspapers were all united in scaremongering tactics. The Daily Express stated how Corbyn was a danger to Britain due to his economic and foreign policies, The Sun headlined articulating how Corbyn wants to “abolish the army” agreeing with David Cameron’s line of how “the Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security” now Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader. Whilst both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph discuss how the Unions will have “free reign to cause chaos” after Corbyns victory.
Whilst a free media is of course entitled to criticise our MPs, much of the criticism laid at Corbyn is completely uncalled for and unnecessary. Corbyn has come under more scrutiny from the press within the past month than David Cameron has over his whole life time as an MP. Corbyn comes across as the complete opposite to the ‘normal’ MPs such as David Cameron, Ed Milliband, etc. Indeed this is one of Corbyn’s main attractions. The British public has become disillusioned with politics due to political party newspeak and maybe Jeremy Corbyn will offer a solution to this.
However, starting from now the media will call Corbyn un-electable, he will be relentlessly slated until the public won’t vote for him. The Labour party will be labeled as untrustworthy, there will be endless quotes from past and present senior political figures such as Tony Blair who will state how Corbyn will lead this country downhill. Speaking of Blair, the former Prime Minister has been one of the harshest opponents to Corbyn, going as far as warning party members that electing the veteran backbencher as leader would mean the party’s “annihilation.” In July, Blair even said that anyone whose heart is with Corbyn should “get a transplant.” (Although having Tony Blair as an enemy rather than a supporter may well be a benefit to Corbyn).
The newspapers have already predicted the worst and they will continue to do so. For the reader it is important to read a wide variety of news sources and then come to there own conclusion. If elected leader Corbyn looks set to scrap conservative mainstays such as austerity measures. The current establishment that is the media and conservative party are extremely happy with the way austerity is working despite the disadvantages it has for the vast majority of the British public. Both the media and conservative party will do everything in their power to paint the picture of Jeremy Corbyn as unelectable. But in truth nobody can plausibly say whether Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable as Prime Minister or not but it certainly seems to be the case that scaremongering tactics by the media will ensure that the self proclaimed socialist is not elected at the next general election.