Post election, I worry about what might happen.
There are, broadly speaking, three likely outcomes:
- Hung Parliament
- Mediocre Tory victory
- Tory landslide
In the event of 1, Corbyn (and his allies (Momentum etc)) will claim a victory for Labour. Not least because the % of the vote they will need to achieve that outcome will be pretty hefty and refute the notion of ‘unelectable’ Corbyn. And indeed, his opponents would have to conceede the point. Anyone closing a 20 point polling gap to next to nothing, getting out the youth vote in large numbers and hitting high 30s+ in polling figures is not someone you can accuse of failure.
Equally, a Tory landslide would force Corbyn to stand down just from the sheer realisation of the futility in persisting. The problem is, what happens if/when the middle option happens, or, to put it another way, how big would the Tories have to win by for Corbyn to step aside.
At the moment Corbyn is pretty much the only one who can decide when Corbyn goes. He has proven popular with the membership – many of whom are new (pro-Corbyn) members – and could almost certainly retain the leadership unless the party are royally smashed.
So the worst case scenario for the Labour Party could well prove not to be a landslide defeat, but rather a medicore defeat. Something of a game theory situation occurs where we ask how bad a defeat will it take for Labour MPs to rebel, how big a defeat will it take for Corbyn to willingly stand down and how big a defeat will illicit a split in the party if those two events can’t reconcile?
I would suggest anything around a 35 seat Tory majority or less will be enough for Corbyn to continue. Anything more than that but less than 50-60 will see Labour MPs rebel and Corbyn want to stay (potentially causing the party to split), whilst significantly over a 50-60 seat Tory majority will force Corbyn to admit defeat. Exactly where Labour MPs and non-Corbyn supporters draw the line for splitting and where Corbyn and his allies draw the line for admitting defeat could well prove to be the determining factor for whether the Labour Party as is still exists in a week’s time.
That’s just my musings though and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens, both on June the 9th and the days after. Either way, I hope the Labour Party can avoid a split and, if not form a government, at least continue to form a united opposition.