Just over a year and a half ago some conservatives paid £3 for the privilege of being able to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. The chance to saddle Labour with the leadership of a far leftist with IRA sympathies and a propensity to indulge Islamist extremist groups was an opportunity too good to pass up.
Some had three great hopes of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader - support Britain’s exit from the European Union, deliver for the Tories the mother of parliamentary majorities and take votes from the SNP in Scotland.
Corbyn has held the exact same political and economic views all his adult life and as he was a lifelong Eurosceptic I was optimistic he would play a role in supporting the Leave campaign. As it was, for purposes of internal party management he publicly campaigned for Remain, albeit lukewarmly.
However, the significance of the manner of Jeremy Corbyn’s support for the European Union cannot be overstated. He refused to share platforms with other party leaders and only gave equivocal approval of the EU in public with the result being that many of his party’s supporters were not aware of the Labour leader’s formal position on the EU.
A pro-European Labour leader in the manner of Tony Blair or David Miliband would have entrenched their party’s support for the EU into the public consciousness and helped Remain over the finish line.
In the end, Corbyn’s ambivalence arguably tipped things for Leave. The Remain camp believe he set out to sabotage their campaign but this charge flatters Corbyn’s abilities as a political operator. However I would not be surprised if he voted Leave.
Brexit has reunited the Conservative Party. David Cameron held the EU referendum with the intention of settling once and for all the divisions over Europe that had torn the Tories apart for the past three decades. In the end he achieved this goal, but only at the cost of losing the EU referendum and ending his political career.
UKIP’s 4 million voters are turning in their droves to the Tories, seeing a party that can deliver on Brexit and control immigration. The end result could be a Conservative Party with a long term support base of over 40%.
Combined with Jeremy Corbyn’s hapless brand of reheated 1970’s socialist ineptitude, open borders enthusiasm and partiality of anti-Western regimes and the scene is now set for a truly Blair-esque Conservative majority.
At times it must appear that Jeremy Corbyn was dreamt up by political schemers at CCHQ. Presently the public trust Theresa May more than Corbyn on the economy, the NHS and the ability to deliver a fairer society. Further, May has higher approval ratings than Corbyn amongst every age group, social class and region of the country.
The Tories haven’t even begun stripping the bark from Corbyn over his support for the IRA during its years spent murdering British soldiers. By the time they are finished I would not be surprised if a majority of the British public believe Corbyn was a provisional IRA commander throughout the Troubles.
I also hoped that Jeremy Corbyn would attract disillusioned former Scottish Labour voters who had switched support to the SNP. After all, many claimed to have left because of New Labour’s rightward shift.
However my faith was misplaced as this would have involved the ability of Corbyn and his team to actually demonstrate competence in the achievement of a political goal.
Still, two out of three isn’t bad. Corbyn has helped make Brexit a reality and is in the final stages of gifting the Tories an epoch defining majority. Job done, as Douglas Carswell might say.
Jeremy Corbyn represents everything the British public do not want. And his leftist supporters are about to be taught a brutal lesson in electoral politics.
However, perhaps the Labour Party will use the coming years of near-oblivion to relearn the hatred of losing. The 1983 Tory landslide also produced men of the calibre of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, politicians who despised the impotence of opposition and who were willing to be ruthless with their own party in their quest to challenge the dominance of the Conservatives.
Few things can chasten a party’s resolve as much as the prospect of political annihilation and the Labour Party are about to have a near-death experience.
Brexit is realigning the centre ground of British politics. Exiting the European Union, controlling Britain’s borders and reprioritising the interests of the Somewhere majority are now the orthodoxies that parties will have to adhere to if they wish to enter government.
There were profound cultural reasons behind Brexit. The working classes of Britain awoke on polling day to deliver a backlash against 30 years of liberal overreach.
There is an opportunity here for the Labour Party to reinvent itself, to once again become the genuine voice of Britain’s working class, but this can only happen if Labour reconciles itself to the cultural priorities of the post-Brexit political order.
As long as it remains the party of multiculturalism, mass immigration and indulges in vacuous identity politics the Labour Party will continue to drift further away from the working class it was founded to represent. A Labour Party that is not built on strong working class support is bereft of its reason for being.
However the difficulties of such a transformation are numerous. After decades of enjoying cultural hegemony the liberal left is not ready to admit any setback. Having spent years denouncing concerns over immigration as racism, patriotism as fascism and attachment to traditional family structures as bigotry the leap to accepting that these are normal, human and healthy will probably be a leap too far for many.
Reasoned argument has not been able to convince Britain’s left of the need to take such cultural concerns seriously and it seems only continued catastrophic electoral defeats holds any hope of being able to change their minds. They shall have time to ponder after all, as Jeremy Corbyn is set to ensure they won’t be breathing air under anything other than a Conservative government for the next decade at least.