The popular consensus is that it’s not so much that Labour will win but that the Tories will lose.
The Conservative Party hasn’t had strong leaders since Margaret Thatcher was turfed out in a coup d’état.
And strong leadership is what’s required for a party to look united even when so many members disagree on the key electoral issue, Brexit.
As a result, the Tories appear to be torn down the middle, with the factions on either side bickering like drunk housewives in the communal kitchen of my Moscow childhood.
A house divided against itself will not stand, said that great political analyst of the past. Looking at those internecine squabbles, Labour bigwigs are rubbing their hands. They sense that the next election is theirs to lose.
I think they’re too smug for their own good, and the popular consensus is wrong. Labour may very well lose the next election, but unfortunately they don’t have to.
They can guarantee a win by ditching Corbyn a month before the polling date and replacing him with, well, just about anybody.
Then they can win without changing one comma in Corbyn’s Trotskyist programme. For, while our voters see nothing wrong with Corbyn’s programme, they increasingly see something wrong with Corbyn.
Labour has always attracted voters by claiming a high moral ground. The Tories are the nasty party in popular lore; Labour are the nice one.
Don’t they want to share wealth evenly or at least equitably? Of course, they do. So there.
And don’t they want to make life better for the working men – and also for the non-working ones, provided they have no private pensions? Definitely.
Also look at how they promote equality for all, regardless of faith, race, country of origin or the number of criminal convictions.
Any way you look at it, Labour exudes goodness out of every orifice in its body politic.
Granted, when yet another Labour government turns Britain into a basket case, voters sense that perhaps goodness isn’t enough by itself. Some modicum of cold-blooded competence may come in handy too.
So they sigh and vote for the nasty party. But after the Tories have shovelled some of the Labour manure out of the Augean stables, it’s time for goodness again.
The upshot is that preserving the image of a nice party is as vital for Labour as appearing competent is for the Tories. Lose that image, and what does Labour have to offer that hasn’t been tried a thousand times and found wanting every time and everywhere?
It’s that wholesome image that Corbyn is damaging.
Belying his avuncular looks, he regularly stars in decidedly nasty headlines about his saying hateful things about Jews, cavorting with terrorists, extolling the Venezuelan nightmare, refusing to criticise Putin – and shagging Diane Abbott, although that may be a thing of the past.
In short, he increasingly comes across as not just nasty, but evil. That’s an election loser for Labour.
The Tory press stays on Corbyn’s case, attacking everything he has ever said or done. As the election draws nearer, such attacks will intensify because, being indeed evil, Corbyn presents an easy target.
Yet using Corbyn as the target enables his party to do what it’s genetically predisposed to do: externalise evil.
If I were a political consultant to Labour, I’d advise them to encourage personal attacks on Corbyn – and then replace him with anyone from whom Corbyn has drawn fire.
That would crystallise their message: “Look, that nasty Corbyn usurped power and caused your just anger. But now we’re the nice party again – and look at the mess the Tories are in.”
The trouble is that the Tory media are incapable of spelling out the real problem of Labour. It’s not that the party is led by an evil man. It’s that it flogs an evil ideology.
Hence, the personality of the leader doesn’t really matter. For socialists, the choice isn’t between good and evil. It’s among various degrees of evil.
Some good conservatives tend to romanticise the Old Labour of Ramsey McDonald, Ernest Bevin and, if you will, Frank Field, all supposedly misguided but full of good intentions.
I don’t buy that because the price is too high: suspension of reason and morality.
The essence of socialism, be it national, international, democratic, soft, mild, extreme or mainstream, is the urge to destroy everything that’s good in our civilisation.
To use Harry Jaffa’s phrase, our civilisation was baptised in the Jordan, not the fiery brook (a reference to the materialist philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach). Hence its belief in the primacy of every single individual over a faceless collective.
That’s why the watershed issue in Western politics is the balance of power between the individual and the state.
Conservatives, who by definition think along Christian lines even if they aren’t Christians, gravitate towards subsidiarity – devolving power to the lowest sensible level, thereby empowering the individual. A conservative is never statist; a socialist always is.
Socialism is all about an omnipotent state lording it over its flock, an amorphous collectivist mass.
Only such a state has the power to rob people of most of their income, impose false moral standards, dictate not only what people do but also what they say and think, enforce materialism along with political, social, educational and cultural egalitarianism, put a yoke on peoples’ talents and enterprise.
Socialists by definition think along anti-Christian lines even if they happen to be Christians. If they are, they’re very stupid Christians, who can’t relate their religion to the realities of earthly life.
The Labour Party is a broad coalition of the evil and the stupid, with the former dominating the latter. If the Tories are the nasty party, Labour is the evil one – and it has got precisely the leader it deserves.
The only thing socialists are good at is propaganda – reducing their vacuous and wicked messages to catchy, appealing slogans. Their task is easy because only such messages are so reducible.
Thus a slogan like ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ is understandable even to the dimmest people. But even the brightest conservative would fail to counter with an equally catchy phrase.
He’d have to explain that this idea presupposes an authority empowered to decide what constitutes both ‘ability’ and ‘need’. Such an authority would inevitably become tyrannical because it would have to have total control over the whole society and everyone in it.
As far as catchy counter-slogans go, this doesn’t quite work, does it?
That’s how Labour has concocted its reputation for kindliness, assisted in this endeavour by the dumbing-down educational system it has created and fostered.
And that’s how Labour can win the next election, by jettisoning Corbyn who contradicts that reputation.
Now, if I were a political consultant to the Tories, I’d advise them to shift the focus of their offensive from Corbyn to everything Labour stands for, every supposition from which it proceeds – the reality behind the slogans.
And then wiser heads would probably object that by now our socialist education has become so successful that we simply don’t have an electorate capable of thinking beyond slogans and personalities.
Well, now you know why I’m not a political consultant to the Conservative Party.