Following Wednesday’s Labour leadership debate televised by BBC News, Ipsos Mori published a voting-intention poll showing Labour only 5 points behind the Tories:
From a low of 14% behind just a few weeks ago, Labour had closed to 7% last week. 5% is not where Corbyn or any of his supporters would want to be, but considering the constant ‘briefing against’ by the PLP (parliamentary Labour Party) against Corbyn’s leadership abilities and (ludicrously) about his effort in the EU referendum, spurious and completely unevidenced allegations by Labour MPs of ‘abuse’ by Corbyn supporters, a concocted anti-semitism row and relentlessly negative coverage even by the so-called ‘liberal media’, to be closing the gap is remarkable.
Has the Establishment shot itself in the foot by organising the ‘Chicken Coup’ to try to force Corbyn to resign and then manufacturing a leadership challenge?
Until the referendum result, coverage of Corbyn in the media was slim and invariably negative. As a recent study by the London School of Economics showed, most articles about Corbyn gave him no ‘voice’ – that is, his actual words never featured.
But the series of leadership debates and, to a lesser extent, the grudging media coverage of his addresses to huge pro-Corbyn rallies, is giving Labour supporters and the wider public to hear from, and assess for themselves, Corbyn’s words, policies, character.
And, to the undoubted ire of the right wing of the Labour establishment (and likely the wider Establishment as well), the more people hear of Jeremy Corbyn, the more his polling, the assessment of his leadership and, yes, his ‘electability’ rise.
At the end of the BBC debate, host Victoria Derbyshire invited the ‘undecided’ section of the audience to move to the side of whichever speaker had convinced them, if any. All moved to Corbyn’s side, except for 3 or 4 non-movers and, after a long pause, one man who moved to Smith’s.
Just as the ever more ridiculous slurs that the Labour right-wingers throw at Corbyn seem each time to increase his popularity, every leadership debate merely contrasts Corbyn’s statesmanlike integrity, gravitas and genuinely different policies – in spite of the best efforts of Smith (which primarily consist of adding ‘but in GOVERNMENT!’ to the end of every sentence).
And up his ratings go. If the people behind the manufactured ‘crisis’ in the Labour party are not regretting their decision to give Corbyn a platform for us all to hear more of his views and see more of his authenticity, they ought to be.