In May, Khan might be the only electoral success for Labour and like Boris that could propel him towards the leadership of his party.
I’ll be frank, I think Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster for Labour, with his and his team’s approach to politics there will be no electoral low that Labour won’t plunge under his leadership as evidenced by his poor personal polling. With the reshuffle this week I get the feeling the Parliamentary Labour Party have reached a tipping point with Corbyn, but the fear is the membership will still vote Corbyn back as leader if there were a leadership contest.
May represents the best opportunity for the membership to realise that Corbyn is not the Messiah, if as expected hundreds of Labour councillors are defeated across England, Labour loses its majority in Wales, and May 2016 is just as horrific for Scottish Labour as May 2015 was.
Power is everything
In George Orwell’s 1984 it was said of Ingsoc ‘the Party seeks power entirely for its own sake’ and that is somewhat true of all political parties. Politics is all about power, opposition is no fun.Â The Tory party went through something similar from the mid nineties to the early noughties that Labour are going through at the moment.
For about a decade they decided that they’d much prefer to solely keep on banging on about the European Union and not worry about winning general elections, then overnight they decided that Government was much more fun than opposition, because that’s where decisions that matter are made.Â Labour could do the same, Corbynmania could fizzle out as quickly as it started, especially if those who joined Labour last year don’t renew this year.
Labour can take power in 2020 with a better leader because the Tories could be fighting the next election without their two strongest assets.
David Cameron has already declared himself hors de combat for the 2020 general election, and if the economy starts to perform badly by then the Tory economic record could become a liability. So the Tory party will be fighting the next election without their two strongest assets. With rumblings of discontent among Tory MPs about the plans to reduce the size of the House of Commons then some of Labour’s advantages in the electoral might not be removed by 2020.
On current boundaries it only takes a 0.44% swing from Tory to Labour to deny the Tories a majority in 2020 and probably a loss of 25 seats is needed for a Rainbow Coalition to take power in 2020 and keep the Tories out of government in 2020. With a decent Labour leader, that should be feasible, especially combined with a Lib Dem resurgence in the South West and UKIP harvesting Tory votes if the EU referendum proves as fractious for the Tory Party as many Tories fear.
We should also remember that under a decent opposition the Tories might well be behind in the polls right now. Since the election the Tory Party has appeared to go out of its way to court unpopularity such as tax credits changes to the cutting flood defences, the forthcoming NHS Doctors’ strike, and splits over the EU (and David Cameron giving his ministers a free vote is not a sign of strength, just remember the opprobrium and mockery Tories gave Labour when Corbyn allowed the shadow Cabinet a free vote on the Syria vote.)
London might be the only bright spot for Labour in May 2016 just like it was in May 2015, coupled with Zac Goldsmith not possessing the pizzazz of Boris Johnson makes Sadiq Khan the favourite to win. We saw in 2012 Boris Johnson use his victory in an overall poor night for the Tories to be seen as a contender for party leader, the only problem for Boris was he wasn’t an MP at the time.
For Sadiq Khan that might not be an issue. He currently is the MP for Tooting, he can reverse his plans to resign as an MP were he to become Mayor. Like Boris and Ken, he can be concurrently Mayor of London and an MP for London. Â Khan could argue he serves London better by also by having a voice in the House of Commons and it is no different to an MP who who holds a ministerial brief. Remaining an MP helps Khan’s chances of replacing Corbyn.
All of these events could align for Sadiq Khan to become Corbyn’s replacement, maybe as early as this year, because people like winners. At the time of writing the best odds on Sadiq Khan as next Labour leader were 33/1 with several bookmakers, I’ve had a nibble.