British politics have been a bit surreal this year. The Lib Dems are a distant echo, their once charismatic pin-up boy Nick Clegg is doomed to sit in shame, and Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time is playing on repeat in his empty cranium as the stares of his 2010 voters drill ever further into his diminished soul. The bloodbath now dubbed ‘the Ed wedding’, which saw Labour undergo a crushing Tory victory, was, according to opinion polls, not a real possibility. UKIP’s rise from obscurity, heralded by ‘uncouth immigration ideas wrapped into a melting flesh carrier bag’ Nigel Farage, just seemed a bit silly. I figured this was it for politics: the 2020 elections would feature a clown, a dog and a table, each one being slightly more effective than any Government figure in the past 10 years.
That was until the Labour leadership campaign. Andy Burnham, or Blair 2: Revenge of the Blair, was an early contender, though dampeners were put on his campaign after a number of spats with Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West and fellow leadership contestant. His attempt culminated in second place for Burnham, which is about as relevant as Adam Sandler is to comedy given Jeremy Corbyn’s result, and Liz Kendall finished in fourth and last place with a humble 4.5% of the total vote, leaving her out in the rain.
Yvette Cooper, another contender for the Labour throne and MP for Pontefract and Castleford, had a progressive and modern vision, optimistic about Britain’s future with an emphasis on unity among the party. However, this shared hallucination only managed to contaminate 17% of the total vote, with Cooper being struck down with her fellow competitors by the mighty hand of Corbyn in the first stage of voting.
The Leadership election was a revelation for politics. Corbyn’s body-slamming of the competition was unrivaled, taking home the leadership in the first round with 59.5% of the total votes cast – more than Blair’s 57% in 1994, although he was a warmongering psychopath.
While Corbyn has the support of the party, winning a majority in the 2020 elections is a different story. Labour will have to take 100 seats more than it did in the May elections, by gently teasing Scotland away from the SNP and pulling a number of Conservative seats back to Labour. Although, most people cited Ed Miliband as the reason for turning to the Tories, suggesting that he simply wouldn’t make a good PM, which is understandable, given that he resembled a character from Wallace & Gromit that had leapt from fiction to reality.
With a new leader able to reach the heights of credibility that Miliband never could, the playing field seems even- or at least as even as a left-wing party in a primarily right-wing country can be. Corbyn has evidently shaken British politics to its core, with voters accepting, and even relishing in, his more liberal than centrist views. Whether this voting task force can be engaged and mobilised for 2020 is another question- Corbyn criticisers are writing off Labour for another ten years in some cases, and until the end of time immemorial in others.
The next five years of opposition are going to prove to be interesting, at any rate- but let’s just hope we’re not looking back at the 2020 general election with the same morbid curiosity as we do 2015’s.