Of course, it is impossible to predict the future with certainty so that’s a slight exaggeration. For instance, the Conservatives are divided over the European Union with a referendum coming up. It is at least possible that the Conservatives could turn on each other. If that were to happen, Labour would have some chance of winning in 2020, whoever the leader is.
However, if a Tory implosion doesn’t happen, only one of the four candidates in the leadership race would have any realistic hope of leading Labour to victory.
Clearly Kendall is completely unelectable. There would be no reason for voters to vote for Tory policies from Labour when they can vote for the real thing. However, the question supporters of Burnham and Cooper must consider is this: in what possible way would Johnson versus Burnham or Johnson versus Cooper not be a re-run of the 2015 election, the only differences being that the Conservatives would have a more credible candidate than last time and Labour a less credible one? Remember Andy Burnham was crushingly defeated by Ed Miliband in the 2010 leadership election. Can you really imagine the Tories quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing him?
Corbyn, on the other hand, would be a different proposition. Let’s look at some facts. On the day Labour lost power in 2010, this is a list of what happened to Labour’s share of the vote in the constituencies in which the four current leadership candidates were standing:
BURNHAM: Labour’s share DOWN by 15.3%
COOPER: Labour’s share DOWN by 17.1% (although the situation was possibly distorted by constituency changes)
KENDALL: Labour’s share DOWN by 12.4%
CORBYN: Labour’s share UP by 3.3%
In other words, while Labour was having a disastrous night all around the country, Jeremy Corbyn’s share of the vote was going up. If that had been replicated by other Labour candidates across the country, Labour would have won the 2010 election with an increased majority.
In the current leadership race he was presented as the 100/1 outsider last month but is now a real contender.
Don’t be fooled by the vitriolic coverage of his campaign in the media. Modest he may be, but Jeremy Corbyn can win the 2020 election for Labour.