Sometimes even when you have consistently underperformed at your job, an opportunity to finally shine presents itself that is too-good-to-be-true.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has that chance thanks to Prime Minister Theresa May calling a general election for 8 June.
May’s arrogance to call this snap election – last general election was in 2015 – comes from a belief that Corbyn has zero chance of defeating her ruling Conservative Party.
But in recent general elections across the globe we have become accustomed to witnessing shock results.
Corbyn can win enough seats to lead a coalition but not win any overall majority. Corbyn has to seize this moment with common sense, realism and astute political maneuvering to be Prime Minister.
Corbyn has to swallow his political pride, his die hard political convictions and to appeal to middle Britain. Corbyn must convince the electorate he is a leader that can work effectively with others.
So what should Jeremy do to boost his cause for state power?
- Corbyn has to lead the campaign from the front and set the agenda and pace.
- Corbyn should bring in a campaign team that knows how to win. Labour’s campaign should not be run by just Corbyn loyalists.
- Corbyn needs to run a campaign on aspirations and not on fear.
- Have 5-7 key positive themes that matter to the electorate and stick to it. E.g. immigration, national security, BREXIT, health, jobs, economic growth, pensions.
- Apply elements of the Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump playbook for this brief campaign. e.g. Effective messaging to bypass the mostly anti- Corbyn media.
- Work on the deal with Scottish National Party (SNP) & Liberal Democrats to target certain vulnerable Tory seats.
Corbyn has to confront the 170+ Labour MPs that hate his guts and do some deal to ensure a Labour victory is the sole priority of this election and not personal vendettas. Corbyn should negotiate a ceasefire on the internal backstabbing as the chance of state power looms.
Some Labour MPs have openly said they won’t support Corbyn which is so childish.
May as PM has been a disappointment. Her Cabinet has been uninspiring with the likes of David Davis, Michael Fallon, Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson failing to impress in their high profile portfolios. Their shadow opposites in the Labour Party have been equally dismal.
A few days ago Corbyn ruled out any deal with the SNP. Corbyn must realise that he cannot win power without help from the SNP. He also has to rely on the Liberal Democrats winning seats from the Conservatives in the Home Counties and West Country.
[Hard to believe that Labour is polling poorly against the Conservatives in former strongholds such as Wales and Scotland.]
Corbyn’s must remember that – in Northern Ireland – his hero the late Martin McGuiness (Sinn Fein/IRA) was prepared to share power with life long enemy Ian Paisley (DUP). So Jeremy should have publicly ruled nothing out.
In Scotland, Labour has a mountain to climb given the Scottish Conservatives have overtaken them under leadership of the impressive Ruth Davidson.
May has hinted that she will not take part in any live televised debates with other party leaders. This is the height of complacency by the cocksure Tory leader. Corbyn and the other politicial leaders should go ahead with the debates and exploit May’s disrespect to the electorate.
So it was disappointing to read that one of Corbyn’s spokesmen had stated that the Labour leader would only participate in the televised debates if May appears too. Really? This kind of narrow minded thinking is one of my concerns about Labour’s campaign team.
Corbyn’s team should learn lessons from Justin Trudeau’s surprise victory in Canada’s federal elections.
During Canada’s 2015 elections PM Stephen Harper participated in just 1of the 5 televised debates. Harper’s main opposition rival was Tom Mulcair from the New Democratic Party. Mulcair refused to participate in the debates that didn’t include Harper.
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (then 3rd in initial polling & seats) seized on their absence and excelled in the debates. This no doubt had an impact in Trudeau’s seismic victory at the elections. The Liberal Party gained a staggering 148 seats.
If Labour runs a smart campaign they can win enough seats to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. If not, Labour may be in the recycle bin for generations.
Finally, to Labour Party campaign leaders – keep Ken Livingstone and his like far from the campaign and the media. I liked Ken when he was my MP in North West London. But today he has become selfishly toxic which hasn’t helped his old chum Jeremy.