Yes, Corbyn scares the Tories. Here’s why.

1. Tory ex-Chancellor Kenneth Clarke: “Don’t underestimate Jeremy Corbyn … he could win.”

Kenneth Clarke is a major figure in the Conservative Party (a former Chancellor, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor, Justice Secretary, Education Secretary and Health Secretary).

As he told The Huffington Post:

Don’t underestimate Jeremy Corbyn. He’s a nice guy.

“It’s not certain he will lose an election. Michael Foot, who stood on a much more left wing platform in 1983, was miles ahead before the election.

If you have another recession or if the Conservative Government becomes very unpopular, he could win.

“In difficult times the party with the duty of government can become unpopular.

He will be difficult to campaign against.


2. Tory cabinet minister: Corbyn “would drag the overall debate to the left”.


Matthew d’Ancona, former editor of The Spectator and Deputy Editor of The Sunday Telegraph, is well-connected in Tory circles. As he writes:

“My straw poll of Tories and their response to the Labour leadership contest is not remotely scientific, but revealed certain unmistakable trends. Yes, there are some who cannot disguise their glee at Corbyn-mania and their general disdain for the mediocrity of the contest. …

“Yet there are surprisingly few of them, truth to tell. One cabinet member says that Corbyn’s leadership “would drag the overall debate to the left and the tiny risk of his victory would be a catastrophe for Britain”. … [Even Corbyn’s failure] would threaten to re-define the centre ground and, by definition, make the Tories look more rightwing.


3. Tory campaigner Oliver Cooper: “Corbyn doesn’t reduce the risk of Labour winning, [but] he does raise the stakes.”


In the Telegraph, Oliver Cooper – Tory Councillor and Chair of the Conservative Way Forward organising committee – warns Conservatives not to welcome Corbyn’s success.

His argument is worth quoting at length:

“Corbyn would still have six questions at PMQs. His frontbench would still have a representative on Question Time and Newsnight. His party’s policy announcements and press releases would get just as much news coverage as a credible opposition.

“In short, Labour being Labour, they’ll still have the same platform … The only difference is Corbyn’s views will be more left-wing, so will shift the entire political debate to the left. Long-term, so long as Labour and the Conservatives remain the two major parties in the UK, the only way to make progress is to persuade Labour to accept our position. Our ideas don’t win just when our party does, but when the other party advocates our ideas, too.

“Instead, a Corbyn victory would lend credibility to the far-left … giving a megaphone to their [politics]. Inevitably, this would skew the discourse, letting Corbyn’s ideas become the default alternative to the Conservatives. Corbyn’s brand of socialism would poison the groundwater of British politics for a generation: influencing people, particularly young people, across the political spectrum.

“All of the above applies if he loses the general election. … [But that’s] not a foregone conclusion. Indeed, in 1975, Margaret Thatcher was widely portrayed as ‘unelectable’. Her election as party leader was cheered by Labour as playing to the Conservative base and guaranteeing yet another Conservative defeat. Three general election landslides later, nobody was left worrying about her electability.

“… as Harold Macmillan said, governments can always be undermined by “Events, dear boy, events.” And if he were leader, it would take just one event – from the collapse of the Eurozone to a domestic political scandal – to put Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10. For the sake of the country and for the innumerable Conservative achievements he’d unwind, it is important that that option be taken off the table.

“I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn would win the 2020 election – but then I don’t Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, or Liz Kendall would either. … But there’s always that risk of the unexpected. So while Corbyn doesn’t reduce the risk of Labour winning, he does raise the stakes. And the danger of bringing socialism back to the UK under Jeremy Corbyn is all too real a threat for #ToriesAgainstCorbyn to risk.”


4. Matthew d’Ancona: “He has stormed through the crash barriers of contemporary politics as if they weren’t there”.


Matthew d’Ancona goes on:

“… the sort of Conservatives who think intelligently and strategically – and there are more of them than you think – fret that a bearded 66-year-old socialist has ignited political debate in a way that absolutely nobody in the mainstream predicted. He has stormed through the crash barriers of contemporary politics as if they weren’t there …

“… what if the rules have changed? What if Corbyn’s moment in the sun is more than an anomaly, a quirk, an exception that proves the rule? The smart politician allows for such possibilities. Which is why smart Tories, far from gloating, are asking themselves if this is the start of something; and if so, of what?”


5. Asa Bennett: “it takes one calamity … and you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.”


Asa Bennett, assistant comment editor at The Telegraphargues:

“Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, well that would warp the entire nature of political debate. You’d find that all these theories he has about nationalising swathes of industry, setting up big nationalised banks … will become the norm.”

“You may think, “Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, ah, that’s very cute and very irrelevant, cos he’ll just be shouting on the sidelines.” But just think of this: it takes one calamity – let’s say the Eurozone blows up – and then suddenly the government will fall, and you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Imagine that.”


13 thoughts on “Yes, Corbyn scares the Tories. Here’s why.

  1. I suspect the Tories are talking up JC (ooh, we’re really scared) in the hope that Labour will vote him in whilst secretly rubbing their hands in glee.

    I am basically of the Corbyn left, but I just can’t see him as PM somehow. Michael Foot for instance had more poise (and more front bench experience) than JC and to my mind WAS Prime Ministerial material. And Ken, yes; but Jeremy, no.

  2. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man who does not believe in personal abuse. His views are centre left not hard left as described as some have done. I like what he has done to stimulate debate which has long been missing in these isles

  3. Wouldn’t that be great, the conservatives crash over ther Eurozone and we get at last a decent, honest and honourable man as Prime minister, Yes I;m all for Jeremy winning the next election.

  4. A very interesting collection of statements, thank you.
    I have been making the same arguments all along and I am certain that these arguments are there very reason Corbyn is being so vilified, within the party by those wedded to the liberal agenda, #redtories tories to use the pejorative term, and in the media. Simply stated, they are scared that the Overton Window shifting will undo 35 years of work as the working classes find their voice once more.
    Should Corbyn win though this is just the beginning.

  5. Anything to shake up this nationalist voter pandering shitfest that Westminster has become. The Status Quo was not just a crap band.

  6. “Corbyn’s brand of socialism would poison the groundwater of British politics for a generation”

    “Poisoning people’s minds with humanity” is how Kurt Vonnegut used to put it.

  7. You could add Allister Heath (1) from the Telegraph, Conservative mayoral candidate Zak Goldsmith (2) and Conservative Councillor and activist Rob Leitch (3) to the list as well. The question of the impact a Corbyn leadership would have doesn’t seem to be as simple as some would have you believe.

  8. Jeremy Corbyn will get elected because he will end the super expensive House of Turds! He may also ask for enquiries in to things like why MPs avoided expenses investigations because Cameron had records destroyed and another enquiry into why George Osbourne made £750,000 flipping homes.No wonder MPs from the big two are asking the Media to steer people away from Corby! #mediainpeerspockets

  9. Pingback: The #labourleadership and the politics of being mean | The Retrofit Lefty

  10. People were voting for Corbin politics after Thatcher – hence the high vote for Labour then – but got Blair and the rest. This has been a long long build up for a return of true Labour politics.

  11. Pingback: Yes, Corbyn scares the Tories. Here’s why. | shyamis

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