Why Tony Blair is wrong in his claim that Corbyn is ‘unelectable’ | The Canary

On Tuesday, Tony Blair admitted he was ‘baffled’ by the rise of Sanders and Corbyn, proclaiming again how ‘unelectable’ Corbyn is:

selecting someone who is electable is really important because otherwise you can’t help people; you’re powerless.

This is a totally unsubstantiated claim from Blair. ‘Electability’ is a floating signifier, which means it does not have a concrete definition. Therefore, it can be arbitrarily used to attack anyone whose views differ from one’s own.

Moreover, calling someone ‘unelectable’ does not really make sense because public opinion is not static and thus neither is electability. In fact, public opinion is fluid and can change at the rise of a single photograph. We saw this with the photo of the three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi who tragically drowned during his family’s attempt to reach Greece.

Beforehand, public opinion on the refugee crisis was quite hostile. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown compared the shift in opinion to a photo of a girl fleeing napalm bombs in the Vietnam war, saying it

turned American public opinion against that terrible war.

After the photo of Aylan Kurdi emerged, the hashtags #refugeeswelcome and #PeopleNotMigrants started trending heavily on Twitter, with the former gaining an additional 74,000 tweets. A petition calling for increased support for refugees saw a swift surge in signatories, gaining 150,000 in a single day.

That single photograph would significantly increase the electability of a candidate standing on a pro-refugee platform, in just one single day. Meanwhile, we have commentators, like the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, forecasting doom and gloom for the ‘unelectable’ Corbyn in an election that is more than four years away.

Actually, pandering to public opinion is how Labour will lose the general election. As we have seen, public opinion is fundamentally malleable. The working public do not have time for an in-depth look at different policies, so it is up to politicians to inspire them, to show them why policies will work.

The path to victory lies in ignoring whatever public opinion may be today and instead being the one who changes it. Corbyn must lay out his policies clearly and show how they will benefit the British people.

Source: This surprising poll destroys the myth that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘unelectable’ | The Canary

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11 thoughts on “Why Tony Blair is wrong in his claim that Corbyn is ‘unelectable’ | The Canary

  1. Gary Bowman

    Tory Blair still not believing that the ” new labour, old Tory” experiment is over and the party is returning to its roots! I hope the days of ” pretty boy” politics are over and people will look for substance over style! I might respect Tory Blair if he admitted that he and his mate actually started the ball rolling for the utter turmoil that is consuming the world!

  2. David

    Tony Blair might be ‘baffled’ by the rise of Corbyn and Sanders, but he’s not as baffled as I am that the Great British Public have elected Thatcher, Major, Blair, and Cameron: four of the most self-interested politicians this country has ever had since it was ruled by kings. We have four people there who, in their different ways have frittered away much public good will. They have all ruled in the interest of their cronies and rewarded them. How does this keep on happening? An electoral system based on first past the post and still tends to reward either the tories or Labour when we now have multi-party politics. The present tories, run the country as a quite right-wing dictatorship with around 35% of the votes of the electorate. This is a scandal. But I’m afraid we’ll never get people like the last three leaders off our backs for as long as we have first past the post and also allow the likes of Rupert Murdoch to call the shots, no matter who is in power.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Tories got less than 25 per cent of the electorate’s votes, in fact.

      1. hayfords

        Conservatives got 37% of the votes casts and 24.4% of the total electorate.

        Labour got 30.4% off the votes and 20.1% of the total electorate.

  3. David Woods

    Given the number of paedophiles who became MP’s – Do we want more from the same ‘mould’!
    Time to start electing for who they are rather than fitting the ‘party’ mould; in fact long past time!
    The last 40 years have proven that!

  4. Terry Davies

    who says Blair is fit to judge electability. he is purported to have deceived the cabinet to please his political masters. he is thus fearful of a Hague trial for war crimes and will say anything to avoid accountability for Iraq and the pretence of weapons of mass destruction.
    hes not trustworthy

  5. NMac

    Tony Blair states he is baffled by the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, but then goes on to state that he is unelectable. Sounds like a contradiction to me. Perhaps his statement about Jeremy Corbyn being unelectable is wishful thinking by Blair.

  6. mohandeer

    For Blair to comment on someone else’s electability is rich in the extreme. He did so much harm to the Labour Party as one of the most arrogant and self serving hypocrites and liars we have seen in many decades and is despised by a majority in what was “his” (rather than “ours”) own party. He loves to be loved and genuinely thought he could smarm his way out of every situation and crisis he initiated never realizing how much so many despised him. To this day I doubt he imagines that he could ever be held accountable as a war criminal because things like that don’t happen to his sort – charming, glib, insensitive, devious, egotistical, maniacal and delusional. (Who else does this remind me of?)

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