You know, it's on days like this that Mike "can't be arsed" Smithson utterly baffles me. The title of his post on Stormfront Lite this morning was "You can get 11/8 on Corbyn being leader at general election. Why I’m not tempted." For 11/8 to be a value bet, you merely have to think there is a better than 42% chance of Corbyn still being leader in May 2020. So I was waiting with bated breath to hear why Smithson thinks the likelihood of that happening is in fact 42% or lower - but he didn't say anything at all. (Maybe he couldn't be arsed?) The post simply consisted of four reposted tweets, two of which clearly support the idea that Corbyn is NOT likely to be deposed. One is a link to a Stephen Bush article with the title "A new poll shows Jeremy Corbyn is going nowhere", and the other shows that Labour members questioned by YouGov think by a margin of 54% to 33% that it is more important for a party to put forward policies it really believes in than to make compromises that would allow it to win an election.
Bush is particularly worth listening to on this topic. He hasn't been right about absolutely everything this year, but he made a very confident call about the Labour leadership contest that proved to be spot-on, and he was much closer to being right about the general election than most people. There are two major question marks in my mind over whether Corbyn can cling on, and Bush deals with one of them very helpfully. He links to a post by a barrister offering a legal opinion on whether Corbyn would require to be nominated by 20% of the PLP to simply make the ballot paper if he is challenged for the leadership. Although it's conceded there is some ambiguity in the relevant part of the Labour rule-book, the answer is basically no. If that's correct, it removes any realistic chance of Corbyn being directly removed against his will, because any challenger would have to defeat him in a members' and supporters' ballot, and the latest polling evidence suggests that would be nigh-on impossible.
That still leaves the other question mark in my mind, though, which is to do with Corbyn's own commitment to the job. Would he, as Damian McBride implied recently, resign voluntarily at the first sign of a push against him? The fact that he never seemed to have any personal ambition to be leader or Prime Minister doesn't inspire huge confidence that he has the stomach to fight for his position. But the counter-argument is that he has shown plenty of ambition for his own wing of the party. He knows that what happened in September was a historic achievement for the left, and that it could be totally squandered if he walks away. For all the talk about him paving the way for a left-wing succession before the general election, he surely knows that it doesn't work like that. As soon as there is a vacancy, anything could happen. Even if the new leader was vaguely left-ish, who is to say it wouldn't be somebody from the soft left (such as Lisa Nandy) who would then "do a Kinnock"?
To survive as leader, all Corbyn really has to do is decide to survive. And if he's being rational (and receiving rational advice), that's the decision he'll take.
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The SNP's motion calling for Trident not to be renewed was voted down in the House of Commons today by 330 votes to 64. There are 60 MPs from the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, so assuming there was a high turnout among those three parties, the vast majority of Labour MPs -including Jeremy Corbyn himself - must have abstained on the question of whether Britain should retain its nuclear weapons. Surely Corbyn's position as the vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is now untenable?