There are a number of dynamics that come together to decide the outcome of a general election. Each, individually, is a loser for Corbyn. Taken together they will ensure a Labour disaster at the polls.
Incumbency. People vote for the government in power because it looks like a government and is a known quantity. This is one reason why John Major won the 1992 general election and why Gordon Brown didn’t get the thrashing he deserved in 2010. Labour are not now the incumbents, so start on the back foot.
The opposition NEVER win an election. It is always the government that loses it. Look at every change of party at a general election and you will see that it is caused by the failure of the government. Major in 1997. Brown in 2010. The problem that Corbyn has is that the current Conservative government is by far the most competent since WW2. They are not losers.
The opposition must look like a government in waiting. This is what Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair both did. They put together teams that looked better than the sitting government. Corbyn’s Labour looks more like a protest movement than a political party with its people’s questions, petitions and street demonstrations. And the shadow cabinet is a joke. The appointments of John McDonnell, Lucy Powell, Andy Burnham, Kerry McCarthy, Diane Abbott and Maria Eagle being especially ill considered and really plain stupid. The British people will not want these people getting real government jobs.
Most voters don’t matter. This is because for tribal reasons they will always vote for the same party, no matter what happens. The critical importance is in the margins. The marginal seats and the floating voters. These voters are by definition centrists, otherwise they wouldn’t be willing to switch. Corbyn is the furthest from the centre that we have seen since WW2, he just won’t get these key votes.
Voter motivation. It is generally accepted that inclement weather on polling day always favours the Conservatives, because their average voters are more motivated and committed to the political process. Many Labour voters would rather watch the TV than face the rain. And abstention is big, in the 2015 General Election turnout was just 66.1%, so a third of people just couldn’t be bothered. With Corbyn large numbers of non extreme, social democrat Labour voters will just not bother. And large numbers of lazy Conservative voters will be very motivated to keep him out.
“It’s the economy, stupid”. Bill Clinton’s famous quote is the truth. When a voter is in the booth with pencil in hand he is not thinking of all the issues that pollsters like to prattle on about. He is thinking of his financial self interest and that of his family. And here George Osborne is an election winner, the best Chancellor since WW2. He took a country trashed by Gordon Brown (who falsely blamed the banks) and has managed an economy which has more jobs and higher pay than ever before in history and which has the highest growth of all G7 nations. Corbyn, on the other hand, has John McDonnell, who is an unreconstructed dinosaur of a dogma ridden socialist who was sacked by Ken Livingstone and who couldn’t be trusted to run a corner shop. And the policies they have announced thus far would trash the economy. This is a huge vote loser for Corbyn.
Party discipline. All political parties contain widely disparate views that have to be brought together in coherent policies which all their MPs can support. Otherwise a party just cannot function. In his political career Corbyn has rebelled against his party in about 500 votes. So why should any MP now do anything that he says? They will just do what they want, he has set the example. Also very many Labour MPs are likely to be de-selected as candidates for the next general election because the lefties are taking over the party, so why should they now vote against their personal beliefs? And the public will not vote for a party at war with itself.
So Labour are now, at best, the party of opposition. But the way is wide open for other parties to make gains at the next General Election. We live in interesting times.