Ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Glasgow tomorrow, Pentland looks at the Labour Party and what we can expect from Jeremy visit to Glasgow.
Three years ago, Jeremy Corbyn spoke with an air of authenticity that resonated well with a large section of the Labour Party membership, that resulted in him winning the Labour Party leadership contest with an overwhelming majority. Too many, Jeremy spoke a language of socialism akin to previous generations, in which he promised a new kind of politics, with greater party member participation, underpinned by the promise of straight talking honest politics.
During his time as leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy has overcome a botched attempt to force him to resign as leader, accusations that he was a communist spy and won a second mandate as leader of the Labour Party after defeating Owen Smith in 2016. To the surprise of many and perhaps even Jeremy himself, the 2017 general election returned five additional Scottish Labour MP’s.
So, what next for Jeremy? Tomorrow Jeremy will be in Glasgow addressing a delegation of Corbyn admirers, Corbyn sceptics and those who just don’t know but want to hear what he has to say. Given the 2017 election result its likely that Jeremy will talk about the failures of the Scottish government, the increase in Scotland’s inequality and Labours plans to tackle it by increasing tax on high earners as announced by Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour Leader. Given Jeremys reluctance to talk about Brexit, it will be interesting to see If he addresses the elephant in the room, which for many people will be the deciding issue on who they vote for in the next general election. Brexit for many people makes a reference to the biggest political topic of our time.
Talking to the converted is an easy gig, but the real challenge for Jeremy will be extending that message to those that are Corbyn curious and getting them on board. In the last four years, Scotland has had two general elections, two referendums and a local council election, to say that people are suffering from voter fatigue is an understatement, but people are also fed up with political soundbites and weak words.
A poll by YouGov last month predicts that Westminster voting intentions in Scotland would see a resurgence for the SNP and Scottish Labour losing the six additional seats that they won in 2017, resulting in the party having one Westminster MP.
If the polls are to be believed, then the Labour Party in Scotland has its work cut out to convince the electorate it can deliver a radical alternative to the SNP.