Labour’s leadership campaign lurches left with Jeremy Corbyn

Leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn's last-minute nomination for party leader has put Labour in a predicament. Emily Hohler reports.

The dynamics of the Labour leadership election were "radically altered" when, at the last minute, the 66-year-old leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn secured the 35 nominations required to stand, says Patrick Wintour in The Guardian. His inclusion demoralised some Labour MPs who said it would "pervert the centre of gravity of the debate even further from where the public are".

Corbyn's presence on the ballot paper confirms that Labour "still doesn't get it", says Dan Hodges in The Daily Telegraph. If Labour was going to have a "proper debate", Corbyn's hard-left views would "already have been consigned to the dustbin of history". Instead, it's chosen to go "rummaging through Michael Foot's dustbin".

Labour's predicament is complex, saysJim Pickard in the Financial Times.It needs to defeat the Tories in southern England, Ukip in the north and the Scottish Nationalists north of the border. The party seems "unsure what lessons to learn" from its electoral defeat and the three other leadership candidates, who span Labour's ideological spectrum, are "struggling to articulate a clear strategy for victory". Andy Burnham, the frontrunner, is seen as a "soft left candidate with strong trade union backing", Liz Kendall as the naturalheir to Blairism, while Yvette Cooperis "somewhere between the two".

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The political differences between these three"should not be dismissed", butthey are "subtle", says The Guardian. One advantage of having Corbyn on the ballot paper is that his fearlessness in defining himself he will fight the cuts, oppose Trident and defend civil liberties could "usefully force more definition" on the other three.

Labour is unlikely to win in 2020 in any case, but if Corbyn was leader, its loss would be "so catastrophic" that the left of the party might "be silenced for good", says Toby Young in The Daily Telegraph. To ensure that happens, Tories could do their bit by paying £3 to become a "registered supporter" of Labour and then vote for him. "Having digested all the postmortems of Ed Miliband's failure, it seems clear that the biggest reason for Labour's defeat is because Miliband believed in a bad theory ie, some version of Marxism. And when I say bad' I mean just flat out wrong."

Quite, says Matthew Parris in The Times. And for as long as "the impression endures that the Labour Party is secretly but in its deepest marrow hostile to the whole idea of market economics", it is doomed. If it could admit that it was wrong about socialism and be believed it could then convincingly "lead the charge to make the market work". Socialism, however you define it, has been "definitively discredited" over the past century.

Yet it retains the moral advantage because of our squeamishness about embracing the profit motive. Tories won't stand up for capitalist principle; they also get too close to the "monopolistic, cartel-hugging, anti-competitive elements" of free markets. "Abuses are rife, widely suspected and conveniently overlooked. Here is a real vacuum that an opposition party could fill."

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.