Enough now to say that I supported Michael Foot 35 years ago, and realised my mistake.
I love the idea of Jeremy Corbin. The socialist, the rebel, supporter of the disadvantaged and the outsider, a rallying-point for opponents of austerity. But his solutions of another time, not least nationalisation, soft on Europe, careless in his national (certain trade union leaders) and international friends (for example, Hugo Chavez) – to be of the left is a sufficient credential. He’s rowing back toward the centre now that the leadership is within his grasp. How he copes if elected, how much he accommodates, how, come the Labour Party conference, he copes as the new leader – that will all be telling.
Debate, passion, moral purpose – they are all there in the Labour leadership debate. And a remarkable level of sanity and even camaraderie in the face of big differences of point of view.
What there will need to be if Corbin is leader is a hard realism as well as the passion. History is littered with unintended consequences. Without that hard realism Labour will fragment and we will be left without an effective opposition. No longer do we have the LibDems holding the Tories in check. Labour could easily – I fear probably will – score a spectacular own goal.