by Kevin Meagher
The most obvious point about the Yougov poll for The Times showing Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour leadership race on 43 per cent, is that 57 per cent of members are not backing him. A clear majority of Labour’s members do not support taking the party sharply to the left.
The other obvious point is that Corbyn’s wild card status in this contest, ostensibly to “broaden the debate” has spectacularly revealed just how little the parliamentary party and the professional class around Labour politics actually now understands the grassroots.
Corbyn was seen, to be brutally honest, as lefty ballast. A bit-part player to be politely tolerated while the serious professional politicians got on with it.
So how do party moderates now respond, having made what looks like a gigantic miscalculation?
If these polling figures bear any relation to the actual result, there is no room for complacency.
No-one thought a Granita-style pact was necessary in order to give the centrist, social democratic perspective in the party a clear run in this contest, but this is precisely what is needed.
It’s probably too late and too messy for anyone to drop out at this stage, but the Burnham, Cooper and Kendall camps need to appreciate the risk of a Corbyn victory and maximise the chances of a centrist winning.
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