Will late endorsements for Yvette Cooper halt the Corbyn tide?

14 Aug 2015


The Guardian has backed Yvette Cooper for the Labour leadership, while former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is also expected to support the Shadow Home Secretary


The ballot papers for the Labour Party leadership contest have today been distributed to eligible voters. The long-fought contest, now into its final third, has seen a groundswell of support burgeon behind veteran socialist – and hitherto anonymous backbencher – Jeremy Corbyn.


A recent YouGov poll, published by The Times on the 10th August, predicted a comfortable margin of victory for Corbyn – 20% or more. This apparent disparity between Corbyn and his rivals has induced a post-election frenzy within the Labour Party. Very few individuals within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) believed Corbyn would stir such passion and supersede his more experienced colleagues.


The reaction of some Labour grandees has been characterised by fitful panic. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and spin-master Alastair Campbell, have called for party supporters to vote for anyone but Corbyn in order to prevent Labour from sinking into electoral oblivion.


Other experienced figures, speaking with less fluster but with the same intentions in mind, have attempted to extinguish Corbyn's pyrotechnics before they splash an iridescent red across the Labour sky. It has today been reported that Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister and successor to Tony Blair, is expected to endorse Yvette Cooper for the Labour leadership. This announcement will follow the lead of Alan Johnson, former Home Secretary, who openly backed Cooper earlier this month.


Indeed, a number of high-profile endorsements have bolstered the Cooper campaign in recent weeks. The Guardian – assuming its usual role as moral and political arbiter of the left – yesterday published an editorial in support of the Shadow Home Secretary. The article described Cooper as an individual who could, “bring both Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall together in one big, progressive tent, offering enough moral common ground to transcend deep disagreements on policy.”


These statements of approval will undoubtedly strengthen the credibility of Cooper’s message – at a crucial time during the campaign. However, the political gravitas of Cooper’s supporters forms a paltry obstacle to the unstoppable momentum of Jeremy Corbyn. The pronouncements of Johnson, Brown and others strike as a futile attempt to moderate Labour’s ideologically impassioned membership. Yvette Cooper has failed to inspire a restless support-base; unable to convince individuals that she possesses clear ideological convictions.


The polls suggest that, barring a cataclysmic scandal or slip-up, Jeremy Corbyn will be crowned as Labour leader early in September. Behind insincere smiles, expect Yvette Cooper and her band of dread-stricken supporters to stare on in disbelief.



Learn about each of the Labour leadership candidates in under ONE minute here

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