To imagine that Labour could overcome such odds by becoming bland, blurred and craven is to succumb to thinking that is simultaneously magical and despairing. Such dreamers argue that Labour has to recapture the middle ground. But there is no such place; no fixed political geography. The middle ground is a magic mountain that retreats as you approach. The more you chase it from the left, the further to the right it moves.
As the social philosopher Karl Polanyi pointed out towards the end of the Second World War, when politics offers little choice and little prospect of solving their problems, people seek extreme solutions. Labour’s inability to provide a loud and proud alternative to Conservative policies explains why so much of its base switched to Ukip at the last election. Corbyn’s political clarity explains why the same people are flocking back to him.
Nothing was more politically inept than Labour’s attempt before the 2015 election to win back Ukip supporters by hardening its stance on immigration. Why vote for the echo when you can vote for the shout? What is attractive about a party prepared to abandon its core values for the prospect of electoral gain? What is inspiring about a party that grovels, offering itself as a political doormat for any powerful interest or passing fad to wipe its feet on?