As he rows back on free movement and flirts with wage cap proposals, will Jeremy Corbyn last the year?

Jeremy Corbyn Attends NHS Rally
Corbyn has said that the pay of executives at companies awarded government contracts should be capped at 20 times that of their lowest paid employee (Source: Getty)

Rupert Myers, barrister and writer, says Yes.

Within the Westminster bubble, the Jeremy Corbyn relaunch went about as well as the tragic lift off of the space shuttle Challenger. Corbyn’s muddle on free movement and the Single Market is likely to have infuriated even his die-hard fans. Is he for free movement? Is he for the Single Market? He’s given up his consistency, which was perhaps his greatest political asset. For those of us who aren’t mad-keen Corbynistas, it’s easy to see a guy with absolutely no idea what he is doing.

Read more: Corbyn moots 20:1 pay ratio rule for government contractors

However, if 2017 is to see Corbyn adopt a Trump-style approach to politics, then these headline-grabbing, wacky announcements are exactly the sort of thing he needs to keep doing. It won’t win him power, but it might just dominate the news cycles, and if you throw enough at the electorate, some of it might stick. Labour has no appetite to make it three leadership contests in as many years: Corbyn will be given 2017. His enemies will sit back, hoping it alienates his core support within the party. He’ll last the year, but at what cost?

Tom Slater, deputy editor of Spiked, says No.

After another day of own-goal media appearances, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is the joke that isn’t funny anymore. His not-quite-rowback on free movement and his maximum wage idea prove that he and his party are no longer fit (if they ever were) to represent working people. His miffed-vicar brand of state socialism is an insult to the intelligence and aspirations of the public. Working people don’t hate the rich, they just want the good life for themselves. And his evasions on migration show that this so-called straight-talker is as spun as any Blairite. It’s not that he’s too radical, he’s not radical enough.

Socialism used to be about freedom and plenty for all – two things Corbyn wouldn’t recognise if he tripped over them on the allotment. Whether he survives the year is up to party members – an increasingly middle-class crew more at home in Pret A Manger than Southend-On-Sea. But one thing is clear: he’s no friend of those who labour. That’s got to catch up with him.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles