This antipodean Jeremy Corbyn is a drag on Labor’s vote

This antipodean Jeremy Corbyn is a drag on Labor’s vote. By Troy Bramston.

Jeremy Corbyn would be proud of Anthony Albanese. After several meetings and numerous selfies, the Australian Opposition Leader has adopted the same electoral strategy that the former British opposition leader pursued so disastrously. Corbyn’s central pitch to British voters in 2019 was Labour was “on your side”. Albanese’s central pitch to voters in 2021 is Labor is “on your side”. …

At the heart of Corbyn’s strategy was class warfare. He asked voters whose side they were on, seeking to drive a wedge through the electorate. This is what “on your side” means. It assumes there are different sides, good versus bad, and voters must choose between them. It pits employees against employers, poor against rich, consumers against business.

How did it work out for Corbyn? He led Labour to its worst result since 1935. …

Australian Labor has never won an election pursuing the politics of envy. Dividing the electorate with class warfare is a losing strategy. Positioning Labor as anti-aspiration and anti-business with a big-taxing and big-spending agenda spells doom. …

Anthony Albanese is a throwback:

Albanese is one of the last of Labor’s faction men from the Cold War era. He was NSW Labor’s assistant secretary from 1989 to 1995 and leader of the Hard-Left sub-faction. His strident, winner-take-all, factionalism began in Young Labor and carried through to the broader party and then the national parliament. His enemy was not so much the Right faction but the Soft Left sub-faction.

Andrew Leigh, now a Labor frontbencher, wrote about Labor’s factions in a journal article published in 2000. Leigh wrote that Albanese’s supporters were also known as “Bolsheviks” and the “Socialist Left”. They had close links with the broader left, including the Communist Party of Australia and People for Nuclear Disarmament. It is no surprise that Albanese sees Corbyn as a comrade in arms. …

Soon to be history:

The latest Newspoll shows support for Albanese tumbling. His approval rating is minus 7. In other words, more people disapprove (45 per cent) than approve (38 per cent) of the job he is doing. Albanese has repeatedly said in interviews that his leadership is not a concern because his net approval rating is positive. …

In the head-to-head contest as preferred prime minister, Albanese (26 per cent) is trounced by Scott Morrison (61 per cent). While the two-party vote is 50:50, Labor’s pri­mary vote of 37 per cent concerns party figures. …

Labor has never won a majority of seats at a federal election with a leader from the party’s Left faction, let alone a leader who has spent his life as a factional operator.