Why Corbyn will never get elected with his current strategy.

Corbyn entered mainstream politics after decades on the periphery promising a new way to do things – a kinder, gentler politics. His position is that people do not want spin and triangulation, they want to be given a choice between parties who simply articulate their policies and then the electorate can choose whichever suits them most. Most people attack Corbyn because many of the policies he proposes are unpopular and won’t win the support he believes is out there. While there is certainly merit in such a position, I believe the bigger problem is that Corbyn’s initial premise is incorrect, and fundamentally good policies do not win elections. This is a very naive view, and unfortunately, ignoring what actually wins elections in favour of what ought to win elections in an ideal world leads to losing every time in this real world. The truth is that policies have to be crafted and sold in a particular way, through the media, if people are to accept them.

Let us first look at some of things that Corbyn believes affect how people vote: the big picture, the truth of a story, and how unfair/ mean a policy is. Again, in an ideal world, we would always focus on the larger story, only true stories, and the government being unfair and mean would be a huge negative; this is not the case in the real world.

If you believe the science, it seems almost inarguable that dealing with climate change is the most important challenge that we face. However, this is dealing with the bigger picture, which just doesn’t affect people like it should. It’s too easy for our monkey brains to be distracted by the here and now to care about things that happen over the course of centuries, and frequently affect people far away. Solutions to climate change can only become popular by either shifting the focus onto issues here and now, or changing the economic incentives so that it is cheaper to choose the greener option – preaching on the importance of focusing on the bigger picture is something that everyone will agree on in principle, but it unlikely to actually change voting habits.

Next is the truth. The idealists believe that all that is needed to counter a lie is to point out that it is a lie. This was a disastrous tactic in the EU referendum. Many prominent remainers seemed outraged at the audacity of leavers to use the £350m/ week figure, and in every debate brought up that they were lying, as if this would sway the minds of the undecided. It played well to those who already agreed with them, but ultimately it was just a poor way of convincing anyone. I am unable to decide whether this was good fortune on the part of the brexiteers, or a genius planned strategy to trap the remainers in an endless argument where ultimately both sides kept talking about how much money was sent to the EU, instead of focusing on EU positives. If your strategy for dealing with a lie is to point out it’s a lie and leave it at that, do not believe that you have achieved anything.

The final point on Corbyn’s list is the ‘kinder, gentler’ part: too many Tory policies are nasty. Again, we shouldn’t be nasty, but highlighting a policy as nasty will get the “oh, what a shame” reaction, but it won’t change undecided people’s minds. As you are reading this, you’re probably already a bit of a politics nerd, but I’d be willing to bet that most of you are unaware of one of the Conservatives ‘meanest’ policies, regarding social housing. Any family earning more that £40,0000 in London or £30,000 elsewhere will have to pay “a fair rent” of the private sector equivalent. Bear in mind that this is more or less the rate of two adults working full time on minimum wage. In my area of Lambeth, the average family on the £40,000 income will be expected to pay an additional £12,000 to £18,000 pounds a year to stay in their home, or be evicted. Moreover, due to high levels of adult illiteracy among foreign born people in my area, many will not understand the letter that the council has sent them demanding that they prove they earn less than this, and so will automatically be considered to earn over it. Seeing as pretty much none of the families on £40,000 will have an extra £12,000 spare, many people face being forced to move. This is undoubtedly an incredibly ‘mean’ policy, but that just doesn’t work as a valid attack. As with the above two points, people will agree with you, they’ll say, “oh that’s awful”, and then it won’t affect their vote. This is why this story never gained any traction in the news, and things like the bedroom tax failed to cause people to turn against the Conservatives in 2015.

So if the truth, meanness and the bigger picture don’t really affect how people react to certain policies, what does? I propose four key factors: relevance, understability, believability and competence.

The easiest to tackle is whether an argument is understandable. This was the biggest failure of Labour in 2010. The conservatives said, “the economy crashed because they spent too much”, and Labour replied, “actually, the banks in America had problems with subprime mortgages and certain financial derivates, and when the housing bubble burst, the institutions were too interconnected, exacerbated by high leverage ratios, and the system crumbled.” No points for guessing which argument worked better with the undecideds. In one of my favourite quotes, Alasdair Campbell says that, your message has to be so clear that even a child with a paintbrush could get it and pass it on. I do not believe anyone could accuse the current Labour party of doing such a thing. As much as people like to mock Theresa May, “brexit means brexit” is perfect here – there is nothing to misunderstand as it doesn’t really even mean anything. In fact, her statement could have just been “brexit”, if it didn’t sound so silly as a full sentence.

Next is relevance. This is the cure to the two problems of the bigger picture and mean polices. The bigger picture must also be the smaller picture, and a mean policy only matters if it affects you or someone close to you. The best example for how relevancy can turn an issue round incredibly quickly is LGBT rights. In ’60s, it was a fringe issue, and no one cared because it was just a bunch of weirdos you’d never met. The tactic that forced people to reconsider was a mass campaign of getting people to come out to their families, not just their friends, because people suddenly cared a lot more when a brother or aunt was being hurt by these policies. In fact, this policy was so successful that it led to some nasty consequences, such as Harvey Milk outing Oliver Sipple, the man who stopped an assassination on Gerald Ford, in an attempt to make gay people look good in the centre of politics, rather than an irrelevancy. The brexit campaign did this a lot better than the remainers, by suggesting that the £350m/ week could be used on the NHS, which was far more relevant to people’s lives that whatever it was being used for over in Brussels, which was entirely irrelevant. (Out of interest, did you care that I said £350m just there, even though it’s a lie? Probably not.)

The next one is not one that can be solved as quickly as correctly spinning a message. A key failure in the remainers’ argument was that they simply were not believed when they gave economic warnings. Again, people like to mock Michael Gove’s expert statement, but it was, in fact, entirely correct. The full quote is “I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.” Although this is painted as an anti-intellectualism issue, I believe it is a credibility issue. The research back this up: two thirds of people did not believe that brexit would make them any poorer. Perhaps once merely saying that the OECD, the IMF, etc say something is true once held water, but they no longer seem to have any clout. This is somewhat tied in to the understandable ideas area: ideally you want your policy to be understood, and if it’s complicated, then you have to have the authority to declare it to be the truth and be believed. The remainers did not have this credibility among the undecideds.

As a quick test of credibility, if Jeremy Corbyn came out tomorrow and said he had found out that the UK government had a secret Guantanamo-style prison in an island off the coast of Africa, what probability would you put on that being an accurate statement? Myself, maybe 5%. Conversely, if Ed Miliband said the same thing tomorrow, it would bounce up to around 50%. Despite his awkwardness and lack of leadership skills, he was credible as a person, and I’d take his accusations seriously. For me, I just don’t believe half of what Corbyn says.

Finally, is the area of competence. The perfect example is of the Green party vs the SNP. In the popular online quiz vote for policies, the Greens always did very well. Yet people simply did not see them as a party that was competent enough to carry out those policies. Conversely, the SNP don’t have many radical policies, yet enjoy massive support from those who want radical change, as well as many who do not support independence for Scotland, because they are seen as a competent party. Without this, the most popular of policies simply do not carry forward into electoral success.


Jeremy Corbyn could maybe win an election in the right circumstances, but I firmly believe that that could only happen if he completely changes his strategy away from his folksy ‘kinder, gentler’ strategy of just trying to put forward nice policies. Even if the Tories have huge amounts of infighting, the economy suffers and brexit negotiations go badly, as long as Corbyn refuses to sell his alternative properly, he still will not win. He currently enjoys the majority opinion on nationalising the railways and energy companies, but if he cannot make that policy relevant to people’s lives, and provide a competent, credible and understandable way of doing it, it will count for nothing.

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Do you really believe in democracy?

Saying “I’d rather not live in a democracy” is one of those Opinions You’re Not Allowed To Have, and if you do have it, you had better not ever mention it in civilised company. However, it seems to me that a lot of people don’t really believe in democracy, and they’re getting worse and worse at hiding it. I am a member of the Labour party, and to me it appears that both sides of the current divide have a growing lack of respect for democracy.

On the one hand, you have Team Corbyn, who believe that following the democratic consensus on anything at all, rather than your own belief, makes you a sell-out and a ‘weather vane’. The general public believe the current system of benefits is too generous to those who do not wish to work. Instead of accepting this basic premise, and coming at it with a Labour solution and Labour spin, they reject it outright. To tackle the problem as I suggested, is now known as ‘trying to out-Tory the Tories’. The same is true of immigration. The majority of the electorate believe that immigration has been too high in the recent past. Instead of accepting the general principle, and thinking how we can slowly shift the opinion towards a more left wing attitude through a compromise and left wing solutions to the problem, we must insist that there are not problems with immigration, and to say otherwise is ‘to out-UKIP UKIP’.

On the other hand, you have Team Smith. Owen Smith has said that we need to have a second referendum on whether to accept the final deal on brexit or to remain in the EU. The fundamental idea is that the largest democratic mandate that was ever given in UK history did not give ‘an opinion with which I disagree’, it gave ‘the wrong opinion’.

Now, you may think, ‘wait a second, are you saying we should just take the average opinion on every issue and run with it? That’s just populism, not politics”. I am not advocating this. The difference between populism and my opinion, and what I see other people doing is respect for the democratic opinion. If the public says ‘we think X on immigration’, your starting point must not be that they only think this because they are morons who just believe that because the corrupt Mainstream Media (who we all know are both simultaneously filled entirely with lefty PC types who hate the right and have a right wing bias against anyone left-wing) told them so, and the real problem is that they aren’t an enlightened visionary like you, who is immune to such media spin.

I have repeatedly read articles and comments complaining that the public just didn’t understand the EU vote and so we shouldn’t listen to it. In fact, some of the more honest people will write that the public was always going to be too stupid to vote on such issues, so we shouldn’t have had the vote. Others will point to a poll that said that the general public thinks that immigrants make up 20% of the population, but it’s really 10% (both figures invented), and therefore anyone who has any problem with immigration must be ignorant and their complaints can be swept under the rug.

As I see it, there are two approaches to the public when they disagree with you: the first is to accept that people may have come to that decision because they have experienced things you haven’t, and maybe they’re not an idiot. You can treat them with respect and try and come to a compromise, or make an honest attempt to convert them to your opinion. The other is to treat their opinion as one of bad faith.

It reminds me of a psychology talk I once attended. The speaker pointed out that when we first meet someone with a different opinion, we assume that they haven’t got access to the information we have. No reasonable person who knew what we knew could disagree with us. If we find out that they, in fact, do have access to the same information, the second assumption is of their stupidity. The only way someone with access to the same information as you could come to a different conclusion is surely if they’re just too thick to process the information. Finally, when we realise that our ‘opponent’ is both well informed and intelligent, we go to option three: they’re a bad person.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the exact process that too many remain voters have towards leave voters. I voted remain, but I appreciated many of the leave arguments. That’s my bias announced. My experience is only anecdotal, but in conversations with friends and family, with people on the doorstep as I canvassed, and with people online, never, not once, did I hear a leave voter say “there are literally no reasons to remain”, yet I heard the opposite argument more often that I can count. Oh, this person wants to curb immigration? Oh, they mustn’t be informed, I’ll just tell them some stats. Hmmm, they’re still in favour of it, maybe they’re thick. Nope, they’re actually quite articulate in their opinions. Racist it is then.

There is too often this flat-out refusal on the behalf of many people from all along the political spectrum on all issues to accept that a smart, informed, and well-meaning person can come to a different opinion, and that you should respect it.

Now perhaps you genuinely think that it simply is the truth that people are uninformed on economics, immigration, benefits, etc, and that the general public will never be informed enough to make decisions on them. However, there is really no difference between the EU referendum and a GE on this matter, as I see it. Those who argue that the public shouldn’t have been given a say on the EU, like Richard Dawkins did publicly, should be fully honest that they don’t believe in democracy for GEs either. Let’s be honest, in 2010, the argument largely boiled down to “the economy crashed because Labour spent too much” vs “no it didn’t”. The public was arguably much less informed as to the causes of the crash than they were about the EU. If democracy isn’t a good method for decisions regarding the EU,  it shouldn’t be a good method for deciding public economic policy.

So I would ask that people diverge from this faux-position of simultaneously saying that they believe in democracy but that the public are idiots and you shouldn’t take them seriously. Either treat people with differing beliefs with respect, or honestly admit that you do not believe that democracy is the best system.

Some might argue that democracy can be awful and still be the least awful system there is, but I would argue that democracy only seems so terrible because they don’t see the wisdom in other people’s opinions, and refuse to treat their opponents with respect. If people can learn to respect that other people’s opinions might be well formed, they will find themselves angry at democracy a lot less frequently, and simultaneously find that they are suddenly convincing people of their own opinions much more effectively.

Does Corbyn have a science problem?

It has recently come to my attention that Jeremy Corbyn may be harbouring a number of views that suggest a disconnect with reality on scientific matters.

The first is his belief in homeopathy. On 5th March 2010 he tweeted the following: “I believe that homeo-meds works for some ppl and that it compliments ‘convential’ meds. they both come from organic matter..”. The idea that the reason medicine works is because it comes from organic matter is a deeply flawed understanding of how science works, and should worry any supporters of the man. He has also signed some parliamentary early day motions hailing the success of homeopathy in the NHS. He also signed an EDM saying that we should “place homeopathy research on the national agenda as a credible scientific field of inquiry.

Secondly, Corbyn is against nuclear power. In his Protecting our Planet document, Corbyn says that “new nuclear power will mean the continued production of dangerous nuclear waste and an increased risk from radioactive accident and nuclear proliferation.” Thankfully Lisa Nandy, his former Shadow Energy Secretary, managed to put forward some pro-nuclear arguments to cancel out Corbyn’s irrational fear of nuclear. It might be worth someone pointing out to Corbyn that air pollution from fossil fuels cause 50,000 early deaths a year in Britain alone.  Compare that with the one nuclear accident in the UK that caused around 30 deaths from cancer, and that was in 1957 when the first generation of reactors was being developed, which have no where near the level of safety that can be found in modern Gen III reactors.

The anti-nuclear policy raises a third question about Corbyn’s commitment to stopping climate change, or even his belief in it. Corbyn has said he was in favour of re-opening the mines, but in a carbon neutral way. It is unusual for a politician on the left to promote the carbon capture methods of dealing with fossil fuel use rather than a complete move away from them. Furthermore, Corbyn’s brother, who does not believe that man is behind climate change, has the following to say on whether Jeremy thinks it is humans causing the problem: “I think the situation in the Labour party is that Jeremy has to follow Labour policy and Labour policy includes support for climate change action, within which the climate change idea makes very clear as the science changes then the measures should change, which means now is the time for debate. Now, my brother is very much in favour of debate and I totally support his leadership of the party and I look forward to more debate on this issue.” For the record, there is not debate. There is broad scientific consensus that it is man causing the problem.

Finally, Corbyn rebelled on a number of pro-GM foods measures in the house of commons. That said, I cannot find any explicit comments that Corbyn has ever made on the issue, so it’s not completely clear what his position is on them.

It is up to those around Corbyn and his supporters to make it clear to their leader that such an anti-science set of beliefs are problematic and he needs to educate himself on these important issues.

An attempt at honesty: why I hate Corbyn

I am a Labour member and activist. I spend almost every weekend going out and gathering data for the Labour party. It is my desire for the Labour party to win a general election and kick the conservatives out of power. Yet I find myself conflicted in what I want.

Over the last year, my opinion on Jeremy Corbyn has shifted from generally neutral to dislike, to hate, to my current position, where in a two-way presidential election between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, I’d probably vote for May.

From inside my head, this is all normal. I see myself only on a day-to-day basis, and I see the evolution of every decision I make, every comment I write about politics on Reddit, every rational decision I end up with. But if I can bear to pull away from my own Perfect Understanding of How Everything Fits Together for just one brief moment, I can see that I am not a rational actor, and I have let my emotions cloud my judgement.

There is one false reason why I hate Corbyn, and two true reasons. The false reason is that Corbyn is getting far worse and my reaction is in perfect balance with how he’s doing – a decision that was arrived at logically. Logic may be why I do not agree with Corbyn on certain issues, but it absolutely does not explain the strength of my opposition to him.


True reason 1: confirmation bias, feedback loops and echo-chambers

The brain is an unjustly self-confident being – it is both blind to a great many things, and especially blind to its own blindness. Consider the toupée fallacy, which goes as follows: “Toupées look fake. I don’t know why anyone would ever bother getting one, as I know it’s a toupée every time I see someone wearing one”. This fallacy works on a pair of confirmation biases. Firstly, if we walk past five people with unconvincing toupées and five with convincing ones, we will assume that the five poor toupées are not real hair, and the five convincing ones are real. Unless we actually give all these people’s hair a good tug, we have falsely confirmed our pre-existing belief that all toupées are fake-looking, and we were blind to any evidence that countered our claim. Secondly, suppose we walk past Donald Trump in the street. Despite the fact that Trump has allowed people to test it for themselves, people still refuse to accept that it is, in fact, his real hair. Therefore, not only are we ignoring evidence that we are wrong, but we are also gathering false evidence to support our wrong claim. When the brain’s confirmation bias is shown in this light, everyone can agree it is silly, and assume they would never be so wrong. So let’s examine three example from economics, society and politics where our brains do the same, and we do not notice.

In economics, it is a very common trope that state owned businesses are inefficient and poorly run. As such, when business  are fully or partly owned by the state, we don’t think, “good work state – I guess my theory was less true than I had thought”, we generally attribute it to something else, or even more often, remain ignorant of the fact that the state even played a role. Examples of such success include the Conservatives privatising Rolls Royce in 1971, Singapore Airlines (Singapore actually has a huge amount of State owned enterprises), a large number of enterprises in Finland and South Korea, which resulted in both countries moving from almost 3rd world status post WWII to successful economies now, Renault and Thales in France, Petrobas and Embraer in Brazil, etc. Similarly, When private companies are inefficient and poorly run, no one every thinks that such inefficiency is because they are privately run. As such, our brain sticks with the ‘truth’ that is has been told, and all evidence is used to confirm this theory, whether or not that evidence contradicts the theory. [For much more on this, I recommend Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans Chp.5]

In society, if you are straight, you probably haven’t given much thought to the ‘fact’ that gay men act noticeably more effeminate than straight men. Yet once again, the evidence we see gets twisted by assumptions. Suppose you go to a clothes shop and the assistant acts in an effeminate way. In most peoples brains, they will make the conscious assumption that the assistant is gay. They do not notice the subconscious ticker that adds one more ‘point’ to the evidence pile for our initial assumption. Yet, how often is that assumption checked? Do people ask camp assistants if their assumption is true? I imagine that it is a pretty rare occurrence. After we have bought our jeans, we head over to the hardware shop to buy a new hammer. When the muscular, masculine assistant helps us get the best one, our subconscious also makes the assumption that he is straight, and adds this to our evidence pile, but again, is anyone asking him if he is straight? In my personal experience, one of the most amusing examples of this comes from an old university jujitsu club, when the teacher was making remarks that were somewhat anti-gay, utterly unaware of the fact that among his 15 or so male students, 4 were gay, because none of them confirmed to the pre-existing stereotype. Some might be tempted to portray that this assumption is a sign of bigotry, but I would argue that it is not, any more than the economic assumption or the toupée doubters are bigots – all brains, regardless of ‘bigotry’, will start acting with a confirmation bias once it is given a theory and a starting point of data confirming it.

Finally, in politics, the assumption exists that left-wingers care about the poor, whereas right-wingers only care about themselves. Our bias comes through clearly here when politicians start speaking about helping the poor. When someone like Ed Miliband talks about the poorest in society, do we take a healthy scepticism and examine whether he truly believes in this, rather than manipulating it for his gain? It is important to emphasis that the truth of his concern is not the important factor here, but rather our automatic reaction to believe it because he is left wing. Conversely, when Iain Duncan Smith quit the government over concerns for welfare, it was instantly said to be insincere. Equally true of Theresa May’s first speech, which suggested she was going to work on social justice, and which was written off as lies by a number of commentators. Again, it doesn’t matter if they both were lying, what matters is whether we think they are lying because we carefully checked their claims against their actions, or whether we allowed this evidence to instantly confirm our pre-existing bias. It is worth noting, although not conclusive, that there actually is a decent (1) amount (2)of evidence (3) that conservatives tend to give more to charity than left wingers.

So the first thing is that my brain decides on a belief and uses an unfair evidence system to support it,  but the situation gets much worse, due to feedback loops in the mind. Our brains have a bizarre characteristic called neuroplasticitywherein we can literally change the physical structure of our brains by the way we think. Think of a neural pathway as the same as a path you may choose to run across a field. Initially, it is just grass, but over time the track is worn in, and that particular path becomes both the norm, and easier to run on. So take for example that one starts thinking initially that, for example, the European Union is a poor idea. If one only thinks about the EU once every few weeks, then the idea will remain lightly negative. However, for the last 6 months, people were forced to think about the issue (at a wild estimate) 100 times as often, and so the idea “the EU is a poor idea” was given the chance to very quickly be engraved into people’s minds, and so without any additional evidence, people became more certain of the idea that it was a poor idea, and equally people who were lightly positive became more certain that it was a good idea.

 So as it is, an idea, probably based on a biased evidence system, has the potential to become deeply ingrained in the brain if it is repeated often enough. But these ideas surely won’t matter too much, since we are constantly being bombarded with evidence from both sides? Nope. A natural effect in society is that we tend to create social groups with like-minded individuals. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that we are completely unaware that we are doing it. In my favourite article ever, Alexander Scott’s I can tolerate anything but the outgroup, Scott explains his take on American society, where around half the population does not support abortion, yet he doesn’t know a single person with this opinion. That would make sense if all the democrats lived in California, and all the Republicans in Florida, and they never met. However, that isn’t the case. Within one city, for example, London, one might behind someone completely different in the queue at Starbucks, or sit beside one such person in the tube, yet we create social bubbles where these different societies are living among each other yet never seem to interact. As I saw on my Facebook feed shortly before the EU referendum, one friend wrote a status to the effect of ‘Why are the polls saying it’s 50:50?! Who are these people are voting leave? I don’t know a single one!’ Yet, our human nature to create this echo-chambers of our own beliefs is even strengthen further by Facebook itself, whose algorithm was revealed to show on our feed the friends whose statuses we liked more than those we didn’t, i.e reinforcing the ideas we already believed and spiriting away those that did not conform.

So the first true reason why I utterly hate Jeremy Corbyn is that I started off disliking him, just the tiniest bit more than I liked him, and my brain did the rest. It ignored the evidence that didn’t fit my initial judgement, it repeated that opinion until it was the natural path for all my Corbyn related thoughts, and created a space where all the pro-Corbyn news was from sources I didn’t trust, whereas all the clever people were repeating the opinions I wanted to hear them say.


True reason 2: I have an emotional investment in being right.

As much as it was difficult to write so far around 1500 words on why my brain is a shitty tool for fairly analysing data, this part is even harder to admit.

If you were to ask me the day after Corbyn’s election “how would you feel if Corbyn became prime minister, he implemented a hard-left agenda, and the whole thing was a massive success?”, my response would probably be “Well I’m pretty certain that that’s not going to happen, but if it did, that would be great!” It is difficult to admit to this, but in truth my answer to that question today would be “I’d be fucking furious”. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I also suspect that deep down, a lot of Labour members who have argued against Corbyn feel the same way. Again, assumption, but I imagine that most Corbyn supporters deep down would feel the same to the question “How would you feel if Liz Kendall threw her hat in the race at the last moment, won it, won a landslide in a GE and was fantastically successful as a centrist PM?”.

You see, I write comments on reddit almost daily concerning politics, and these days that almost always involves some sort of comment on Corbyn. Each one of these comments contains a bit of my opinion, so in a way it contains a bit of me. Over the course of a year, I have become personally invested in a series of predictions, most notably that Corbyn has less than a 1% chance at winning a majority in a GE. In my head, I see myself as an individual, and my predictions and thoughts on politics are completely separate. In truth, the two are deeply intertwined, and if I did not think those things, that would have a pretty big change on my identity. If my predictions turn out to be wrong, I will face the painful realisation that I am not as good as I think I am at such things, and no one enjoys this kind of hard truth.

However, it is more than just my personal identity that is invested here, but also how others see me. Every single one of us craves approval from our peers, whether we admit so or not. It is necessary to our psychological health that we feel valued, and part of that is that the people around us don’t think that we are complete idiots. As such, we all have an investment in any prediction we make, as a correct prediction will boost our standing among our peers, and means they will place further trust and value on any subsequent predictions we make. Conversely, if we call it wrong, we risk our peers thinking that our opinion is worthless, and any future predictions ought to be ignored.

So the truth is that for both my self-esteem and to hold a position of worth among either my friends I know in politics, or among those commenters on reddit, I hold a deep personal investment in being correct,  even at the risk of everything going terribly. I could be wrong, but I suspect that most people are a lot more self-serving than they would admit to. As such, I see it as a preferable outcome for everything to go wrong, as I predicted, than for my prediction to fail and everything to go right, and there’s a good chance other people do too.

This is a deeply dangerous situation. I doubt I am going to do anything to hurt my party’s chances of winning (at least not consciously), but those familiar with game theory will know the perils in having a large number of actors in a position where they have a vested interest in their own team’s failure.

I do not know a way out of the situation I have created, or that has been created for almost every member of the Labour party, seeing as the party is more or less split in two, with each half deeply invested in the idea that the other half’s plan will be an absolute disaster. However, surely it must be a step forward to have recognised that there is a problem.


This is not an article about me being wrong to oppose Corbyn – I believe I am correct to do so. However, this is an investigation as to why my mild opposition has become so deeply held that I’m willing to vote for Theresa May over my own party leader. I believe that somewhere along the line, my rational thoughts have been weakened by cancer of irrational ones, that only serve to bleed dry my ability to construct objective predictions and analysis of what I see.

I doubt I will become pro-Corbyn any time soon, but for the good of my own health, it is my aim to remove the anger, and remove the incentive to see my own party fail.