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14 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn Elected as Labour Leader: Today the real work starts

Written by: Gurpreet Brar, Managing Director at Edelman

Government Affairs

We really should start by taking our hats off to Jeremy Corbyn and his team. They knew early on that the big challenge would be to motivate new members to both sign up to the leadership contest and then vote. Led by Simon Fletcher his team has meticulously focused on delivering against this by allowing Jeremy to be himself and then engaging grassroots activists. It truly has been a job well done.

Being Leader of the Opposition is however no easy feat. There is a discipline and focus that is now required if a campaign is to be transferred into strong leadership. And there are many questions that still persist. Will he or will he not now speak at the Sinn Féin rally at Labour Party Conference? What will be his first question at next week’s PMQs? And will he wholeheartedly throw his weight behind the IN campaign?

Much has been written about how a Corbyn-led Labour Party is bad for business. However, nothing in politics is that black and white.

For some a Corbyn-led Labour Party may present a viable opportunity to focus a debate. For instance a root and branch review of energy subsidies may help the onshore wind, biomass and solar providers instigate a much needed debate. Business should also look to see what a ‘new way of making policy’ will entail. It will be interesting to see if the Corbyn team is able to engage not only the masses but also the business community. Finally, engaging to protect against reputational damage must be part of any decision taken by businesses regarding the Leader of the Labour Party. How will an ill-conceived, headline-grabbing policy impact you and your business? If you are worried about this then surely pragmatic engagement with the Leader of the Opposition will be in your interest.

Only time will tell whether Jeremy Corbyn will last beyond the elections in Scotland, Wales and London in 2016. In the short term however, for some Jeremy Corbyn could be a useful ally, while for others they should ensure they don’t become an obvious target!

To assess the impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Leader, Edelman presents insights from senior Labour representatives on what the result is likely to mean.  Watch the video above to listen to:

– Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP: Former Home Secretary
– Anji Hunter: Former Director of Government Relation for Tony Blair and a Senior Consultant at Edelman
– John McTernan: Former Director of Political Operations to Tony Blair & Director of Communications to Julia Gillard
– Fiona Gordon: Former Director of Political Relations to Gordon Brown
– Anna Yearley: Former Political Secretary to Ed Miliband

With these commentators having been at the forefront of Labour both in government and opposition, this short video brings some true insight into Jeremy Corbyn’s in-tray as Leader of the Opposition, whilst presenting some helpful nuggets on how best to engage.

Image by Garry Knight (Flickr: Jeremy Corbyn) [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr Creative Commons

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