So what does a Corbyn leadership mean for you?

Jeremy Corbyn's dramatic leadership win is a turning point in Labour's history and it is also a turning point for those who wish to engage him. Most communicators and those wishing to engage on policy will never have seen anything like it before, writes Nick Williams, a former Labour Party adviser.

Politics is about to get colourful, writes former Labour Party adviser Nick Williams
Politics is about to get colourful, writes former Labour Party adviser Nick Williams
So what are the comms implications for such a leadership? Who will exercise decision-making power and how will those wishing to engage do so? Here’s what to watch out for:  

Policy decision-making Corbyn’s success is down to the thousands of new Labour members and he knows it. He has already said that the membership needs to retake control of Labour. This is politically useful for Corbyn who will use this "democratic outpouring" to head off the expected rebellions and plotters on the Labour backbenches whose single desire will be to oust him. 

This has a number of implications for communicators. The effectiveness of using most Labour MPs to engage decisions will be dramatically reduced. Only a small number of true Corbyn believers will possess real influence. These are the same 'fellow travellers' who have accompanied Corbyn and will create an unofficial Central Committee around him. 

There has also been extensive talk of greater democracy (read greater influence of party conference votes) in policymaking. However, now that he has been elected, Corbyn is not going to allow the masses of Labour members get in the way of socialist centralised decision-making. And one of the themes of this type of control – demonstrated in his campaign – is that there is little room for compromise. This will be one of the biggest shocks for those wishing to influence or engage.

An influential deputy leader? One of the ones to watch from outside of Team Corbyn will be deputy leader Tom Watson. The fact that both he and Corbyn come from the Unite union, but from opposite political spectrums, will bring an interesting dynamic. Watson has not campaigned for his deputy leadership for so long to see his power and influence now thwarted by Corbyn. He will be a force to be reckoned with and one to get on side.

Trade union influence As the bedrock of his political beliefs, trade unions will hold great influence on Corbyn and his policies. This will be seen by the crossover of union personnel into Corbyn’s private office, wider comms team and within Labour HQ. It will also be seen in the constant access that the unions will have to Corbyn, supported by extensive financial backing. Watch out for more 'cash for access'.

Intervention Expect Corbyn to intervene on industrial disputes and to actively attack some businesses and sectors. Name and shame will be the order of the day as Corbyn will seek populism against media attacks.

The Corbyn leadership will leave many companies not knowing how to engage, or whether they should just ignore it and hope for the best. Corbyn himself, having reached this glittering prize, will not compromise, whatever the media or opinion polls say.

This is his moment and his ultimate platform. He will use it with his own distinctive style. Politics is just about to get very colourful.

Nick Williams is a former Labour Party adviser and worked on the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general election campaigns 

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.