Irrational hatred of Corbyn, and how to deal with it

By Ewan Cameron


I would vote labour, but I can’t stand Corbyn” How to get people on the doorstep seeing the bigger picture.

It can somewhat frustrating for the canvasser, brimming with enthusiasm at the thought of getting to talk about the manifesto with people in their community, to be met with a rather blunt “nope” at the door, even moreso when that nope is accompanied by “I don’t like Corbyn”. It may be safe to say that clown prince Johnson is even more hated in the nation, but for Labour supporters the idea that Corbyn is in any way comparable to the clown prince is maddening.

So what can we do when we meet people who say they hate Corbyn? I hope this will be a useful list of strategy.

  1. You ain’t gonna win them all. The phenomenon of the shy tory tells us that people who vote conservative sometimes know deep down they are voting for inequality and selfishness. They may just say they dislike Corbyn as a coping mechanism. Therefore don’t bother getting into a back and forth with someone who is never going to change their mind.
  2. Ask them “is this your main issue for not wanting to vote Labour?” This question, suggested by Edward Hirst, helps to get people talking about policy issues. It also forces people to really think if they would not support a party based purely on the personality of one person.
  3. Something people have suggested is metaphors like “you wouldn’t stop supporting a football team because you didn’t like the manager”. These can be useful, but they should be used in conjunction with other arguments, as they are too flippant by themselves.
  4. Don’t apologise for him. If you do like Corbyn. Let them know. Tell them you think he’s a honest man who is committed to helping the poorest in society. He’s not interested in power, but consensus.
  5. Talk about the Local candidate. After all they are the ones they will be voting for. By now you should have an idea of what your local candidate stands for and who they are as a person (Hopefully you have a good one!).
  6. Talk about the issues, let them lead the discussion on what matters to them. Chances are there will be a Labour policy that will make things better.

Overall there are many different ways to approach this and not all will work together. It’s up to us to use our judgement on how we dialogue with each individual member of our community. And it is dialogue that will win this election for us. Our domestic media has done a number on the Labour party, and created this ludicrous situation where our leadership can evoke strong feelings of hatred in members of the public. Yet each time we speak to someone on the doorstep we create a public sphere, that no matter how fleeting in time, has the ability to leave long lasting positive impressions and slowly but surely, turn the tide.