By MICHAEL CAINES
It's futile, many a Middle England type would say, to vote for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. What's the point in voting for this supposedly unelectable figure? Look at the local election results coming in from around Britain today: Labour defeated in Scotland; and merely, as far as anyone can tell at the moment, holding steady across England when they ought to be making dramatic gains in the face of Tory venality, hypocrisy, in-fighting etc, as previous opposition parties have done. It seems that my old MP Sadiq Khan has won the London mayoral election – but that's despite Corbyn, some have said already and no doubt will go on saying.
As a wise head told me this morning, however, some see an urgent point in trying to correct the right-wards drift to which the Labour Party has succumbed over the past two decades. Leaving aside the apparently unlikely scenario of a Labour victory in the General Election of 2020, even if Corbyn is out well before then, whoever succeeds him would have to acknowledge and accommodate the majority of party members who have supported him, rather than sinking back into the purest Blairism. It's that, some say, or a permanent split.
There is a dirty word that Right-thinking people occasionally like to throw at such idealists: utopian. The word in this context means: unworldly dreamer, one whose notions would be catastrophic if ever put into practice. It's the word Marx and Engels used to dismiss early socialist thinkers such as Charles Fourier and Robert Owen. And it's time the word was reclaimed, I think. 2016 is, after all, the year in which Thomas More's mighty book Utopia turns 500. It's about time we learned again what that mischievous coinage could possibly mean . . . .