The Oldham by-election result seems to have surprised the media and angered Nigel Farage. Some are claiming it as a triumph for Corbyn and vindication of his “leadership” of the Labour Party. Others, more savvy, have noted that the successful candidate who increased his percentage of the vote on a lower turnout was a well-known local council leader. Jim McMahon very carefully concentrated his campaign on his work for Oldham which was well known and very popular. His supporters describe his campaign style as “Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim”. You had to look very hard to find any mention of national issues or of the Labour leader. Cllr McMahon carefully avoided saying who he voted for in the Labour leadership elections but you can guess it was not comrade Corbyn!
Far too often, political parties think they know best and parachute some bright young thing into a constituency and expect the local electorate to accept their choice. Here we had what turns out to be a popular and successful decision to run with the local council leader; well known; greatly respected and working for Oldham.
He is entering a snake pit in Westminster. No doubt he will be lauded, paraded and schmoozed by his fellow MPs but he will soon have to come to terms with the darker side of Labour politics. As a moderate, the hard left will be watching him and he can expect their pressure tactics to come his way once the sweet taste of victory has faded slightly. Good luck to him!