Owen Jones: Corbyn says he’s staying. That’s not good enough | Owen Jones

His policies are right but his leadership is demonstrably failing. The likely general election defeat would be blamed on the left and mark the end of his progressive agenda

There is no pussyfooting around Labour’s Copeland rout. Opposition parties simply do not lose byelections to governing parties. Yes, Labour’s support has been in decline in the constituency since 1997; and we know that working-class disillusionment kicked in under New Labour. But wasn’t the whole point of the Jeremy Corbyn project to reverse that trend, not have a further dramatic drop of support just two years after the last general election? And while Labour activists in Stoke should beam with pride for routing Ukip, there, too, there was a swing to the Tories.

The polling for Labour is catastrophic. Veteran pollster John Curtice says the swing to the Tories in Copeland is even more dramatic than national opinion surveys suggest. Yes, polls can be wrong: 2015 and 1992 represent the two big polling disasters of our time. Yet in both cases, the disaster was overestimating Labour’s lead. If the current polling is wrong in any meaningful way, precedent suggests the real picture is even worse for Labour.

Related: Don’t blame Corbyn for the sins of Blair, Brown and New Labour | Ken Loach

Related: Enough navel-gazing. It’s time Labour got back to work | Zoe Williams

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