IF these were normal political times, Jeremy Corbyn would not even be competing to become Prime Minister because Labour would be headed by a more mainstream leader.
Yet he is still in contention because his left-wing agenda appealed to the party’s core supporters, particularly young voters, at a time of soul-searching – and the abiding failure of the Tories to respect Mr Corbyn’s formidable abilities as a campaigner.
A radical leader steeped in the politics of protest, he has – in fairness – changed the dynamics of the debate and forced the Tories to reappraise their position when it comes to the NHS, housing and so on.
However a career as a lifelong campaigner is not a sufficient qualification to be Prime Minister – and Labour’s manifesto is unlikely to have offered sufficient reassurance to the undecided.
Though Labour has, in fairness, published a prospectus for power – the Tories have still to do so with less than three weeks to go until polling day – it is still unclear how the party will generate sufficient economic growth to pay for a fraction of its eye-watering spending commitments.
It is still unclear how Labour can unite the country when its nuanced approach on Brexit – a renegotiated deal with the EU followed by a second referendum – lacks the clarity being offered by the respective stances taken by the Tories and Lib Dems.
And it is still unclear how Mr Corbyn can broaden his support base – the number one test for all prospective premiers – when he has allowed his party, and his leadership, to be brought into disrepute by its inadequate response to a series of scandals involving anti-Semitism.
Yet the very fact Mr Corbyn is still in political play, despite these doubts and many more about his suitability to hold the highest office, is not necessarily a reflection on him – it is a depressing indictment of the calibre of leadership on offer in 2019.