It won’t matter if party members and supporters pick Tessa Jowell, David Lammy or Sadiq Khan, the long-hoped for prize of a second term at City Hall will be lost and Zac Goldsmith will preside over the capital for the next four years.
To have any chance of assembling the cross-party coalition needed to win City Hall, the candidate would have to immediately disown Corbyn’s hard-left agenda of nuclear disarmament, mass nationalisation and anti-austerity rhetoric.
And in every interview they give they’d have to distance themselves from their new leader’s use of the term ‘friends’ to describe Hamas.
In trying to reach out to moderate voters in other parties, Labour’s mayoral hopeful would inevitably lose the support of those members and activists who voted for Corbyn and expected the party to show loyalty to its new leader.
The resulting Twitter spats and party divisions would quickly dominate media coverage of the party and the spectacle of a candidate and leader disagreeing with each other on just about every policy would chase away voters who’ve shown time and again that they dislike split parties.
Corbyn is now potentially on the verge of winning – and denying his party the same success – because of the nominations of MPs who don’t support his worldview, won’t vote for him and wouldn’t serve in his shadow cabinet.
This includes would-be Mayors David Lammy and Sadiq Khan who’ve both said they endorsed Corbyn’s candidacy to ensure Labour had a “full” debate about its future with all spectrums of opinion included.
It’s not wholly outrageous to suggest that alongside this commitment to meaningful debate was a dose of old-fashioned gesture politics aimed at winning over left-leaning members of the Labour selectorate which neither naturally appeal to in order to boost their chances of securing the mayoral gig.
Whatever the motive, it increasingly looks like they’ve put their names to a piece of paper which could keep Labour out of power at City Hall and Westminster for decades to come.
Both will be hoping the polls are as spectacularly wrong as they were in May.