IF we were electing a president next month, US-style, I’d make my vote without a second thought. Jeremy Corbyn is the only Westminster party leader who remotely represents progress, and if I could elect him personally I’d be dancing all the way to the polling station. But, sadly, it’s not that simple. Corbyn is now more than an individual, more even than a movement; he’s also leading a party that’s institutionally wired to the worst elements of the British state and a set of candidates who, on the whole, are determined to tear down his leadership and his mandate.

Let’s zoom in to the dilemmas of our constituencies in Scotland. Like many people who support independence, I’m not a Scottish nationalist. I believe progress happens at an international level, and electing Corbyn as Prime Minister would be a significant blow against European neoliberalism, British militarism and the current wave of global reaction represented by Trump. These are the real enemies, after all. Any Scottish socialist who denies this is forgetting themselves.

But technically I’m not electing a Prime Minister, in the way one would elect a president. And, likely, I would end up using my constituency vote for a narrow-minded careerist who will use every opportunity to plot against Corbyn regardless of the country’s or the Labour Party’s democratic wishes. Likely, I’d be electing another Ian Murray, and, if you’ll forgive the expression, with MPs like these, who needs enemies?

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Liberals and New Labour types claim Corbyn lacks competence, and much has been done to portray him as a Pied Piper leading the left to disaster.

But here’s the truth. Corbyn is scheduled to match the share of the popular vote gained by the centrist Ed Miliband. He’s basically, in presidential terms, our own Bernie Sanders. He’s achieving this while the entire liberal establishment across the United Kingdom, in open public view, has been ganging up to undermine and destabilise him. No other Labour leader could win a General Election against these odds. Indeed, I doubt Miliband, Owen Smith or Andy Burnham would be doing much better now even if the party was united behind them.

Of course, Ukip voters are flocking back to the Tories. This spells trouble for Corbyn, as it would for any other Labour leader. Arguably, Corbyn should have done more to tempt these kippers to vote Labour, but what can he offer? Decades of playing the anti-immigrant card never worked, it just emboldened the right and narrowed the left. What else? Join up with the liberals and call for a second EU referendum?

Of course, he could ignore the kippers and concentrate on the “48 per cent”. But despite the best efforts of The Guardian and The Independent, Tim Farron has failed to become a thing. He’s not Obama. He’s not Macron. He’s not even Nick Clegg. Now, Farron has his problems, but I don’t think his homophobia is what’s losing him votes; the uncomfortable fact is that deep down nobody in England wants his main offer of a second EU referendum.

Electorally, Corbyn is right to ignore the bubble-land fantasy of restoring the European Union by parliamentary force. While England’s bien pensant pundits have been schlepping this hopeless fiction around, the Tory right-wing have freely pursued a mandate for remaking Britain in their own image. True, Corbyn could do more to hold them to account. But his main barrier is the echo chamber of diehard 48-ers, still in their mourning gear, clinging to the image of Tim Farron or Keir Starmer storming to power a la Macron with Tony Blair riding shotgun. Now that’s out of touch.

Intellectually, there are real problems with Corbyn. Some problems reflect his own politics. His Old Labourism means he’s afraid to touch the undemocratic, archaic institutions of the British Parliament. Eventually that will be his undoing. Without electoral reform he’ll never have the mandate to run Britain, and a Tory future is guaranteed. This is a huge part of the problem: the electoral system is broken and represents democracy is in crisis.

I understand that such proposals don’t fit the public mood right now, but there needs to be some longer-term ambition for democracy or they are doomed to crash and burn. That’s true of any centre-left force that wants to govern the United Kingdom. The alternative would be a disastrous return to the old Blairite model, reaching out to “swing-voting” authoritarians with racist rhetoric, and that tactic is a proximate cause of the current mess in British politics.

Some problems aren’t anything to do with Corbyn, but instead represent British institutions he can’t shift despite his best efforts. Take Trident. Nobody can question his commitment to the issue. But the media establishment, and the Labour establishment, are committed British nationalists who want a Security Council seat on the cheap.

Corbyn is unlikely to win this election. That’s a real shame. It’s worth imagining what could happen if Labour MPs and the newspapers and institutions that usually support Labour were bothering to do their jobs properly. If these people had a little discipline or respect for internal democracy, maybe it could be different. But we are where we are. Complaining about it is as futile as complaining about the weather, and Corbyn knew it wouldn’t be sunshine and rainbows when he took over. Reform is tough, maybe even impossible.

I hope he does well, and he’s got my spiritual vote, or my metaphorical vote, or whatever you want to call it. The LibDems and the diehard ’48-ers are a hopeless cause, and they should be cut adrift. New Labour was out of ideas ten years ago. England’s liberal left need to stop dreaming about restoring Tony Blair and the EU and get on with making the best of what they have. There’s an election on: stop whining and give your elected leader some backing. Otherwise England will be Theresa May from top to bottom.