I have no intention of voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election. Firstly because I am certain that Corbyn could never be prime minister. I have grave doubts that the public share Corbyn's politics and only a fool would claim that the left must never compromise with the electorate if compromise is what it takes to win power.

There is also the fact that a mythical 'Tory-lite' Labour government – the pejorative term favoured on the far-left to denounce Corbyn's opponents – would be far more preferable to the current Conservative administration.

If the best result the left can hope for in my lifetime is the triangulation of the New Labour years, then anyone with an interest in looking after the poor should embrace this trajectory wholeheartedly. Only those with a thick layer of affluence walling them off from reality can say with a straight face that there was 'no difference' between the governments of New Labour and its Tory predecessors. The so-called lesser evil does sometimes mean less evil.

Thus voting for Corbyn in the knowledge that he could never win an election would represent a piece of foolish indulgence. Corbynism is idealism on the back of the last impoverished tax credit recipient; the conceit that ideological purity is of greater importance than the boring incremental change that makes life a little better.

And one final point: no socialist should ever address the Jew-hating Islamist far-right of Hamas and Hezbollah as 'friends'. Many of Corbyn's ideas on foreign policy sit comfortably within the long tradition of left-wing apologism for tyranny.

In recent years I have listened to Corbyn on platforms supporting – or at least making excuses for – repressive governments in Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran. Odd behaviour for a man who claims to be "Prioritising the needs of the poor and protecting human rights" – in all three countries the poor are denied even basic human rights by their leaders.

Yet for all the apparent madness of Corbynite politics, it does seem important to ask why the Corbyn campaign has managed to enthuse so many Labour activists.

For a centre-left that is currently bereft of ideas, the easy option would be to attack Corbynites as 'naïve' activists who foolishly believe that the world can consciously be made a better place. Yet the thing with Jeremy Corbyn – besides the appalling stuff I have already mentioned – is that a good proportion of his critique of Britain in 2015 is frighteningly accurate.

Take inequality, Corbyn's favourite subject. Despite the topic going out of fashion with Ed Miliband, it really is a disgrace that in the fifth largest economy in the world a million people struggled to feed themselves last year.

One need not be planning a Trotskyist takeover of the local branch of the Labour party to recognise the fact, either; the right-wing Economist magazine recently asked, against a backdrop of burgeoning inequality, why the downtrodden were not "storming the barricades". Why indeed.

Mr Corbyn is worried about frightening levels of inequality in Britain for a very good reason: anyone who cares about things like social mobility should be worried about it.

There is also affordable housing – or the increasing lack of it. Mr Corbyn appears to be the only candidate in the Labour leadership race who is unafraid to say clearly that Britain needs a massive housebuilding programme. Social housing waiting lists are growing and the average London family now spends up to 59 per cent of their income on rent.

While politicians of the 'centre-ground' pander to those who have benefited from recent asset booms, young people increasingly recognise that they will never own their own home – regardless of how much they strive. Building more homes offers a straightforward way to tackle these problems and thus far only Mr Corbyn is making the case with anything resembling passion.

And finally we have asylum seekers, probably the most pressing humanitarian crisis facing Europe right now. Up to 2,000 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean this year alone. A recent sinking which claimed the lives of almost 700 people is thought to be the largest loss of life during a migrant crossing in Europe.

What makes human catastrophes like this feel worse is the knowledge that European governments, including our own, are to some extent acquiescing in the tragedy. At the end of last year Europe stopped its search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean amid complaints from some EU member states that they were unaffordable.

Meanwhile the British Foreign Office has disingenuously argued that the prospect of being rescued from the sea was acting as "an unintended 'pull factor".

Along with other European countries, Britain could do much more to save lives by accepting a larger number of refugees from war zones such as Libya and Syria. Since the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011, the UK has so far accepted a mere 143 Syrian refugees – this when some 11.5 million Syrians have been displaced.

Of Labour's prospective leaders, only Jeremy Corbyn seems willing to talk about Britain's duty to asylum seekers from places like Syria and Libya. Andy Burnham, the other supposed candidate of the left, would not even answer a question I put to him on migration last week, so busy was he trying to prove his 'ordinary bloke' credentials by discussing what he likes to put on his chips.

And this perhaps gives some indication as to why so many Labour activists are attracted by the Corbyn campaign – refreshingly for a modern politician, Mr Corbyn still talks about ideas and principles rather than tactics and what the latest focus group has been saying.

Of course, many of Mr Corbyn's prescriptions are delusional – nationalising everything is not the solution it once was, and bringing an end to war is a little harder than simply declaring oneself a pacifist – but the MP for Islington North is someone with definite opinions as opposed to positions manufactured in the moment to please a particular audience.

In an age of mediocre and prevaricating politicians, someone with actual ideas – however wrong – stands out to the average political activist like a neon flashing light.

James Bloodworth is editor of Left Foot Forward. You can follow James @J_Bloodworth and his blog @LeftFootFwd.