These two factors have thrust Corbyn into what might now be described as a contest. He is still not expected to win, but he now has a glimmer of hope.
Corbyn will tell a Scottish audience tonight that the SNP cannot beat the Tories, and that Labour will stand firm in the face of calls for independence. Eliminating child poverty, tackling injustice, setting a £10 minimum wage, and investing in our security services will also be outlined. His difficulty is that at this stage his powers of persuasion are more important than his policies, and this is not an area where he excels.
It is hard to imagine a barnstorming Corbyn performance on our television screens becoming the defining moment of this week, or of this election campaign.
However, this does not mean that he is beaten. Corbyn has nothing to lose, while May has everything to throw away. The Prime Minister’s only deviation from the script ended very badly, and we can expect her next ten days to be managed even more tightly than before. But there remains the possibility that she will run into trouble again, and after a second wobble, all bets would be off. Corbyn may not be capable of grasping victory himself, but another serious setback for the Tories could propel him into power by default – or by coalition.
This is a critical week for both Corbyn and May. By the end of it, we should know the lie of the land for polling day.