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Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory to become Labour leader has come as a shock to the Westminster bubble and the political Establishment.
Those who followed opinion polls and betting odds thought he might win but did not think it would be such an overwhelming victory.
I suspect – from a growing number of anecdotal chats – that his victory is partly due to an unique revolt that spanned two generations and came together in a perfect storm to overthrow the political Establishment.
My generation – who are around the same age as Jeremy Corbyn – suddenly decided they were fed up to the back teeth of the Labour Party apologizing for its existence and assuming post Blair there is only one way to run a society.
We feel uneasy at the rapidly widening gulf between the rich and the poor, do not like to see public services denigrated, do see the value of a trade union, and don’t like the nasty politics that treat refugees as opportunists trying to get a slice of the good life.
We also yearn for proper debates about major issues – like should we renew Trident and what is the future of the NHS and the welfare state, how serious is climate change etc. At the moment this is never discussed because of a sickening consensus that only way to solve anything is to get the rich to make even more money and bow to the international gods of global capitalism.
I know a number of people who looked at the Labour candidates and thought with the exception of Corbyn they sounded remarkably the same. So like the grandfathers and grandmothers we now are – the swinging sixties generation- decided they wanted a change.They voted for a new grandfather of the nation.
Young people who have talked to came to a remarkably similar conclusion. The politically aware tell me they found conventional party politics “ boring” with politicians too scared or too worried to say little more than political platitudes. They liked Corbyn because he said what he thought and cut through the crap. They wanted someone to lead rather than just follow.
They wanted someone who was going to challenge the status quo and was not part of the “posh boys” network. And further more they expect him – rather like the people who,like to like Nigel Farage,- to make mistakes.so may not be put off by a campaign denigrating him.Indeed such a campaign could be counter productive.
So far the reaction from the Tories has been hysterical with some like Michael Gove even claiming that Britain’s national security is now at risk with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm.
Really? I look forward to the first person to market a T shirt saying “I am a national security risk” and for David Cameron to order his or her arrest for wearing it.
I’ve been reading your book on Tony Blair during the past few weeks, and the contrast between Blair and Corbyn could not be more dramatic. Blair represents everything that Corbyn is not. Blair is egotistical, deluded, greedy and power hungry. Corbyn is just one of us, politically engaged, and not an ounce of ego to be seen.
David – exactly so. It is not just the young. An odd thing struck me about us and our generation: that many of the folk of our age who voted for Corbyn were, like me, old Kinnockites who disliked the Bennites in the Kinnock years. We now feel betrayed, because we paved the way for Blair. Francis.
Watched it. Brill. JC was asking the right questions. Did missed a trick on questions of high rents which PM did not answer but first timer, well. The move to humanise the worries of the majority by using emails from people will be a game changer. It puts the politicians where they should be – in the minds of the people and the electorate. IDS they were real people!
Above is about PMQ’s today
What strikes me, being also of similar age and rage to Corbyn, is how absolutely entwined the British political and media classes are and how threatened both are by even this initial tremor. The Blairite “revolution” had a major media component and constituency, it was as much about them as any changing societal demographic. The Guardian, the Hotel Abyss of continuity Blairism, rages against Corbyn because so many significant careers were built on what went before.
All that’s solid etc…
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I could create just such a t-shirt for my Zazzle store!
I’m pretty pleased with the way Corbyn is going so far. It’s also fun to see the right wasting all its ammunition in a fit of pique. Soon all this hysteria will burn itself out and the press, already struggling for credibility, will be the loser. Should something truly damaging come up, it’ll be difficult for them to convince people its not more silliness.
At the weekend we had the bizarre scene of an unhappy, recently resigned shadow minister saying we need a leader ‘who connects the party to mainstream opinion’. That’s the very opposite of leadership. It’s not how the Tories won and it’s certainly not how the SNP won. A leader understands mainstream opinion constantly changes and helps guide that change. Imagine that shadow minister confronted by a suffragette: ‘Sorry luv, I’d let you ladies have the vote, but mainstream opinion is that you’re just too daft.’
Back in 1997, New Labour sold the country a version of the American Dream. It was all aspiration and the promise that anything was possible. Steinbeck showed us that the American Dream killed socialism in the USA because the poor learnt to think of themselves as ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ and, accordingly, to vote in the interest of millionaires. Liz Kendall tried to revive this, telling us to ‘wrap our arms around business’ or, we could say, the businessperson you aspire to be.
Two decades on, we know this dream is a fraud. Young people no longer expect to own their own home and worry about affording a family. They’ve been forced to abandon aspiration and so Liz’s message no longer has traction. Corbyn offers down to earth credibility and making things right for today.
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