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A politician who won’t sell out just to win power. Hypnotic concept. AND I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENS NOW!

September 13, 2015


I don’t know what happens now. 

I have absolutely no idea what happens now.

I could not have predicted this back in May.  Not that I’m much good at predicting anything.  I mean, I’m the man who thought Carter USM would become the biggest band in the world back in the 1990s.

But nobody else predicted this either – which isn’t a comfort especially.

In terms of how I feel about Corbyn and his election – I think Dan Rebellato has nailed it.  I agree with just about every syllable of his remarkably prompt response and people should just read it.

Here it is.

The thing that has entranced people about Jeremy Corbyn is that he’s never looked like he needs political office, personally.  Power for its own sake has absolutely no appeal for him.  He’s spent 30 years (and more) demonstrating this.  And the rather delicious paradox that it’s precisely BECAUSE being a “leader” doesn’t intoxicate him that he’s just become one.

Now of course, the “anti-politician” is a phenomenon of our jaded and desperate age.  Regardless of who or what Corbyn is – is it possible that Corbynmania is just a variety of “Madashellanimnotgonnatakeitanymoreism” that represents a nebulous sense of frustration that sometimes goes left and sometimes goes right, which has no interest in policy details at all and just wants to cheer anyone or anything that promises to “stir things up a bit”.

To some extent yes – insofar as the response “he’s not like the others” is often given as a mark of approval.  The difference, however, is that Corbyn appears to offer the opportunity to make himself obsolete.  He seems to want to dissolve into the things he believes in.  If someone younger and more presentable offering enough of the policies he believes in, or even 51% of the things he believes in, had been standing for the Labour leadership, then Corbyn would not have stood.  If someone emerges in the next five years who fits the description above – Corbyn will certainly resign.  Finding and promoting a team of convincing women and men who can attack and present an alternative to Tory austeriarchy is his chief and defining responsibility.

Corbyn, the fringe candidate, hiding in plain sight, has been compared to a variety of disastrous politicians.  But if he’s a disaster, I think he’s a disaster sui generis – a new and original kind of disaster.  Here are just a few of the people who he’s not – and who he can’t be compared with.

He’s not Nigel Farage

Part of Farage’s “appeal” (so I’m lead to understand – I am personally immune to it) is the idea that he doesn’t seem to be a politician.  But Corbyn has been in parliament since 1983.  He is in fact the most experienced parliamentarian among Britain’s party leaders.  Farage, for all his studied “political incorrectness” (one of the most abused and stupid terms ever invented) is not and never has been “anti-establishment” – Farage is the the avant garde of the Establishment – the Establishment on steroids.

He’s not Michael Foot.

The comparison with MIchael Foot in the early 1980s doesn’t work – nor does the “inevitability” of a 1983 consequent electoral disaster.  Michael Foot was not a fringe backbench MP.  Foot was a former minister and a powerful member of the shadow cabinet.  Nor was Foot elected on a wave of unprecedented popularity with thousands rejoining the Labour Party just to see him as leader.

He’s not George Galloway.

He’s not a demagogue.  He’s not especially fond of the sound of his own voice.  You will not see him on Celebrity Big Brother pretending to be a cat.

He’s not IDS.

See Michael Foot.  Jeremy Corbyn might prove to be a “disastrous” choice – but not in the same way that IDS was a disastrous choice for the Tories.  IDS took the Tories to the right – but that involved just nudging the accelerator slightly.  And IDS is, after all, a very happy man right now – concentrating exclusively on the business of kicking poor people in the head – which was the only aspect of politics that he ever really cared about anyway.

People may take the view that a selfless and sincere ideologue is far more dangerous than an egotistical maverick, that Corbyn’s modesty and rectitude represent something rather more chilling than any known Machiavellian moment.

One decisive thing that has happened though, is that “Austerity” (or Austeriarchy – preferred term), the means by which the greed and stupidity of the wealthy is flattered and protected at the expense of the least well off – no longer enjoys cross party consensus.  Debate will no longer focus on slight degrees of acceleration and deceleration of the rate of kicking poor people on the head.

Is Corbyn “extreme”?   I know the present UK government is extreme, and I know they will be called out for the extremity of their cruelty.  Regressive taxation, and other transfers of wealth have created in the UK, not just the most unequal country in the developed world, but also the most socially immobile.  The UK has become a “born poor die poor” country – so as to reinforce a “born smug die smug” hereditary oligarchy. Cameron talks about “aspiration” – but he’s done everything he can to crush it.  Because what both logic and evidence tells us is that nations with humane welfare regimes release the bulk of the population from the pressure of day to day survival and create more dynamic, imaginative and inclusive societies.

And whatever else happens in the UK in the next five years, we will be talking more about this.


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