As you have heard if you follow these sorts of things, Jeremy Corbyn has been elected to lead the British Labour Party. It isn’t surprising, in that polls have indicated that this would happen for some time. But if you had asked anyone a year ago, they would have laughed at you. Corbyn didn’t even have enough support among Labour MPs to get on the ballot. He was only added at the last minute to provide a range of opinions in the election. This is because, just as in the US Democratic Party, the Labour Party leaders have moved very far to the right. So they were all surprised to find that the base of the Labour Party is the same as it has always been: liberal, even socialist.
But is this a good thing? The answer can be found in this headline from The Guardian, Osborne Says Electing Corbyn Will Set Labour Back a Generation. That would be George Osborne: First Secretary of State and UK Conservative Party power player. You always know that the left is doing the right thing when the conservatives start wringing their hands about the prospects of their opponents. He said that the Labour Party’s move to the right the last few decades has been good for them, and that if Labour had only elected Liz Kendall it would have caused the conservatives “the greatest problems.”
This is such nonsense. What Kendall offered was something we in the US know only too well from the Democrats. It’s the “not quite as bad” approach to campaigning. “We aren’t quite as bad as the conservatives — at least we care about the people!” At one time, I would have thought it sounded like a good political strategy, but it never works. People care about ideology, but they also care about passion. Most voters don’t know what to think — they are pulled in so many directions. So making a clear case for what you believe in can be useful.
Needless to say, George Osborne is not happy about Corbyn’s win. He is likely concerned — for his own party. They knew exactly how to fight against a Labour Party led by Liz Kendall. They really don’t know how to fight one led by Jeremy Corbyn. They haven’t had to do so in decades. That doesn’t mean that Corbyn is going to lead the Labour Party to victory in 2020. But it throws a wrench into the whole thing. The conservatives would have had almost nothing to lose if Liz Kendall led the Labour Party to victory. But if Corbyn does so, it will mean real change.
As a result, the Conservative Party may have to hold back some now. Maybe their continued policies of austerity — which work to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor — might not look so good when they are facing the possibility of a leftist revolution that will roll-back the current normal brought to the UK people by Margaret Thatcher. But Labour is going to have to be smart about this. And I fear that there are too many people in the Labour Party establishment who have a greater hatred of Corbyn than they do the Conservative Party. That is the real issue going forward: is the Labour Party going to find its roots? Is it going to be smart about this opportunity? Or is it going to crumble to pieces?