Labour Party

The Corbyn Conundrum

This is a cross-post by James Snell

Suddenly, the Labour leadership election is wide open. What had been expected to be a bland and uneventful contest has become a serious spectacle, prompting furious comment, hysterical front pages, and – perhaps surprisingly – genuine political introspection. The man who has caused this unexpected course of events is Jeremy Corbyn, a longstanding and formerly little-known Labour MP who has represented Islington North since 1983. His newfound success is remarkable; some polls suggest that he will win the election on first preference votes alone. The reaction to this – from both the Left and the Right of the Labour Party – has been tremendous. Some Labour MPs, for example John Mann, have even called for the hustings to be suspended due to an apparent threat that communists would join the party and vote for Corbyn en masse, thereby tipping the balance in his favour.

Many within Labour, especially those on the Right, believe that Corbyn will catapult the party further to the Left and into the wilderness; his supporters, on the other hand, see Corbyn’s relative radicalism as the key to winning the next general election and, more broadly than that, engendering the sort of social and political change many more centrist Labour figures would not countenance.

Corbyn is certainly capable of a polished performance on his day, and his denunciations of the excesses of modern capitalism exhibit attractive features for many both within and without the Labour party; the scars of the late recession – popularly perceived to have been caused primarily by the excesses of capital and those who held and hold it in overabundance – are present still in our politics and our lives.

Do read the rest of James’s post here.