12 September 2015

Introducing Jeremy Corbyn - updated

Few American voters may yet have heard of Jeremy Corbyn, the previously obscure British parliamentarian who is poised to become leader of the official Labour opposition to David Cameron’s government. But if they have been following the US presidential race, they may already understand the general idea.

Slap a beard on leftwing Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and make him as casual as a Romantic poet and you have a good approximation of the elderly radical across the Atlantic who is shaking the fragile pillars of the British establishment and could (at least in theory) become Queen Elizabeth’s next prime minister of the not-so United Kingdom...

To the amazement of pundits and politicians alike, Corbyn’s campaign took off in July much as Sanders’s own has done for the Democratic nomination. Despite being unfashionable democratic socialists, both men tapped a deep well of resentment against the mainstream political elite by people who feel patronised, neglected and left behind
The article from The Guardian excerpted above goes on to mention populist uprisings in France and Greece. There is also an analysis of Corbyn's rise at Salon.
Britain’s Labour Party is going through its own Bernie Sanders moment – except that it’s more like a Bernie Sanders moment on steroids and set to warp drive...

A longtime member of Parliament from North London who appears not to own a tie, Corbyn has spent his entire political career as a rebellious Labour “backbencher” – that is, he has never been part of the party leadership, nor held a government post when Labour had a majority...

 Like Sanders, Corbyn has long advocated for a rejection of austerity politics and a return to seemingly outmoded policies of ambitious social spending, government activism and higher taxes on big business and the rich. He has proposed universal childcare and free higher education for all, wants to renationalize Britain’s railroads and utilities, and believes the country should withdraw from NATO, scrap its nuclear missiles and invest most of its military budget in job programs...

If no one finds Corbyn’s politics so amusing anymore, there is an element of comedy in the Armageddon that Labour’s centrist establishment may have called down upon itself. In the interest of greater transparency and democracy, the party opened this year’s leadership election to anyone who registered online as a party supporter and pay a minimal fee – and the apparent result is a whole lot more democracy than they wanted. Ballots started going out this weekend to 610,000 or so Labour members and supporters – more than half of whom signed up during the current campaign and are highly likely to be Corbyn voters. Labour’s leadership underestimated the public appetite for candidates and ideas that lie outside the safe zone of neoliberal consensus politics, and is now likely to reap the whirlwind. It’s a lesson that will not be lost on political leadership castes around the world.
And  here's a related op-ed piece in The Spectator.

I would welcome informed opinion from some of the many TYWKIWDBI readers in the UK and EU.

Updated September 11:  Corbyn elected in victory of landslide proportions -

More details at The Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent, the BBC, The Observer, The Times, and other British and European publications.  It might even be mentioned briefly in some American ones.

Addendum:  The Guardian has a succinct summary of Corbyn's beliefs and policy proposals:
On the economy 

Corbyn is opposed to austerity and plans to bring down the deficit by growing the economy and taxing the wealthy instead.

He intends to introduce a “people’s quantitative easing”, which would allow the Bank of England to print money to invest in large-scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects, partly through a national investment bank.

 Corbyn says he will fund this by reducing the “tax gap” and ending corporate tax reliefs.

On tax 

Corbyn says there is £20bn in tax debt uncollected by HMRC every year and another £20bn in tax avoidance and a further £80bn in tax evasion that needs to be addressed.

On education

Corbyn has proposed a National Education Service, which he says would be “every bit as vital and as free at the point of use as our NHS”. The service would begin with universal childcare, give more power to local authorities, rethink the role of free schools and academies, introduce a minimum wage for apprentices and put more money into adult learning...
Continued at length at the link.


  1. We've had our differences in the past, but I'll miss Britain when she's gone.

    1. I understand your concern, John. If this trend persists, they would be led downhill on a path toward... Scandinavia. Horrors.

    2. Thing about this Britain, it actually an Island Called Great Britain. The Country is the UK with a population of 64,511,000 of which 53,012,456 or 82% is England. It would be like the US loosing South Carolina and all states with a lower population. Hardly anyone would notice. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/states/population.shtml

  2. "... casual as a Romantic poet..."

    Really? I believe most of the romantic poets were known for sartorial attire


  3. If Bernie is a socialist, why isn't he calling for the complete nationalization of the medical and education industries?

  4. First, a humourous analsysis of the situation:


    It’s easy to see why those in charge of the Labour Party are so depressed. They must sit in their office crying: “Hundreds of thousands of people want to join us. It’s a disaster. And loads of them are young, and full of energy, and they’re really enthusiastic. Oh my God, why has it all gone so miserably wrong?”

    Every organisation would be the same. If a local brass band is down to its last five members, unsure whether it can ever put on another performance, the last thing it needs is young excited people arriving with trombones to boost numbers and raise money and attract large audiences. The sensible response is to tell them they’re idiots, and announce to the press that they are infiltrators from the Workers’ Revolutionary Party.

    The fervour around Jeremy Corbyn is extraordinary, but it wouldn’t be fair to suggest he’s the only Labour politician who can bring large crowds on to the streets to greet him. Tony Blair is just as capable. In his case the crowds are there to scream that he should be arrested for war crimes and to throw things at him, but that’s being pernickety; he can certainly draw an audience.

    Worth reading in full.

    More seriously, the Labour party has completely lost it's soul. It lost the last election at least in part because they were offering themselves as less worse versions of the conservatives, rather than an actual left-wing party.

    The same thing happened that is happening in US politics; people prefer to vote for parties that really believe in what they are saying, even if their policies might not be fully aligned with the voters interest.

    1. Thanks for that Danack - great article. Entertaining, yet hit the nail right on the head!

  5. The biggest blunder the Labour party made was to encourage anyone to register and pay to vote for the new leader. This has caused much hilarity in the UK Conservative Party as many of their voters have registered, paid the fee and will be able to vote for someone who will, most likely, shoot Labour into the political wilderness for years.

  6. Yeah, a Corbyn-led Labour won't be winning any elections. OTOH, given the fecklessness of the Labour party recently, even becoming a genuine opposition party would be an improvement.

  7. The Labour party has been something of a joke, dominated by rich, privately educated individuals, Tony Blair set the pattern for an elitist, champagne drinking, celebrity obsessed party. The recent general election gave it a bloody nose, it seems to have no coherent leadership, and is as much in the pockets of big business as the ruling Conservative party. The Liberal Democrats, after being part of a sycophantic coalition, in which they had no power, are once again in the wilderness, where their most exciting activities include pinning up anti nuclear posters in the library. I'm no supporter of the Conservatives either, but they'll go on in charge of government ifLabour can't fing a strong leadership team and stop squabbling among themselves.

  8. I think George Monbiot puts it well: http://www.monbiot.com/2015/08/18/curator-of-the-future/

  9. A British Bernie Sanders sounds like my kind of man. This Georgia girl is a rare in my state. But a gal can dream.

  10. I'm a 24 y/o member of the Labour Party, and I voted for Corbyn as I feel that his values are the closest to my own personal values and to what I think that the Labour Party should stand for. I am bored of being patronised by some of those high up in the Labour party and the other candidates who are saying that I and those like me are delusional for voting for him. The George Monibot piece above puts it well.

  11. I will welcome the opportunity to vote for the traditional values of the Labour Party, which have been missing in this nation since we all voted for Tony B. Liar and his very good friend George Dubya.

    I concur, for the most part, with my very good friend Jake, whose opinions can be seen on my blog: http://pompeylitterpicker.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/jeremy-corbyn-wins-labour-leadership.html

    I would take issue, however, with the idea that Corbyn is unelectable. I think he might have just proved that he is not.

    I hope that he is able to maintain his integrity. Acton applies.

    1. "Acton applies."

      ??can you clarify

    2. Lord Acton was a British historian who said, famously: “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    3. What Chris said. :)

      "[Acton] is perhaps best known for the remark, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." His key idea has been tested in laboratory settings under strongly incentivized conditions and with real manipulations of power and confirms what he has suggested: that power corrupts."


      Is "incentivized" really a word?

      There used to be a page on Uncyclopedia called "Absolute Power," the body of which displayed only the word 'ABSOLUTELY,' but so absolutely corrupted as to be almost, but not quite, unreadable.

      It is, sadly, no longer there.

  12. Looking (in) at the other three candidates, and at David Cameron and his cabinet on the benches opposite them, I was put in mind of the closing sentence of Orwell's Animal Farm, "…No question now what has happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which."

  13. "It might even be mentioned briefly in some American ones"
    I do enjoy your sarcasm, if that is what it is.

  14. I recall the French trying to raise revenues by taxing the wealthy:



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