Corbyn: The Day After

Readers: I’m sorry that a version of this post appeared prematurely. My router problems have intensified.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

British politics is to American politics as cricket is to baseball. At least to me, since I know a little about the former, and almost nothing about the latter! But that won’t stop me from projecting my American rooting interests onto the British game, since who, after alll, does not rejoice in the humiliation of Tony Blair? However, since I have little deep analytically to add, I’m going to do a big round-up, and hopefully readers who know more will speak up in commments.

From the 30,000-foot level, however, where baseball and cricket are both games played (properly) on grass with people pitching, batting, catching, running about, and scoring, I think Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is spot on. Sanders:

“I am delighted to see that the British Labour Party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. We need leadership in every country in the world which tells the billionaire class that they cannot have it all.”

Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner. And from the other side of the pond, and a lot of other sides, too, squillionaire servant Marc Andreesson gets the same message Sanders does:

With prize for best smiley-not-smiley ever. So that’s the story. Now to the detail.

Corbyn’s Victory Speech

Here’s a video of Corbyn’s victory speech:

And here’s the transcript. I made a word cloud from the text:


The word cloud shows what a reading of the transcript will confirm: Lots of “thank you,” lots of “party,” lots of what “Labour” “people” “want.” As a speaker, Corbyn does not enthrall, and this is not a policy stemwinder. But I like the conclusion:

It doesn’t have to be unfair, poverty isn’t inevitable, things can, and they will, change.

For 60% of Labour voters, this message struck the right note:

With 554,272 eligible voters and 422,664 votes cast, Corbyn won 251,417, or 59.5%. He received the votes of 121,751 members, 88,449 registered supporters and 41,217 affiliated supporters. Nearly 87% of the new £3 registered supporters voted for Corbyn and just under 50% of all party members.

And now there are more Labour voters than ever:

More than 15,000 people have joined Labour in the 24 hours since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, the party said.

So much for Blairism and the Blairites. At least for now.

The Press Goes Bonkers

To me the single most amazing feature of the Corbyn victory — other than the victory itself — was watching the press, on both sides of the pond, go utterly bonkers. Or rather, rip off the mask. Let’s not forget that they are always this bonkers, at least when united by the fear of a common enemy. Here’s a compendium of totally over-the-top headlines with some commentary on each:

Labour’s disastrous choice Financial Times. Translated to American: The Democrats’ disastrous choice Investor’s Daily. Thanks for the disinterested, well-meant, humble advice!

Divisive Far-Leftist Corbyn Elected Leader of Britain’s Labour Party in Landslide Slate. Wait, I thought being “divisive” was the whole point of having political parties in a “first past the post” system?

Divisive far-left lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn wins U.K.’s Labor Party election Los Angeles Times. Continuing the “divisive” theme. (Interestingly, some saner Times editor has now changed the headline to “Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn Swept in as Britain’s Labor Party Leader,” although the URL remains “la-fg-divisive-far-left-lawmaker-wins-uk-s-labour-leadership-race-20150912-story.html.”)

Britain’s newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn divides partyroom, nation’s press ABC Australia. Murdoch amplifies “divisive.”

Marx admirer Corbyn elected UK opposition Labour leader Reuters. Translated to American, except not: Hayek admirer elected US opposition Republican leader UPI).

Great Britain’s New Labour Party Leader Loves Karl Marx, Likes Hamas, and Hates Austerity The Atlantic. Who doesn’t love them some austerity? For the Hamas theme, see below.

Labour Elects Far-Left Leader in British Politics Shake-Up NYT. Not “far” with respect to 60% of Labour voters, apparently.

Jez We Can: Far-left lawmaker Corbyn earns landslide victory in UK’s Labour leadership race, calls for ‘better society’ in UK South China Morning Post. Continuing “far left.” And a “better society.” The nerve!

Corbyn’s victory reveals Labour’s revulsion with real voters Telegraph. Apparently, Corbyn’s landslide was achieved with unreal voters. Odd.

Jeremy Corbyn Is Labour’s ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ Time (!).

The Labour Party’s Two Word Suicide Note Daily Beast (I!).

Anti-monarchy, anti-austerity and a defender of Putin, ISIS and Palestinian terrorists: The extraordinary socialist views of Britain’s VERY radical new Labour Party leader Daily Mail. Reread the headlines that precede this one. Does the “respectable” press in seem all that different from the Daily Mail?

Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour Party’s radical new leader, explained Vox. And the subhead:

Why are people so freaked out about Corbyn?

People? Which “people” are you talking about, Vox? And the explainer begins:

Saturday morning, some stunning news was announced: Jeremy Corbyn, a British MP from Islington North, won the election to be the next leader of the UK Labour Party.

This is an absolutely [sic] shock, even though recent polls had shown a Corbyn victory was likely: just a few months ago, oddsmakers gave Corbyn a 100:1 shot at winning control of Britain’s left-wing opposition party.

So “stunning,” apparently — despite the polls and a mountain of pre-election coverage that Corbyn had a comfortable lead — that Vox had to rush out its hot take without proper copy editing (“an absolutely shock”).

Israel critic Corbyn wins UK Labor party race Jerusalem Post. It’s worth expanding on this topic a little, given that “Hamas ZOMG!!!!” and “ISIS ZOMG!!!!!!!” will ooze across the Pond from Fleet Street up the Potomac and the Hudson soon enough: Our famously free press isn’t giving Corbyn the same license to do a grip-and-grin with this or that foreign dignitary or potentate that all other political figures get, as The Intercept points out, drawing this contrast:

In any rational world, it would be far more scandalous for any politician to cross paths with George W. Bush than the mostly powerless figures with whom Corbyn’s shared a stage. Bush, after all, committed the “supreme international crime” of “initiating a war of aggression” and instituted a worldwide torture regime.

Yet Tony Blair traveled to Dallas in 2013 to celebrate the opening of the George W. Bush Library with Bush’s fellow war criminals. And here’s Bill Clinton in 2014 yukking it up with Bush – who’s now so close to Clinton that Bush calls him his “brother from another mother.”

And since AIPAC doubtless needs a new round of funding after its humiliation over the Iran treaty — but don’t they always? — expect the “Corbyn is an anti-semite” smear to be deployed quite soon.

The Corbyn Victory and the Overton Window

We might look at the universal press reaction to Corbyn’s victory as a struggle for control over the Overton Window; that is, over the bounds of permissible, “main stream,” “serious” discourse and hence, who defines the bounds of political possibility. As readers surely know, the Overton Window has been dragged steadily right since the neo-liberal dispensation began in the mid-70s, and some are now trying to drag it to the left (among them, Sanders).

For example, Corbyn wants to renationalize the railways; this is is portrayed as crazy pants stuff. In fact, as any British railway buff will tell you, there’s been very substantial State involvement in the British rail system for more than a century, until the system was gutted by Dr. Beeching in the early 60s and then privatized thanks to Thatcherism. Not only that, the privatized system is expensive and sucky (though granted, an American accustomed to taking the Acela would see it as an improvement). All of which would explain why a majority of voters want what Corbyn wants:

The latest two YouGov Surveys indicate majority support for taking rail back into public ownership. Opposition to the idea has fallen from March to August.

The overwhelming reason for this is a belief that rail fares would go down as a result. For example a YouGov Survey of 2014 found the top three reasons for re-nationalising the railways were that:

  • Railways would be accountable to the taxpayer rather than shareholders;
  • Rail fares would go down;
  • It would be more cost effective overall.

So, renationalizing the railways isn’t a “radical idea” (FT, “Renationalising Britain’s railways would be folly”). It just isn’t. It’s a “serious” political possibility with a long history and supported by the majority of voters, even not by thought leaders at the FT[snarl] “Peasants!.

And if the Overton Window is defined by voters, then clearly Corbyn is smack dab in the middle of the “main stream,” not only on rail but generally: He got a landslide 60% of the voter in a leadership contest for the main opposition party! However, if the Overton Window is defined by the press, the results are as you see: The press (to shift metaphors from baseball to football) has “thrown a flag”[1] and ruled Corbyn, his voters, and his policy proposal “out of bounds.”

Partly this is because today’s journalists — with honorable exceptions — view themselves as professionals, not working stiffs, and so they, courtier-like, will tend to suck up and kick down, Corbyn voters being very much down. Partly, however, any working journalist has a portfolio of narratives and received ideas to deploy, and it’s always easier to rework on existing narrative than it is to create a new one. (They’ve got deadlines!) And when the Overton Window moves, and especially when it moves left, portfolios must change — or new journalists must be brought on. So careers– and, to be fair, hostages to fortune — are at stake. Hence the panic. What if my slot on [insert cable show here] disappears?

Whinging Blairites Flounce Off

Good riddance, say I. The Guardian:

Yvette Cooper led the group of shadow cabinet members declaring they could not serve under [Corbyn’]s leadership [within two hours] after it emerged that the MP for Islington North had won 60% of the vote in the first round, winning in every part of the electoral college including among party members.

Fortunately, nobody is irreplaceable, at least according to Corbyn’s deputy leader:

“What I do know from my own experience is that there’s always someone else who can do a frontbench job.There’s plenty of ambitious and talented people in the parliamentary Labour party.”

The Torygraph Telegraph, in its post-election live blog, has a handy chart (“Who could be in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet?”) of who has “refused to serve,” and who is “tipped to remain.”

All this said, and delicious schadenfreude at Blairite discomfort aside, we may be looking at Corbyn’s first real test at exercising power after taking it; being able to fill a cabinet is surely an excellent initial test of organizational capability[2]. (Expect the press to go bonkers no matter who is chosen, of course.) And I hope Corbyn has his own Karl Rove (or, to put this another way, the kind of leadership team McGovern never had). He’ll need not only to watch his back, but have people who can wield the knife themselves.

Curiosities of Party Mechanics

There are at least two curious institutional facts about Corbyn’s victory. To begin, the Labour Party, as its name suggests, has always had an intensely symbiotic relationship with the British labor unions. And yet look at how party composition changed:

Only 71,000 affiliated union supporters voted in the leadership contest, the lowest number in the party’s history and a decline that will be exploited by the government as it seeks to sever the party’s financial links with the union movement with its forthcoming trade union bill.

Further, Corbyn’s victory was enabled by Labour apparatchiks, and in two ways: First, a reform made it easy for anyone to join the party, people could pay £3 and vote in the leadership contest. Despite press panic about Tory and left-wing infiltration, and a smallish voter list purge, many thousands of new voters did pay up and did vote. Second,Labour leadership contests require a candidate to collect 35 votes from Labour MPs to get on the ballot; half of Corbyn’s 36 votes came from MPs who didn’t support his policies, but “wanted a more lively ‘conversation’ in the party.” It looks like these MPs got more than they bargained for, and Corbyn’s first test was that he saw power lying in the street and picked it up.

However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that on the fringes of the Twitter, there’s a theory that Corbyn is a sheepdog, and that the fact that the Labour Party apparatus — as distinct from the Blairite frontbenchers –make his victory possible is adduced in support of it. To me, this seems like a theory that can’t be disproved, and hence is not a theory. Parties must display adaptabity to survive — as America’s Whigs did not, before the Civil War, and whose Democrats did, in the Great Depression, and whose Republicans did, under Nixon — and perhaps that is what Labour has done, with Corbyn.

Corbyn Biography

Here is Corbyn’s biography at the BBC; and at the Torygraph. (Unmentioned: Corbyn is a huge Arsenal fan.)

For those looking to do a spot of oppo, or make calls on what the press will panic about next, our own Richard Smith has provided Google links on homeopathy, antisemitism (see above), Putin, and econmics.


It will be interesting to see if Corbyn’s leadership victory in the UK presages a Sanders victory in our own 2016 Presidential primary. Despite projecting American politics onto British politics throughout this piece, I have no idea! Working in favor of this view: Political structures where tiny oligarchies rule, and voters matter only when they want what oligarchs want, seems almost universal world-wide. So, if you want a majority of the votes, run against the oligarchy, and if you want to split or tame the oligarchy, make that majority a super-majority, with cadres ready to do more than vote. Sanders seems to take this view, as does Corbyn. How that will play out globally, nation by nation, state by state, and precinct by precinct, I have no idea, and a Trump can tap into class resentment just as well as a Sanders.[3] We live in interesting times.


[1] In fact, they’ve done more than “thrown a flag.” They’ve shaken their tiny fists, stamped their feet, and thrown themselves on the ground, screaming.

[2] The charismatic, mediagenic, opportunistic, and duplicitous Yanis Varoufakis may join Corbyn in a rally tomorrow. Some staffer should warn Corbyn about that dude.

[3] Note that Syriza, despite some posturing, never framed its battle in class terms, as Sanders did.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. m-ga

    For those who aren’t aware, a central plank of Corbyn’s campaign is economic. He wants to set up a an investment bank, funded by quantitative easing. This policy is being referred to as “people’s quantitative easing”.

    It’s been developed in part by a UK accountant called Richard Murphy, whose weblog you can read here:

    As far as I can tell, this would be have a very similar effect to Keynesian stimulus.

    The way it’s being sold is that QE was used to bail out the British banks following 2008. Of course, the 2008 QE was OK with the Conservatives, and with old New Labour. So, why not use the same mechanism again, but instead of giving the cash to the banks, use it to set up an Investment Bank which will fund infrastructure.

    1. Nell

      Some analyses associated with Corbyn’s proposals

      In contrast – worries ahead regarding the UK’s economy under Tory leadership from an association representing chartered accountants. The drop in business investment is no joke.

  2. windsock

    Yesterday’s men are all over the Sunday papers, as are Blairites, saying how bloody awful the whole thing is. Seems like they’re telling the membership “You lot are really STUPID.”. Apparently only they know how to win (except three of them didn’t win this, did they?). Democracy is great and weakening ties with the unions is perfect until it doesn’t work for you, eh Blunkett, Hattersley and all the other old farts adding to the global CO2 levels?

    Schadenfreude is such fun!

    1. windsock

      I forgot to add the pearl clutching Prime Minister’s view of the situation on twitter:

      David Cameron ‏@David_Cameron 8h8 hours ago
      The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.

        1. gonzomarx

          I agree and other people have also noticed.

          This is the Conservatives first major line of attack since Corbyn won and one which they have had time to work on.

          I think its very telling in the use of our and your in a way the is more truthful than they would like.
          Its not their families at risk only their economy and security to plunder at will

      1. m-ga

        Cameron’s twitter comment is peculiar because it follows reports that on Saturday afternoon, Cameron telephoned Corbyn to congratulate him on the victory.

        I realise that the phone call is just a formality, and also that Cameron doesn’t write his own twitter feed. But the combination of the two responses, in such a short space of time, is barely coherent.

        The UK newspapers have been dripping with vitriol today. The Sunday Times was barely readable. In an interesting twist, the newly-elected Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, has previously made some significant challenges to Rupert Murdoch’s control of the media. Watson sat on the committee which questioned Rebakah Brooks and the Murdochs, and later wrote a book, “Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain”.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Is Blair still actively managing his “legacy,” by moving the local UK levers, or has he moved into Bush and Clinton mode, chasing the Big Bucks around the planet and selling “use of my naming rights” and inserting poisoned daggers hither and yon? The grift that keeps on grifting…

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Much as I am delighted to see the Blairites and Brownites routed so comprehensively, I don’t have a good feeling about Corbyn. He is a lifelong oppositionist and ideologue – I hope to be proved wrong, but I don’t think he has the skill set to get a grip of the party apparatus and make a coherent claim to be a real alternative to the Tories. I suspect the right wing of the Labour Party will do everything the can to undermine him in the hope that they can say ‘I told you so’ and then seize power again. Sadly, this might just be Syriza all over again.

    1. Nell

      Why give in before the fight has even started? 15000 new members 24 hours after the election. There is a choice here – keep with the learned helplessness of TINA or shrug it off, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. How do you think the post war consensus happened? Do you think the establishment just rolled over and delivered more power to the people? We all need to stop focusing on the idea that a knight in shining armour is going to save the day. It is up to all of us, working together, to save the day. Corbyn gets that. The idea of ‘great leaders’ is just a modern metaphor for ‘kings’ or ‘lords’. It is a way of seeing the world that keeps people down. Think Obama – great orator – great leader – sold the American people out to Wall Street.

      1. Ditto

        In fact , Samders and other leftist have been making the argument that looking for a messiah is a bad idea. We need to rebuild organization and infrastructure. If these fellows mean what they say, their value isn’t in becoming the leader, it’s to build organization that does not currently exist and is the reason those in power can do what they do. It is not enough to be outraged, come up with clever slogans or protest. Real power is in numbers and organization. If Corbyn does nothing more than rebuild Laboir at its local level and if Sanders does nothing more than rebuild the left leaning Democratic base of power, that would be sea change.

        1. Oldeguy

          If the election of Obama in 2008 and subsequent 7 year mixture of misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance didn’t cure American Progressives of Messiah Hope Syndrome nothing on God’s Green Earth ever will.
          Bernie ( very much to his credit ) has repeatedly made clear that a major change in public consciousness, not merely a change in Oval Office occupants is necessary.

          1. jonf

            Bernie ( very much to his credit ) has repeatedly made clear that a major change in public consciousness, not merely a change in Oval Office occupants is necessary.

            Without that, nothing can really happen.

          1. Ulysses

            Yep! And, as Chris H. points out in his latest column, the stakes couldn’t be higher:

            “Corbyn, like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, is part of the new popular resistance that is rising up from the ruins of neoliberalism and globalization to fight the international banking system… We may not win, but this fight is the only hope left to save ourselves from the predatory forces bent on the destruction of democracy and the ecosystem on which we depend for life. If the forces that oppose us triumph, we will have no future left.”

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Oh, I agree we shouldn’t give up hope – we need to get behind genuinely progressive leaders and only criticise when its clear they are going wrong. Its just (as others have said), that I prefer the honesty of someone like Bernie who says that it is only through grassroots change that real change can happen. Depending on leaders to lead to the promised land is to face disappointment. Or put another way, i think the UK Labour party is beyond redemption, even with a leader like Corbyn.

        1. m-ga

          There has just been a grassroots takeover of the UK Labour party. That’s how Corbyn was elected. The figures are overwhelming: nearly 60 per cent in the first round (against three other candidates). Corbyn won in all three categories: fully paid-up members, affiliated (trade union) members, and registered supporters.

          Where Corbyn doesn’t have very much support is the parliamentary Labour party – basically, the elected MPs and the Labour peers.

          So, it’s uphill. But quicker and easier to get grassroots change from this beginning, than from outside Westminster entirely.

    2. m-ga

      It’s going to depend how closely the Labour party’s policies follow Corbyn’s beliefs. We’ll find out over the next week or so. Hopefully, Corbyn will be able to set aside some of his own principles in order to actually have an effect on UK policy.

      Here’s an example. Corbyn is in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Whilst I personally agree with Corbyn that this is the correct thing to do, it’s very unlikely to fly with either the parliamentary Labour party, the wider Labour party membership, or the UK public.

      What might be possible, though, is to have a debate about renewing Trident. The UK doesn’t really need a deluxe two submarine nuclear deterrent. Something more modest would suffice, and would also be a lot cheaper. If Corbyn is happy to go for a debate and vote on that matter within the party, and then either supports whatever is decided (even if it’s keeping Trident) or recommends a free vote in parliament (if the debate is inconclusive) then his own opinions won’t really matter too much.

      I think foreign policy and immigration are the areas where he’s most likely to come under attack. Fortunately, he’s got a reprieve on immigration since the UK public are so appalled at the dead bodies washing up on European shores. That reprieve is unlikely to last though. The UK media relentlessly beat the anti-immigrant drum, even as the UK’s economy calls for more immigration.

      1. Uahsenaa

        [I]t’s very unlikely to fly with either the parliamentary Labour party, the wider Labour party membership, or the UK public

        Then the real question is what happens at the constituency party level. Refuseniks may go on and on about how the sky is falling and they’ll never be in power again, but if Corbyn supporters, who seem to represent a real ground swell, can exercise their voice at the constituency level to make clear that if the Blairites stick to their neoliberal [non]principles then they will likely face deselection (just like with primary challenges here in the US), then the mostly careerists among the “modernizers” will see that at least appearing to support Corbyn’s platform will be in their own best interests. After all, wouldn’t that be, I dunno, democratic?

        1. m-ga

          The strategy so far has been to be to avoid any talk of deselection, and bring as many former Blairites into the fold as possible:

          But there is already speculation on what happens if that doesn’t work:

          However, it’s likely that everyone involved will want to avoid a repeat of the damaging Labour party split which happened in the 1980s.

          The analogy to the 1980s is flawed though. During the 1980s, the UK Labour party was already very left wing, and was facing an unexpected and highly effective attack from the Thatcher government. For example, no-one thought that Thatcher would shut down UK industry and fritter away North Sea oil income in order to silence her opponents, but that’s exactly what she did. It’s about this time that the Labour party splintered, and would eventually be taken over by Tony Blair.

          Fast forward to 2015, and the UK Labour party is controlled by neoliberals. But the grassroots support has remained to the left of the leadership. Until now, there hasn’t been a chance for the grassroots to do anything about the way the party is run. Due to hubris, or complacency, Corbyn was added to the ballot. Yesterday he took leadership of the party.

          As a result, a lot of Labour MPs seem confused. They’re basically squeezed between the party leadership, and the party membership. For example, 15,500 people have joined the Labour party since yesterday. Normally, you’d expect MPs to be delighted to have a very popular new leader, and grassroots membership increasing rapidly. But, for some reason, several MPs are viewing it as a disaster.

          What might count in Corbyn’s favour is that he was a Labour MP in the 1980s. He thus saw first hand what happened when the party split then. Furthermore, the tactics likely to be employed by the Cameron government are now very well understood (they’re basically a continuation of the Thatcher policies). So, it seems unlikely that events will rerun in the same way they did 30 years ago.

          1. Uahsenaa

            The confusion likely results from a certain form of cognitive dissonance. If they were to accept a reality that is more or less obvious to an outside observer, that their constituencies are politically to the left of them, a lesson that should have been obvious from the trouncing they received at the hands of the SNP in Scotland–though I suppose that lesson could be ignored with the assumption that it’s just nationalist fervor–they would have to admit that the assumptions that lie at the heart of how the PLP has behaved over the years reflect no observable reality. Until the change to how the leadership is selected, they’ve never had to compare their assumptions to any real reality, merely the echo chamber of their own colleagues and the complaints of unions they would write off as simply disgruntled. To admit that Corbyn really is popular would be to admit that their assumptions have been wrong all along and that the victories of the Blair years were all smoke and mirrors. If your identity as a politician is predicated on a delusion, you’ll come up with any number of crazy explanations to justify the delusion, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against it.

            1. Carla

              “If your identity as a __________[fill in the blank] is predicated on a delusion, you’ll come up with any number of crazy explanations to justify the delusion, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against it.”

              Try “middle class person,” for example. Or “Democrat.” Or “Christian.” ETC.

    3. ambrit

      We will have to see who he picks for his shadow cabinet. As for the Syriza analogy, we will also have to see who does what on the financial front vis a vis the UK’s economy. If the international banks and ‘funds’ start low level destabilization campaigns against the UK government, we’ll know the score.

      1. m-ga

        The Conservatives are in power until 2020. So, assuming Corbyn can hold the Labour party together, he has five years to make his case. There may be finance-led attacks on the UK following 2020 if Corbyn actually gets elected.

        Two things might happen before then, though. Firstly, Corbyn might not stick around. In one scenario, he is thrown out in a coup by another faction of the Labour party. In another, he leaves voluntarily, on the basis that another party member would be better than him going into the election campaign. This second scenario isn’t too unlikely in my opinion – Corbyn seems more interested in the success of his policies than the success of himself personally. He is also 66, and would be 70 by the 2020 campaign. I suppose it depends if there’s anyone who would carry the policies forward. The group of Labour MPs who fully support him is very small – maybe 15 or less. That’s could change, though, if there is appetite among the wider public for Corbyn’s policies. Unfortunately, MPs exploiting such opportunities are likely to be more interested in power than anything else. So, a chosen successor would most likely come from the handful who already support him.

        The other thing which might happen is another major financial shock – be it for the UK, Europe, or a global event similar to those in 2008 or 2000. The Conservatives have a wafer-thin UK majority. If they recommend bailing out the financial system again, or if their (unjustified) reputation for economic competence collapses, the public outcry could mean the Conservatives don’t survive. If that happened, and if Corbynomics (i.e. the green quantitative easing) had been established as an alternative in the minds of the UK public, then Corbynomics might become the preferred route. There would be a lot of screaming from the banks.

  4. Nell

    The press is going to go for Corbyn big time. Supporters and members of the Labour Party are going to have to think creatively about how to counter the attack. One of the ideas I was mulling with was to frame attacks on Corbyn as attacks on ordinary law abiding citizens. This may be quite feasible since Corbyn wants members to contribute to policy. Effectively any attack on Labour by the Tories and the press can be interpreted as an attack on the character and capabilities of UK citizens.

    1. vidimi

      this will only work for a while. like any tantrum, if you keep cryin g ‘the sky is fallin’ for too long and the sky does not fall, you will be ignored. first they will stomp their feet and scream, then they will hold their breath and turn purple, then some in the media will start admitting that maybe they should take him more seriously and consider the issues on merit. then the overton window will have shifted.

  5. pdehaan

    I think the most incredible thing about this huge election victory is that this happened despite the very serious media campaign against Corbyn. On the contrary, it seems to have helped him! Especially the Blair article on the Guardian CIF must have been a real boost:
    That voters can somehow be immune against such media campaigns and resist the propaganda is beautiful. I wonder how. Here in Brazil people clearly can’t, with a media-driven soft coup unfolding as we speak.

    1. Daryl

      It seems to me like the proliferation of the internet and social media, combined with (well-earned) distrust of traditional media is making it much harder for them to bury a candidate that people like. Corbyn winning; Trump and Sanders surging despite early and obvious attempts to derail their campaigns.

  6. allan

    “Labour Elects Far-Left Leader in British Politics Shake-Up (NYT)”

    Of course, the current management of the NYT would consider Jimmy Carter,
    if he were running for office this year, to be Far-Left™.

  7. Oregoncharles

    “And now there are more Labour voters than ever”
    Well, what do you mean by voters? In Britain, parties are actually clubs people can join for a fee. 15,000 joined the club right after Corbyn won; but they were probably Labor voters, in the election, before. they just weren’t willing to join the party until they saw the change in direction.

    Two changes, really: not only a turn to the left, but a turn to more democratic internal governance.

  8. Ven

    As we all know, New Labour was for all intents and purposes just another Conservative party, except they said, better with the economy, and kinder and gentler. But for all these words, New Labour didn’t hesitate to go to war in Iraq on a false pretext, didn’t hesitate to suck up to the bankers, to the corporate CEOs, and the Murdochs (oh, and wife of course), whilst not hesitating to line their own pockets (as shown with Blair, Straw trying to sell his ‘time’ in Parliament) etc, etc.

    Everyone believed in TINA.

    But then comes a man who has consistently championed people, consistently been on demonstrations to support the downtrodden, has the lowest expenses of any MP in Parliament. He doesn’t do spin, and to be honest he is not a great speaker. But he has something more essential – integrity, compassion and sincerity. At a time when everyone knows the rot in the political system.

    Interesting isn’t it, that he won a landslide, even with fully paid up Labour party members, in spite of the attacks and dire warnings by Blair, Mandelson, Brown, the media, and other Labour MPs. This highlights how out of touch the Labour establishment is with its members; and how much attention the membership pay to Blair & co. The MPs are just careerists, or have been intellectually captured by TINA economics. Corbyn’s challenge will now be to negotiate around them with only a minority of like-minded MPs, and in an entirely hostile external environment which is terrified that the people might actually be given a real choice. However at least now, ordinary people have other sources to rely on, rather than just the traditional gentlemen of the press.

    The papers almost sneered that Corbyn, with his supporters in a pub straight after the result, burst into a rendition of the Red Flag. This was Labour’s traditional anthem which had all but been discarded by New Labour. Now it seems so fitting:

    It waved above our infant might,
    When all ahead seemed dark as night;
    It witnessed many a deed and vow,
    We must not change its colour now.
    It well recalls the triumphs past,
    It gives the hope of peace at last;
    The banner bright, the symbol plain,
    Of human right and human gain.
    So raise the scarlet standard high,
    Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
    Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
    We’ll keep the red flag flying here

  9. Oregoncharles

    “Corbyn’s victory was enabled by Labour apparatchiks”

    Labor was desparate; the Democrats aren’t – although the last 7 years have indeed been very rough. Most of the Democratic apparatus is far more interested in maintaining control than in winning elections. A Sanders nomination would mean losing control – although they could just McGovern him; it’s the Republicans’ turn next year, anyway. That could mean a Donald presidency.

    Again: watch the electoral apparatus. If Republicans can cheat, so can Democrats. I’m not actually concerned about this in Oregon; not only is it a clean state, but the mail-in voting protects against large scale cheating, because it creates a paper ballot. But watch the states with electronic black-box voting (an NC treatment of that subject would be really nice – it’s quite a lot like PE).

    1. TheCatSaid

      ” I’m not actually concerned about this in Oregon; not only is it a clean state, but the mail-in voting protects against large scale cheating, because it creates a paper ballot.”

      You’re joking, right?

      While having a paper ballot is crucial, unfortunately mail-in voting is horribly open to fraud, issues including lack of custody of the ballots, dodgy contractors to handle interface with post offices, use of easily-hackable ballot scanning technology that enable large-scale vote-counting fraud, lack of keeping track of the number of ballots printed and where they go, using bar codes to identify voters on their paper ballots (!) and other issues and loopholes. has done extensive research on this.

      Even when ballots exist, there can be extraordinary obstruction to anyone being able to examine the ballots in a meaningful way, even when there is clear evidence of room for concern. For example, in many states only

      To repeat, the fact that there are paper ballots does not in any way result in a voting system has greater integrity or accuracy than a paperless voting system.

      Also, mail-in voting doesn’t increase participation, although it was widely claimed to do so. (Of course, many state laws actively disenfranchise voters in numerous ways–but that’s another topic.) has “toolboxes” so anyone can improve their local voting procedures, whatever kinds of voting system(s) or political parties are in place. They have information about state laws, various voting technologies, numerous studies (by academics, in-house, and other citizen efforts). They are an amazing resource for anyone interested in election integrity.

      1. Dominc

        I live in Oregon and, well, you sort of got it all wrong. Don’t know were to start.
        Best system i’ve ever voted under. You don’t have any tracking number on your ballot, you do have lots of oversight and signature challenges available.
        Your ability to take as much time, do as much research with the ballot in front of you, takes away that standing at the polling place and finding you have ballot measures you didn’t expect or minor contests you were not prepared for.
        All the stats are wide open (precinct participation rates, undervotes, overvotes) We have had some cliffhangers in local races, they have gone back and audited and the error rate is minor.
        Searched the site you referenced, query “Oregon” yeilds zilch results.

        1. Oregoncharles

          There was a case of cheating up in the north valley (can’t remember the county name); a Republican election worker was filling in races left blank to Republican advantage. I’d like to see them guard against that – there should be a slot that says “not voting this position.” But the point is, it was very small scale, and she got caught.

          I can imagine at least one other way to cheat, but again, very local.

          And Dominc is absolutely right about the advantages to the voter. It actually encourages thoughtful, informed voting; how can that be bad?

          I don’t know how it would work in a dirty state; you’d need more safeguards, I suppose. But it’s a joy here.

    1. ambrit

      Where’s the similar juxtaposition for Sanders? Sanders needs to ramp up the class conflict meme right now. This kind of ‘counter culture’ identity politics takes time to be established. Sanders might not realize yet how powerful a message he has available to him. I do hope Sanders has some campaign aparatchiks over in England learning Corbyns’ methods.

        1. ambrit

          The “official” Democratic Party, yes. The general ‘democratic’ electorate, no. As some up thread posts are describing Englands’ new ‘Olde Labour’ moment, grass roots organizing has helped Corbyn greatly. Where is Dean sitting in the Sanders Insurrection? Regional rivals or no, they seem to have more in common than not. Any Up North dwellers have any good information on the Dean-Sanders political rivalry?

  10. Clive

    The BBC is in full concern trolling mode overt Corbyn and the “problems” he is “facing” — it’s language is a masterpiece of “we’re not partisan and completely neutral in all political matters…” but here is (insert shameless Blairite barnacle / Vichy Left go-to rent-a-mouth / neoliberal stalwart who sees career slipping away now that the game is up here) to talk about how Corbyn is going to have to “be careful” to avoid “party splits”, “excluding modernisers”, “marginalising the people who made Labour an electoral success under Blair”, “losing a reputation for economic competence” or similar.

    It was in a fit of pique after Corbyn cancelled an appearance on a Sunday morning political programme to concentrate on appointing opposition cabinet posts. Shock ! Horror ! Politician prioritises policy definition over media tarting ! No-one, absolutely no-one, can turn down breakfast toast and marmalade with a nice cup of milky tea round at Aunty’s house on a Sunday morning…

      1. Uahsenaa

        Dear NYT,

        Is it similarly difficult to imagine how in the very same election, Labour lost nearly all of its seats in Scotland to a party whose policies were well to the left of its own?

      1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

        They’re all losing their shit.

        The schaden freudes itself, as I like to say.

      2. Uahsenaa

        Some of the claims are, prima facie, risibly absurd. For instance, the claim that Corbyn is a “hard left activist” rather than a “career building politician.” Explain to me, dear Bloomberg, how does one remain an MP for three decades without building a career in politics. I would love to be enlightened.

        So much has said about Corbyn as an insurgent, but he’s been a Labour MP for much longer than any of the other leadership candidates, none of whom had any experience of the Thatcher years, as he did.

    1. windsock

      Actually Clive, he blew out the BBC to attend a previously arranged engagement at a local mental health organisation. He has his priorities right.

  11. Carolinian

    Thanks for the great rundown. One half suspects that the Hamas/Hezbollah thing is the real reason the trans-Atlantic press is deserting all objectivity. There are some areas where the Overton window must be defended at all costs. This is also undoubtedly one big reason why Sanders–so far–is staying as far away as possible from foreign policy.

  12. Massinissa

    If he ends up winning prime minister-ship, im kinda expecting him to go the way of Salvador Allende somehow. A coup would be unprecedented for a major European country, but not impossible, and the rest of Europe and America would support such a thing.

    1. gonzomarx

      A Very British Coup is a 1982 novel by British politician Chris Mullin. The novel has twice been adapted for television.
      Harry Perkins, an unassuming, working class, very left-wing Leader of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central, becomes Prime Minister in March 1991. The priorities of the Perkins Government include dissolving all newspaper monopolies, withdrawal from the North Atlantic Alliance, removing all American military bases on UK soil, unilateral nuclear disarmament, and true open government. Newspaper magnate Sir George Fison, with allies within British political and civil service circles, moves immediately to discredit him, with the United States the key, but covert, conspirator. The most effective of the Prime Minister’s domestic enemies is the aristocratic Sir Percy Browne, Head of MI5, whose ancestors “unto the Middle Ages” have exercised subtle power behind the scenes.

      this book is now being reprinted!!

      1. ambrit

        Wonderful book. The first television adaptation is also very good. I haven’t seen the second TV version. Something like a pessimistic “Seven Days in May.”

      2. Oregoncharles

        I saw the BBC version. Deeply disturbing; still haunts me.

        I assume Corbyn has also seen or read it. Forewarned….

        he isn’t in office yet. How honest are British elections?

    2. ben

      British establishment have already started laying some precautionary turf. Today on twitter.

      David Cameron ✔@David_Cameron
      The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.

      1. allan

        “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security”

        Under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, doesn’t that require NATO to intervene?

    3. vidimi

      you can also look to australia and how gough whitlam was removed from office by the governor general. in britain, it would have to be the monarch himself, and i don’t doubt that king charles would do it.

        1. aet

          British right-wingers are Monarchists – by definition. If they aren’t Monarchists, they are by definition , radicals. A radical coup in Britain from either right or left is so unlikely as to be ridiculous.
          Not like US Right-wingers – who would consider killing anybody who would tries to become their King their “patriotic duty” .
          The words “radical” and “right” go together in the U.S. like “bacon” and “eggs.”
          It is very different in Britain – protecting the Monarch is for those rightists is job #1, and they ARE the establishment.
          The only possible right-wing coup in Britain would need to be led by their sitting Monarch. Britain isn’t Thailand – but even in Thailand, rightists cannot act without Royal forbearance!

  13. par4

    Will he undo the Enclosure Acts? Will he take a page from Henry II and remove the banksters right hands and their bollocks from underneath? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful start?

    1. ambrit

      They could be Drawn and Quarter Percented. The banksters have tried their best to inflict the Death of a Thousand Tax Cuts on us. It’s about time for reciprocity to make an appearance.

  14. ginnie nyc

    Re: a Karl Rove-type to help Corbyn – well, that’s exactly what the new Labour Deputy Leader is. Tom Watson is not only able, but very experienced in wielding the knife. My concern is that he may use it on Jezza at some point.

  15. Lexington

    Of course the MSM is apoplectic about Corbyn’s victory: he broke all the rules. Britain’s elite prides itself in taking a back seat to no one, including the US, in its full blooded embrace of neoliberal orthodoxy, and a key part of the neoliberal program is that voters can have a choice between two alternatives to govern them, but both alternatives must broadly embrace neoliberal dogmas. There can be some difference of degree, but absolutely not a difference in type. Corbyn is a difference in type, in that he is openly repudiating the biparty governing consensus. This cannot be allowed to stand!

    In a similar vein I think it is important to recognize that global elites do not believe in democracy. They accept the need to maintain the pretense of popular legitimacy by holding occasional elections, but the only parties with a chance of forming a government must be ones who can be relied on to implement the neoliberal agenda. What they really believe in is technocratic managerialism – that is, in rule by an exclusive cadre of appropriately credentialed functionaries supposedly selected on the basis of merit who are uniquely qualified to determine the best interests of the population as a whole. The idea that ordinary people can or should exercise any meaningful degree of control over public policy is anathema. Popular participation in politics must be strictly limited to the right to cast a ballot every four years for either Tweedlee or Tweedledum (“Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!” – Homer Simpson)

    This point is important because many progressives implicitly assume that elites share their faith in democratic idealism and think that once “the people have spoken” elites will fall in line out of respect for the principle of popular sovereignty. When put to the test this faith will likely be shown to have been completely misplaced.

    1. Strategist

      The most notable is John McDonnell as shadow chancellor. This implies it’s going to be the full anti-austerity policy, not watered-down at all.

      Yes indeed, this is significant news. McDonnell is one of the good guys, and in many ways a better communicator than Corbyn

      I hope Corbyn has his own Karl Rove (or, to put this another way, the kind of leadership team McGovern never had). He’ll need not only to watch his back, but have people who can wield the knife themselves.

      Corbyn’s people are Ken Livingstone (former Mayor of London)’s people. They weren’t born yesterday and know how to conduct themselves in a Labour party faction fight. The big question is whether they can reach out to people not steeped in the party tradition and not be tribal in their approach to people outside the party. The early signs are very good. They have got a lot of nous and they know they need the support of the new, less tribal members to win faction war within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

      1. m-ga

        Unfortunately, McDonnell has made some stupid comments in the past. These have already been picked up on by the UK press:

        It seems that McDonnell, while engaging in a similar breadth of activity to Corbyn, has been considerably less nuanced in his approach. I expect the UK press will run his historic comments for at least the next several months.

        The most damaging I’ve seen so far have been the comments about the IRA. In particular, the direct attribution of this quote to McDonnell: “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA.”

        Which McDonnell had to explain soon after:

        For context, Bobby Sands was an IRA member whom the Thatcher government allowed to die on hunger strike. The British government waged a brutal and bloody campaign in Northern Ireland throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

        Many British won’t remember that, though, and will be more mindful of the IRA response and in particular the attacks carried out in England by the IRA. The IRA gave notice of their attacks and stated that they didn’t want to kill, but this didn’t always work. For example, two children were killed when the IRA placed explosives in cast iron bins on a high street in Warrington, Cheshire:

        As recently as 2010, McDonnell said that he’d like to travel back in time and assassinate Margaret Thatcher. This might seem like bravado, but takes a more sinister turn when it’s remembered that the IRA actually did try to assassinate Thatcher. I suppose it’s no more distasteful than Cameron’s glee in the Commons following the execution of Gadaffi. But it still looks ugly.

        McDonnell’s senior position in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet provides a new vector of attack for the Conservatives and the UK press. This is unfortunate for the wider anti-austerity campaign. That said, the tabloids can’t publish the same stories forever. The UK press is hyperventilating at the moment. Hopefully, in a few months, they’ll actually have to engage with the substance of the Corbyn government’s policies. A lot will depend on the fine detail of those policies (particularly around foreign affairs, immigration and Europe) and the way that Corbyn puts them across.

  16. TheCatSaid

    In this interview, Julian Assange says he’s worried about Corbyn surviving (politically and/or literally) unless he moderates certain policies that US/NATO would object to. (As per the “special relationship” between US & UK; in particular he quotes a revealing Wikileaks cable from the US Ambassador following a meeting with top UK politicians/) Assange observes that Corbyn has already begun to moderate his language on these issues. This interview dates from Sept. 9th 2015 (before the Labour election).

  17. low_integer

    Great post. Nothing to add so I’ll just leave you with this joke I heard recently. It’s a general purpose type of joke so readers here may already be familiar with it.

    Q: What’s the difference between [many options here, but I’ll go with Tony Abbott as this the form in which I encountered it, very tempted substitute in Murdoch though] and an Oyster.
    A: One is a spineless, mud dwelling, bottom feeding, lower life form, while the other is a Mollusk.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “And I hope Corbyn has his own Karl Rove (or, to put this another way, the kind of leadership team McGovern never had). ”

    He’s already announced his Shadow Cabinet – and, of course, he has nearly 5 years before he faces another election.

    The parliamentary system creates a big difference between Corbyn’s situation and Sanders’. If nominated, Sanders will enter the race largely alone, or with a team of youthful enthusiasts, and with the party emphatically NOT behind him. This was precisely McGovern’s situation. Corbyn is the party leader long before he’s a candidate for PM, and he has 4 years to build a team – composed, in part, of of fellow MPs he’s worked with for many years. As he demonstrated by coming up with a Shadow Cabinet so quickly.

    Even with all that, the reference to “A Very British Coup” up above remains shuddery.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      He has. What we don’t know is what options he had; could he even have put together a cabinet of the left? If not, that raises immediate questions of organizational capability. Or if his goal was unity, well, that was Obama’s goal, too, back in 2009. The voters are behind him, it seems the party apparatus is behind him, and the Blairite frontbenchers will do him down in a heartbeat (as will the press). What we don’t know is how Machiavellian the frontbenchers within his shadow cabinet are; if Westminster is like Washington DC, I would suggest the answer is “very.” I stand by Corbyn’s requirement for a Rove. Perhaps this Tom Watson guy is that person.

      1. windsock

        Tom Watson is a fixer, manipulator and to the right of Corbyn (he’s pro nuclear defence and wants to remain in Nato – he worked for Gordon Brown and is described as being his “close confidante”). He will work well for Corbyn as long as Corbyn manages to remain popular with the party membership and also see how the wider public opinion polls rate him. Watson is constrained slightly by his own leadership ambitions – if he wields the knife and voting for leadership elections remain as they are, he won’t be forgiven if the majority of the Labour Party still support Corbyn.

        1. m-ga

          I think this is a crucial point. Support from Tom Watson is likely to be fair-weather.

          Whatever happens with the Corbyn-led campaign, Watson is well-placed to take advantage. If Corbyn comes under heavy attack and seems unlikely to survive, it might be Watson who finishes him off. This could result in Watson as leader. If the Corbyn campaign goes all the way to number 10, with Watson’s assistance, then Watson will among the candidates to take over as PM once Corbyn retires.

          So, the next year is going to be crucial. Watson does appear highly competent, and I think is likely to hold off and placate the rest of the parliamentary Labour party while things are settling down, and Corbyn is riding high with the Labour party membership.

          The drop-dead date looks like May 5 next year. This is the date of both the Scottish Parliament elections, and the London Mayoral election:


          In Scotland, Labour were routed by the SNP in the recent UK parliamentary elections. The SNP already control the Scottish parliament, with 69 seats to Labour’s 37 (total 129 seats). It may be hoped by many in the Labour party that Corbyn can demonstrate the ability to make inroads against the SNP.

          In London, a win for Sadiq Khan will be required.

          If Corbyn can deliver on one of these two, he might survive. Deliver on neither, and there will be baying from the remaining Blairites. With four years left to the next UK General Election, enough time remains (in their view) to depose Corbyn, install their preferred candidate, and campaign for victory on a soft neoliberal platform.

          In Corbyn’s favour, he will be campaigning in Scotland on an anti-austerity platform. One of the failures of Miliband, in Scotland, is that he didn’t have a coherent anti-austerity strategy, whereas the SNP did. That’s changed now. The SNP’s current anti-austerity relies in part on North Sea oil receipts, which of course aren’t looking too good. Corbyn’s anti-austerity strategy is a version of green quantitative easing, which looks a lot more solid.

          Also, as has been mentioned elsewhere, it helps Corbyn that he’ll be carrying out the London Mayoral campaign with Sadiq Khan, rather than Tessa Jowell. It’s a far more natural fit. It also won’t hurt at all that Corbyn has been a London MP since 1983, and that he has a natural ally in Ken Livingstone, who was the mayor immediately preceding Boris Johnson. They’re likely to be up against Zac Goldsmith, who is the son of the late tycoon James Goldsmith.

          So, it seems doable that Corbyn lasts after May 2016. If so, the campaign to 2020 looks viable.

      2. Strategist

        Lambert, putting McDonnell in charge of economic policy is a cabinet of the left. But Corbyn is also right to have given jobs to MPs to his right who have agreed to accept the result of the leadership election.

        I think the Karl Rove behind the scenes role is being provided by Ken Livingstone, probably the most talented Labour politician of recent decades. So Corbyn is going to get good advice. But fighting the media shitstorm being continually fed by a “formerly important, still self-important” Blairites giving interviews to old mates on BBC and SkyTV is unfortunately a 24/7 job which the left is not familiar with having to do. In British terms, Corbyn needs to fill the roles Blair had Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell performed.

  19. windsock

    An early indicator of how everything is going will be next year’s London Mayor elections. In the same selection process that elected Corbyn, Sadiq Khan (who managed Ed Miliband’s campaign to become Labour leader, beating David Miliband) has been chosen to represent Labour. While not as “left” as Corbyn, he is seeing as being close enough. Tessa Jowell (sorry, DAME Tessa Jowell), Blairite ultra who was the supposed front runner for the selection, was defeated.

    1. Strategist

      Dame Tessa Jowell seems like a nice English lady but her husband was Berlusconi’s money launderer and her campaign took donations from some very dodgy sources.

  20. m-ga

    Have just seen this article from April, which is well worth reading:

    It a dual interview with both Corbyn and McDonnell, carried out by Vice magazine, shortly before the UK general election.

    I found this section the most revealing:

    I asked them for a simple yes or no. Is Ed Miliband the right person to be leading the party into the election?

    Corbyn sighed, “he is the leader, it’s not going to change. Frankly it’s not a terribly relevant question” – about the least ringing endorsement I’ve ever heard.

    McDonnell chimed in, “let’s be clear, we don’t believe in leaders.”

    I thought that was a weird thing to say for someone who ran to be Labour leader twice. Back in 2007 he failed to get enough support, and did the same again in 2010. Corbyn was considering running as his deputy. Sour grapes?

    McDonnell faltered, slightly, for the first time. “We believe that leaders should be following the masses. We only ran in leadership campaigns to get our ideas across, to use it as a platform.”

    “One of the first things we’d have done, had we won, was transform the idea of leadership within the Labour Party.”

  21. Alice X

    Thank you Lambert.

    I am very glad UK Labor has finally gotten back to a centrist position after their abysmal foray into enemy territory with New Labor. That is not a snark.

    Would that we could give a heave ho to the New Democrats.

    Will someone then please ask Bernie about the MIICC? Or slaughtered innocents in Gaza?

    1. bh2

      “Centrist” implies being in the political center. Are you suggesting Corbyn is nearby that location on the British political spectrum? Or did you mean he’s toward the center of the far left?

  22. hemeantwell

    And if the Overton Window is defined by voters,

    This klinker in an otherwise great overview of Corbyn’s win requires comment. The Overton window can be defined as the bounds of possible voting outcomes, but it is hardly created by voters. As Schattschneider put it in The Semi-Sovereign people, politics is about what issues are organized out of consideration. Bachrach and Baratz worked this up further with their concept of the “mobilization of bias.”

  23. er3

    > lots of what “Labour” “people” “want.”

    there is also “end” “society” “much” “victims”.

    I start to see the hidden message here.

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