Labour Moves to the Fringe

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom had a stunning electoral result. The conservatives won a clear majority in the parliament, defying electoral expectations. Labour expected to do well with the collapse of the Liberal Democrats but what they gained in England, they more than lost in Scotland as the Scottish National Party swept up almost all of the seats. In the aftermath, Labour leader Ed Milibrand stepped down.

Today, the Labour Party appointed new leadership: certified nutter Jeremy Corbyn:

Veteran far-left lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday, a runaway victory that threatens to further divide the party as it struggles to recover from a heavy defeat in elections earlier this year.

Corbyn’s win is one of the biggest political shake-ups in British politics in decades, marking a sharp left turn for his party and a rejection of the more centrist policies of his predecessors.

The silver-haired and bearded Corbyn, 66, has drawn vitriol and admiration in equal measure with his old-school socialist views: He wants more taxation for the rich, strongly opposes Britain’s austerity measures, and argues for nationalizing industry. Considered an eccentric outsider just three months ago, he has surged in popularity to become the favorite over his three more mainstream rivals.

Corbyn’s beliefs are a radical left smorgasbord of bullshit: nationalizing industries, inflation, wage caps, trade restrictions, nationalizing schools, nationalizing childcare, rent control, raising taxes through the roof, withdrawing from NATO, abandoning the campaign against ISIS, scrapping Britain’s nuclear weapons, wealth redistribution and massive increases in spending (because Britons are apparently not taxed enough). He even wants to re-open Britain’s coal mines because what Britain really needs right now is to send another generation of men deep into the ground to have their bodies destroyed digging out a mineral that is an economic sinkhole and is the worst fuel in terms of global warming. Oh, and he also has ties to anti-Israel organizations.

Back in the 1990’s, when the Tories lost the government, they went into the wilderness, becoming more radical and stupid before finding their way back under Cameron. Since 2008, the Republicans have done something similar, albeit in a less decisive fashion. In both cases, the result of purifying themselves was to elect the opposition. We’ll have to hope Britain’s economy stays afloat under Cameron. Because if Labour wins while Corbyn is in charge of Labour, the British ship of state could sink very far and very fast. Imagine the UK, only with Syriza in charge.

Update: The current generation has never seen real socialism. Oh, they’ve seen Socialism Lite: big wealth transfer programs, big spending programs, high taxes. But they haven’t seen it like it was in the 70’s when labor unions could dictate industrial policy, when entire unprofitable industries were propped up with billions in taxpayer money, when you had to fight with store clerks to keep them from raising the prices on things while you were trying to buy them, when the West almost abandoned Israel to the wolves.

With Venezuela, Bolivia, Greece and now possibly the UK, they’re about to get a quick refresher course. Let’s hope it’s a quick lesson. We can’t afford to learn as slowly as we did forty years ago.

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  1. InsipiD

    They’re upset and afraid for their economic future, so they plan to pin their hopes on the political system that took a nation of Germans and made them poor.

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  2. ilovecress

    I actually think that he’s the UK trump – in as much as he’s decidedly not a politician (in the Eton educated, corporate shill, old boys club sense of the word).

    Of the other candidates, there was no one who was a real alternative to the Conservatives. This is about choosing someone to lead the opposition – not to lead the country.

    And if you look at it like that, then he’s the natural choice – he’s anti everything the conservatives are for.

    I think there’s also something interesting in there about how the media have treated him – which plays into him sounding more credible. Now I don’t actually think the UK should re-nationalise the energy sector – but when the media frame it as a hare brained crazy scheme, it leaves the door open for Corbyn to give his rational explanation for why he thinks it would be better. Rational solution beats Daily Mail handwringing in an election of Labour Party members. (But probably not in a general election)

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  3. CM

    I don’t think many who voted for him are communists. At all. This is a massive backlash against what most see as a betrayal by Blair. Blair was the darling of the left but ultimately destroyed his entire reputation with his bizarre Iraq insanity. We’re still waiting on the Chilcott report, even though the investigation started 6 years ago. Apparently it’s because Blair etc were going to get absolutely slammed, and were therefore given an opportunity to see that before it was made public, and now all-of-a-sudden they’ve got some evidence they failed to provide earlier.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    Good points, Cress and CM.  The Trump comparison occurred to me as well.  I’ve been reading a few accounts over the last few days and am hearing “well, he’s honest about what he thinks” over and over again.

    I also think part of this is the Tories have themselves moved left. It’s a conservative party that’s pro-gay-rights, pro-doing-something-about-global warming, etc.

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