By ann summers
A perhaps stunning victory for a party frustrated with recent defeats, and with perhaps the infusion of underrepresented elements, the leadership of the UK Labour Party has risen/fallen in a 59% vote for a repudiation of the Tony Blair New Labour faction which during its history so often emulated a triangulating US political party often driven by focus groups and polling and ambivalent on issues of austerity as well as devolution of regional power. Whether this is a cautionary tale for the US Democratic party remains to be seen, since 2020 is when Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will be truly tested, but he has a clear vision for the Labour party.
We entered this contest to ensure there was a real political alternative put to the status quo of austerity and a society skewed towards the super-rich. Every one of us has been part of that – whether by sharing a Facebook post or talking about these ideas with friends and colleagues. We have put the case for the fairer, more democratic and decent society we all strive for. This work must continue.
It’s probably more like the hypothetical of Barbara Lee becoming US House minority leader or Bernie Sanders becoming Senate minority leader, but it does signal something about popular dissatisfaction for neoliberal policies or centrist tendencies, as this parodic tweet suggests
That new Blair editorial’s pretty strong pic.twitter.com/JYWregz1dy
— Chris Applegate (@chrisapplegate) August 12, 2015
Few, if anyone, gave Jeremy Corbyn much chance when he scraped on to the list of Labour leadership candidates in June. Not the MPs backing him. Not the media. Not the bookies. Not even his own small campaign team.
One of the key figures in that team, Kat Fletcher, did go into a betting shop in London’s Holloway Road to put £20 on him early on. The odds were 100-1.
In spite of that bet, Fletcher, the deputy mayor of Islington in London, admitted this week she did not place it with any sense of confidence. “To be honest, the bet was an act of solidarity,” she said. “It was so I could tell Jeremy that I had backed him.”
Corbyn has defied not only Fletcher’s expectations but everyone else’s. He has come from the fringes of Labour politics, where people still proudly describe themselves as socialists and refer to one another as comrade, to lead one of the biggest grassroots political uprisings in the UK in recent times, a movement that has taken him to the verge of becoming party leader.
It all goes to show that our own James O’Keefe is simply not coughing up the bucks to do his dirty work. Would American Democrats have paid 3 pounds Stirling ($4.63 USD) to join the GOP in order to ensure that Donald Trump or Reince Priebus was the top Republican?
Andy Burnham’s team said they would refer the Sun newspaper to the regulator Ipso after an undercover reporter from the tabloid posing as a potential donor recorded him saying Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster for the Labour party…..During the Sun’s sting, an undercover journalist posing as a wealthy foreign donor gave £5,000 to Faiz ul Rasool, a businessman and Labour party donor, who arranged for him to meet Burnham.
and then there are the parodies