Socialism re-born in Britain.

"Jeremy Corbyn No More War" by Garry Knight from London, England - Jeremy Corbin. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jeremy_Corbyn_No_More_War.jpg#/media/File:Jeremy_Corbyn_No_More_War.jpg

So yesterday I was excited to watch what I saw as the inevitable outcome of the achingly drawn-out Labour Leadership process. The contest was populated by several drones, Blairites, Brownites, (whatever!) but one candidate stood out from the outset: Jeremy Corbyn. He stood out because he struck me as a real Socialist. Someone who actually believed in Socialist ideals. Labour has been populated by Liberal elites for some years now and seemed to have betrayed its working class roots very blatantly to me.

Damian Thompson deliciously articulates the issue with extraordinary literary precision here, although the dish is served with a somewhat inevitable and rather generous side-salad of schadenfreude:
British liberal-Left professionals are obsessed with money. Spending it, mostly. Peckish? Try the Chiltern Firehouse red prawns – ‘an echo of Sicily in Marylebone,’ gushes the Guardian, ‘an impression intensified by their pool of almond milk, slivers of toasted almonds and delicate flower buds … a masterpiece in pastels’. Nothing’s too good for the workers – and, more importantly, their champions in the media, the arts, ‘charities’ etc, who put these little treats on exes to make damn sure they don’t eat into their six-figure salaries.
But now the socialist party they vote for has spoiled everything by electing an actual socialist to lead it, a man so uncouth that it never occurs to him to ease the stress of defending the marginalised by dropping essential oils into his jacuzzi.
It’s all so embarrassing, it really is. The Polish ‘help’ has been quite impertinent since you gently reproved her for voting Tory in May. Now she’s going to be insufferable…
It interests me that many Labourites considered this would never happen- could never happen! To me it seemed almost inevitable. The people are searching for leadership everywhere. Someone who believes in something and can articulate that belief with confidence. I don't agree with Jeremy Corbyn on many issues, but I recognise that he has integrity as a politician, an integrity that has been missing from our politics for some time, populated as it is with members who lack the ability to understand leadership. They seem to think we should regard the truth and moral integrity in the same way they treat their party’s principles – something infinitely malleable and, in an emergency, saleable for something more serviceable. What you end up with is what Professor John Charmley recently called:
"a political elite which fails to see the dangers that will follow by treating public affirmations of faith as signs of “extremism”."
Watch now as everyone portrays Corbyn as an extremist. He may well be an Atheist who regards religion “fascinating” in much the same way, I suspect, that a botanist finds weed growth of interest, as Kevin Meagher suggested at the beginning of August, but he does offer a clear articulation of a particular set of values. Many who feel abandoned by the politicians who no longer understand what it is to work in the same job on a fixed income for many years, or care for a member of your family who is sick or disabled, and seem focused on making life even more difficult for a whole raft of society. Students have always been idealistic and Socialism has often spoken to young intellectuals as a better way, even if we do tend to get older and more conservative. No doubt they will be inspired by Corbyn's rhetoric about one world and our common humanity. I personally wonder how he balances this with the EDM he signed in 2004:
Humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and [we look] forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out, thus giving nature the opportunity to start again
His voting record on Prolife issues is, well, disastrous, although he spoke strongly against the Marris Bill. He is also considered an early pioneer of LGBT equality, Corbyn championed such causes as the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), civil partnerships and a repeal of the anti-gay Section 28 legislation. Corbyn has "unwaveringly" supported LGBT rights, having been the only Labour MP to vote in a favour of a Liberal Democrat amendment to outlaw discrimination based on sexuality in 1998, before the introduction of the Equality Act 2006. Corbyn voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which ultimately legalised same-sex "marriage" in England and Wales. He has also threatened "economic and diplomatic consequences" on those countries not supporting LGBT rights.

Will he live up to his image? Despite what you might think, Corbyn is privately educated man (he attended the independent Castle House Preparatory School in Newport, Shropshire, and Adams' Grammar School, a boarding and day school also in Newport). He is a career politician who grew up in privileged circumstances and had a five star childhood, the son of David, an electrical engineer and expert in power rectifiers, and Naomi, a maths teacher. His parents were peace campaigners who met during the Spanish Civil War. When Corbyn was seven the family moved to Shropshire at Pave Lane, where David Corbyn bought the Yew Tree Guesthouse and converted it into a seven-bedroom manor house. 

After leaving school, he spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica before being employed as a full-time organiser for the National Union of Public Employees, followed by a brief period of study at North London Polytechnic, which he left without completing a degree. 

He has been married three times and left his second wife, Chilean exile Claudia Bracchitta, with whom he had three sons, because she wanted the same sort of education for their children as he was privileged to receive......harsh!

The big question is wether he will be able to form an effective opposition given his somewhat radical agenda. The argument is that Britain is attracted to ideas of social mobilisation and wealth creation, freedom of opportunity and self-autonomy. The trouble is, Socialism tends to limit autonomy as it dictates norms of society and attempts to enforce them. His rhetoric on housing, education, transport and the health care system are very attractive, probably to those with a Christian heart most of all, but what will the cost be? One thing's for sure, the coming months in Politics, will be very interesting!


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