The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

UK Labour By-Election Victory

Not only did Labour win, but they won with a record vote count. The candidate is quite a bit to Corbyn’s right, but it’s safe to say that this was about the national party, not about the candidate.

Meanwhile Corbyn has the highest approval ratings of any UK political party leader, though those ratings are negative. Yes, every other leader is hated more than he is.

Both these results are remarkable given the relentless media campaign against Corbyn.

As far as I can see, Corbyn, and the old-left he represents (Corbyn being essentially a 1960s Liberal), face two main problems: the MPs within his own caucus who are good “middle-way” Blairites and the media.

As for Corbyn’s first problem, the Blairites have now outed themselves, and those who voted for war in Syria flagged themselves. It’s not Corbyn’s job to deal directly with those pro-war MPs–that responsibility falls on the Labour Party membership. Labour’s rank and file need to make sure that these MPs are not candidates in the next election. Corbyn shouldn’t have to tell them this; it should be obvious.

Now for Corbyn’s second problem: the media. The media have overplayed their hand; their virtual unanimity, along with their nitpicking on the smallest of details, has made them look deranged. What harm they could do, they have done, and there is little ammunition left.

Corbyn reminds me a lot of Canada’s New Democratic Party Leader, Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair lost the Canadian election, but he went into the election with a lead because he had proven again and again that he was a man of integrity, that he had principles he would hold to no matter what.

Corbyn is similar. He has principles, and he has stuck to those principles for decades, even when the path to success appeared to call for abandoning them. The fact that the media hates him is not an unalloyed negative–in fact, it positions him solidly as an outsider. This is a good thing when a huge chunk of the electorate is looking for somebody who does not have the approval of The Powers That Be.

As with Mulcair, I think that Corbyn is likely to have his chance to win an election. Likewise (as with Mulcair), either Corbyn can blow it, or his luck can turn (or both). But he should have a good shot.

This is extraordinarily promising. The old order is breaking down, due to the enforcement of austerity and their continued emphasis on war, when any fool can see that neither austerity nor war have worked.

The propaganda machine is failing. You can see it in the US, where the relentless demonization of Trump simply has not worked (don’t get me wrong, Trump is damn near fascist, unlike Corbyn). People are looking for leaders who don’t parse as tools.

This can be good, and it can be bad. In the 30s, Germany got Hitler, Italy got Mussolini, and America got FDR.

This time around, Britain has a chance to get Corbyn, a genuinely good and principled man. May they be lucky enough to do so.

And the elites in the UK should remember that Corbyn is the best deal they are likely to get. If they do manage to stop him, the next person who parses as independent of their whims, either from the right or left, will be someone who intends to bring them to heel, or liquidate them.

If you enjoyed this article, and want me to write more, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Jeremy Corbyn and the Syrian Bombing Vote


The Bitter Harvest of Failure: France’s Far Right Takes the Lead in Regional Elections


  1. I tend to disagree that the Oldham by election result was a resounding endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. The Labour candidate, Jim McMahon, was the leader of the local council and well respected locally for his drive, energy, and his ability to get things done despite the restrictions of a Tory central government.
    I’m not sure that Jeremy Corbyn even made an appearance in the constituency during the campaign, although he did turn up after the event.
    The only real opposition was a disorganised UKIP and in reasonably ethnically diverse community they were always going to struggle to get more than the older white and fearful vote. They have made a complaint about vote rigging but it looks like sour grapes.
    If Labour had lost then that would have been a resounding comment on Corbyn’s leadership, but I don’t think that holding a safe seat with a very good local candidate can be spun as “the UK loves Jeremy”

  2. johnm55: The problem was that they were all openly betting that at best Labour would win that seat by a small margin due to a Corbyn Effect. So no matter what they have egg on their faces. I tend to agree that it will be difficult for Corbyn to actually win in a general election because of the narratives that have been spread since the days of Thatcher. But the whining is just a little rich.

  3. Other important differences are that Mulcair is a staunch supporter of Israel’s apartheid and ethnic cleansing while Corbyn is not.

    Mulcair once praised Margaret Thatcher while Corbyn did not.

    Mulciar blithered about balanced budgets whereas I don’t think Corbyn will.

    Mulcair supported the F-35 boondoggle whereas I don’t think Corbyn would have.

    I think if Corbyn keeps saying what he’s always said, eventually the media’s screaming and the Conservative’s attempts to make fun of Marxists will blow away and the public mood will change in a positive way for Labour.

  4. Ian Welsh

    Yes, Corbyn has far better politics than Mulcair. Mulcair has principles, but he’s only slightly to the left, and is right wing outright on a number of issues.

  5. De castro

    Corbyn will make an excellent contribution to parliamentary debate/time on issues
    dearly British…culturally. He represents a lost generation of labour supporters since
    Tony b Liar exit and GordonBrowns unelected entrance and “bigoted” exit.
    Followed by a complete mismatch in bedfellows Cameron and Clegg.
    Now the buck stops at Cameron’s decisision making with Osbourne PM in waiting.
    Next election will depend on economic performance rather than political ideology.
    Early days…week month year ….long time in politricks.

    Anti war veteran
    Sir kamtan lord of cherin by appointment to HRH QE2 UKPLC

  6. I’m not sure that Mulcair was widely perceived as a man of long-held (social democratic) principles. He was recruited from the Quebec Liberal party, and is perhaps more plausibly to be viewed as one who abandoned (in a Blairite turn) the principles he inherited as leader of the NDP in favour of a third-way neoliberal electability. More Miliband that Corbyn, though the comparison is inexact.

    Had he stuck to those principles, he might well have been perceived as principled, and would very likely also be Canada’s Prime Minister right now. During this betrayal of perceived principle, his party fell from a pre-election polling high of 40% to 17-19% post-election.

    Now we have a neoliberal who may be with us for a long-time.

    A fuller exploration of these issues can be found at:

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén