Well, well, well.

By Garry Knight (Jeremy Corbyn No More War.jpg Jeremy Corbin) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
So – it’s Jeremy Corbyn.

I voted for him so I guess I must be pleased, but I am somewhat nervous too.  Interesting times.

Today is the first time I have ever woken up knowing that the leader of Labour Party has politics some way to the left of my own. It’s a strange feeling.

It seems to have escaped the notice of some commentators and most Labour MPs that things are changing.  Something is afoot!

Those who are describing the Corbyn arrival as the shortest suicide note in politics (Matthew d’Ancona), or those who have taken their ball away already, seem to have neglected to notice that the Labour Party was wiped out in Scotland a few months ago by a more radical political party. Even by a party with the word ‘National’ in its title after Scotland had, somewhat narrowly, voted against independence.

And those same people seem unable to get their heads around the fact that the Corbyn victory in the Labour leadership election was stunningly overwhelming. Not a damn close run thing in any sense – a massacre of the old New Labour by the new Old Labour.  A democratic massacre which extended across the trades unions, the party membership and the £3 supporters (any Tories who signed up for £3 could have saved their money – we were all heading that way anyway).

labourRarely has the clearly and strongly voiced view of a large electorate been so criticised by those who claim to be part of the same movement! Funny really isn’t it?

We weren’t given many options really, were we? Andy Burnham seems to lack any strongly-held views, Liz Kendall is Tory-light and Yvette Cooper, sadly, only showed some of her personality late in the day.  It was impossible to see any of them as an effective Opposition leader and even more impossible to see any of them as a Prime Minister.  Their leadership qualities seemed  non-existent – it’s impossible to follow a leader who doesn’t know where they are going.  All three of them, Ms Cooper to a lesser extent, seemed to spend more time talking about winning the next election than they did about right and wrong. All demonstrated their lack of fitness for the job and so we were left with the dark horse, Jeremy Corbyn.

But how could one vote for someone who has strong beliefs? How could one vote for someone who has remained faithful to those beliefs when they were (as some of them still are) unpopular and unfashionable? How could one vote for someone who had not sought the top job and seemed slightly bemused by the possibility that he might get it? And how could one vote for someone whose team developed a brilliant campaign that left the other candidates talking more about him than themselves?

How could one? Pretty easily because these all look like good leadership attributes that could come in handy when deployed against Gideon Osborne in four years time.

The challenge for Corbyn is to unite the parliamentary party or to replace the disaffected with better material for the future.  He may fall flat on his face. He may be brilliant. We’ll see.

Two things are certain though. The other three candidates were not up to the job. And Corbyn has just romped home in an election – Labour needs someone who can do that in just under five years’ time.

We’ll see.


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19 Replies to “Well, well, well.”

    1. yes - he published a manifesto on the environment

  1. Speaking as a life long green voter, my impression is that JC is the most promising big party leader the UK has seen so far, at least from the point of view of the environment. We'll just have to wait and see but hopefully in a shorter timescale that you anticipated in Inglorious, hen harriers may be sleeping more safely in their roosts.

  2. No surprise that so many voted for a man who is clearly sincere in his beliefs and who expresses them calmly in some detail. The only sincerity on show from the previous and present members of Gov occur when they make gaffes on mikes that they thought are off!

  3. I'm probably best described as left-wing but not strongly so, which I deduce is probably your position also. Nevertheless, it was Corbyn for me by a country mile. The choice was between three candidates who all gave the impression that if one didn't like their policies, well, they had others - and one who gives the strong impression of having principles whether they are liked or not. I'd much rather see someone with principles as leader over someone whose policies are dictated by what he thinks will get him elected.

    I do rather like a lot of what Jeremy stands for; I don't think privatisation has done a lot for the railways for example, and would much rather see them back in public hands with profits reinvested in the infrastructure or used to bring down ticket prices. On the other hand, our membership of the EU is important to me so there we differ. But I refuse to subscribe to the 'Chicken Little' theory of politics where Corbyn's leadership will cause the sky to fall; whatever views he holds, he'll have to carry his party with him to make them into policy and thereafter he'll have to convince Parliament to convert them into law. The next few years are going to be interesting!

    One factor that hasn't been much talked about is the effect on the Green Party. If Labour moves to the left they will incorporate a lot of Green policies into their own which will leave the Greens feeling a bit naked. I look forward to the Greens returning to a purely environmental position as a specialist minority rather than trying to incorporate policies on everything under the sun when in reality they have no chance of ever forming a government to cry them out. And I write that as one who voted Green at the last election. I also look forward to a Green leader who can open his or her mouth without putting her foot in it!

  4. Well I am nervous but no more than I would have been with any of the others.On the good side he cannot surely be worse than the last three Labour party leaders,that is almost impossible.
    My serious worry is that it is allright being against austerity we would all like to say that but the country has to stand on its feet economically.
    I suspect he will tone down some of his long term things that even die hard Labour supporters think a bit much.
    All in all my reaction is very good luck to him.I hope the party get behind him because I believe there is no party unity behind him just talk of it and seems some will not serve under him,how weak is that,surely if they are MPs they should serve the party in any capacity they are asked to do.
    Wake up Labour politicians this is democracy at work that you have preached for so often.
    Oh by the way I actually think there is now a better chance for Labour to win the next election than if any of the other three had been made leader.

    1. Economic credibility is crucial otherwise any party fails, sadly or through necessity the bottom line is that a large proportion of the population is primarily concerned with money related issues.

      If they must persist in dolling peerages out, then be upfront & sell them to raise revenue, at least being open about it would provide credibility than the political party patronage system. Make them limited term so that there would be a regular income source (debate how many terms the mega rich or corporate associates would be allowed to purchase).

      That would take place after we've drastically cut the incredulous numbers in the second house as well as a reasonable number from the Commons.

      Review all agri-welfare subsidies what ever their source. Re-direct to real conservation projects which are not quasi associated.

      Ensure new housing is as carbon neutral as it can be. Stop subsidising foreign energy companies under the guise of sustainable energy, will they clean up any radioactive pollution / contamination, about as likely as the fracking companies taking resposibilities for any consequences of their dash for cash?

  5. Great to have the Leader of a major political party being vegetarian.'Views on the environment'? - ahead of the crowd judging by what goes in his mouth

    1. Well said, Carol!

      Many - if not all on the electoral register? - will have received an email from JC last night, eliciting questions for him to put at PMQs.

      I have suggested the banning of driven grouse shooting would be an idea.

      Not many MPs ask the PM anything about animals/the environment - Caroline Lucas excepted, of course.

  6. Mark, interesting and exciting times ahead. Like you, I am curious to see how this pans out. However, I feel using Gideon when referring to the Chancellor demeans you and is a cheap shot used by too many. Keep the moral high-ground and attack the bloke for his policies and not because he does not like a name he had no say in choosing.

    1. It's great and entirely appropriate that a discussion of the Labour leadership election appears in a blog about standing up for nature. Lets not forget that it was a Labour government that gave us the legal apparatus for doing conservation in the UK, and a Tory government that is trying to dismantle it, or turn it into a cash hand out for friends.

      I think Corbyn's attitude to the environment can be inferred from his decision to spend this morning at an NHS Mental Health Trust Fun Day instead of an interview with Andrew Marr. The fun day, based in St Pancras gardens will have made much of the links between nature and mental health, and the need for communities to come together to make a better place.

      Labour can knock the environment hating Tories at the next election, but only if they rediscover community activism and local democracy. Conservation can only be achieved with that too (think of the technocratic failure that is the ERDP). Corbyn was the only candidate who recognised and campaigned on the democratic deficit facing our country.

      Like the rest of us, I am anxious about the road ahead, but we need everyone to come together and support a movement to topple the Toxic Tories once and for all.

      ...and "Gideon" is the most apt name to use for Osborne. It means "destroyer", whereas George means "earth-worker" - a most inappropriate apellation.

  7. Yes, odd times indeed.
    Where will it all end? Politicians with principles? Party's run by the membership-enacting the membership's voice? Real compassion for the old, weak and downtrodden? Enforcing legislation against wildlife crime? Protecting the environment?
    Corbyn is indeed a threat the the (political) nation!

  8. Corbyn recently published a position paper on "rural" policies - which is interesting in itself (did we hear anything remotely rural from the other 3 candidates?). Here it is


    It is pretty thin on nature or the natural environment. But there is one note of promise -

    "We will also always ensure that both British farmers and British taxpayers get a fair
    deal out of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and that people and businesses
    in rural communities see the full benefit of the rural development policy. As it stands,
    taxation from Europe’s citizens is subsidising the incomes of some of the continent’s
    wealthiest landowners, including our own. Subsidies need to go to farmers engaging in
    the most ecological sustainable practices, not those with the largest landholdings."

  9. Mark - you are so right! The Labour Party has to move. It has been in a paralysed state for the last 7 or 8 years. The Blair regime which moved the party to the right is now very discredited, so where else is there for the party to go but left and back to the old values?

  10. Anyone would think, given the complainants to the right of the party, that Labour had won the last two elections. They cannot comprehend that Corbyn's election gives Labour a clear and distinct difference from the Tories. It is one that appeals to young people, environmentalists and a host of disparate disadvantaged groups as well as Labour stalwarts. To hear the old Blairite voices bemoaning democracy and hankering after the unsuccessful succession policy is bewildering. They are deluded.

    If people choose not to vote for a Corbyn-led Labour Party at least they will know what it is they are voting against. Funny though, "The One Show" on Friday night introduced a piece with a complete misrepresentation of Corbyn's fiscal policies and then went on to a vox pop in Guildford in which every person shown agreed with Corbyn's policies until they were told whose policies they were. Showing that Tories vote from fear and ignorance.


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