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April 11, 2021

UK: An anti-establishment leader

The results of the ballot on September 12, destined to elect the new leader of the British Labour Party – won by Jeremy Corbyn,a Labour Party member of the Parliament with left-wing political views, uncommon for the traditional political establishment of the UK – generated an endless waves of reactions, most of them negative. From Twitter notes or posts on other social networks to articles in the media and analyses, Corbyn’s elections is considered a genuine failure of Labour Party voters, as everyone questions the orientation of the new leader, due to head UK’s second greatest party in the parliamentary elections of 2020 for the decision regarding the party that will manage the United Kingdom.
Thus, a great deal of attention and determination go into examining the anti-system “moves” exposed by the new leader as some question his loyalty towards the traditional institutions of the country. Notes on Twitter describe in the finest detail all public appearances made by Corbyn and give thorough interpretation to all his gestures: “The Leader of the Labour Party didn’t sing ‘God Save the Queen’ at a ceremony and left his top button undone” (Luke Savage), bloggers note the attack recently launched against Corbyn by Conservatives, the constant assault by the media but also comment on his disappearing of the public eye: “And yet, he is nowhere to be seen. The press are churning out their narrative about him and he has not bothered to counter it. So he will hardly be able to blame the public when they eventually believe it to be true.”
The same blog we had quoted considers, nonetheless, that this massive attack at the expense of the new leader – emphasis is put on the amplitude of the media mobilization, as well as that of the political establishment, rising to genuine hysteria – is a strategic mistake, as Corbyn opted not to answer: “The Tory attack actually gave Corbyn an easy win. He could appear on TV, speak reasonably and confidently, and pop this balloon of shrill hysteria which the press have been inflating. All the endless guffawing nonsense about national anthems and Communist bicycles and Trident would have looked like so much hot air. But he can’t do that, because he’s disappeared.”
It should be also mentioned, too, that the hysteria described above is opposed by a fortress of fondness that spreads from state Presidents – on Twitter, Argentinian President Christine Kirchner has posted: “Corbyn is a great friend of Latin America and shares, in solidarity, our demands for equality and political sovereignty.” to regular commenters that show overwhelming affection, especially concerning his recent speech in front of the Heads of British Unions. A proof of this affection is the fact noted on the Twitter account of “The Guardian”, that quoted the announcement made by the Labour Party leader: “Since Saturday (September 12, when he won the elections, editor’s note) afternoon 30,000 people have joined Labour, Corbyn says./…/ people says unions belong in the past. He spoke in the campaign at 99 events, he says. He brought people together with a sense of optimism and hope. They wanted to know things could be better”.
Beside this battle in the media, that has started at the beginning of August, as soon as the popularity of candidate Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party became obvious to everyone and turned into “hysteria” (see above) after his victory, we must identify the political stake. More precisely, what is there to be seen in installing Corbyn as Labour Party leader who, in case of victory of the national legislative elections due in five years, will be determined to become the Prime Minister of the Government, as a terrifying threat for the British political establishment. First of all, let us make a short introduction on this establishment, consolidated under Margaret Thatcher (started during the 80s of last century), defined by launching a few reforms that are still influential for economical neo-Liberalism, and which were also efficient during Tony Blair’s 13-year-long Labour Party governing, that bore strong Neo-Liberal accents, compared to previous left-winged Governments. Therefore, it is an establisment consolidated on Neo-Liberal economical and political values, which mean austerity today as far as the living standards of the majority of the population are concerned and a too frequently mentioned (by left-wingers) social inequality that must be stopped. It is an establishment that has electorally reproduced this year a new Conservative majority based on an unexpectedly harsh defeat of the Labour Party. It was predictable that the left-wingers would attempt to redefine themselves under these circumstances. But which are the parameters of this redefinition? Here, we have to examine a few analyses that are mostly objective. One of the articles we will quote (Edward Lukas, http://www.cepa.org/content/corbyns-idealism-does-not-help-europe), starts with harsh criticism concerning Corbyn’s economical orientation and declaring him as the most left-wing leader in the history of the country: “Jeremy Corbyn is the most left-wing leader in the history of the Labour Party. He is a possible prime minister of the United Kingdom. His antique and impractical views on economics are alarming enough.” and afterwards, goes on by focusing on Corbyn’s views on the international political environment (“still worse is his stance on foreign policy” ) . By example, as far as Russia is concerned – and the analyst insists on a few of the issues caused by the internal organization of this country, characterized as autocratic, but also on a few recent samples of international strategy (especially its treatment of its neighbouring Ukraine), the author shows that Jeremy Corbyn “has a blind spot when it comes to Russia. The Kremlin stands up to the West. The West is evil. Therefore the Kremlin is good.” And the analyst reminds that “The truth is a bit more complicated. Barack Obama wants to abolish nuclear weapons. Russia doesn’t. It regularly reminds the world that it has a nuclear arsenal and is prepared to use it. America is trying to wind down its military presence in Europe; Russia is rearming fast, with aggressive and secretive military exercises which aim to intimidate its neighbours.”. As far as NATO is concerned, Corbyn’s views, as well as those of his supporters, go once again against the system: “NATO is wholly to blame for expanding, and provoking Russia. They do not see that countries such as Poland and the Baltic states yearned to join NATO as soon as possible after the Soviet collapse precisely because they feared (presciently as it turned out) that someone like Mr Putin would one day rule Russia. Russia now bullies them, just as it does non-NATO Sweden and Finland, who are now urgently working out how and when to join the alliance.” Ukraine should not struggle to join NATO and the EU, the new leader declares, because “the West is a sham and a menace. Instead they should learn to love their destiny in Russia’s shadow.”
Another similarly worrying fact for the trajectory of the new Labour Party leader seems to be the orientation of the Continental partners of the Labour Party, now led by this leader who is against the system: “Some of Mr Corbyn’s bed-fellows are also left-wingers, equally crazed by anti-Americanism: Germany’s Die Linke, for example or Greece’s Syriza. But the Putin regime’s greatest fans in Europe are from an end of the political spectrum which sensitive Islington consciences find utterly repellent: the French National Front, Hungary’s racist Jobbik party, and the like. These types, thick of neck and rough in speech, yearn to wield power with Putinesque brutality.”
Obviously, this is a heated analysis, on the background of this anti-Corbyn hysteria developed overall by the UK media. There are nuances that need to be added regarding the orientations of the new Labour Party leader, as the lead target of electoral slogans and shocking positions regarding various international files are mostly targeted at gaining votes that could be earned from pro-system competitors, and are soon abandoned as the candidate gains the power, as it happened in various states. One thing that remains, though, is the reality that, in their main aspects, the approach and the agenda revealed by the new Labour Party leader justify the appreciation that he represents a genuine challenge to the present British establishment. As an analysis ran by “New Yorker” (http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-corbyn-supremacy) appropriately concludes, a few days after Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party: “Say what you like about Jeremy Corbyn, but his confounding rise to power, and the thought of what he might do with that power, has afforded Great Britain (…) its most entertaining and most Shakespearean plot in a long while. A nation awaits.”

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