The Labour Party in England has decided to move very far left by electing the socialist Jeremy Corbyn to its top slot. Why on earth would they put this unelectable commie in the leadership role? The following is an interesting article on what happened.
Does anyone see a comparison to Bernie Sanders and the Democrats?
5 takeaways on the Labour voteBe careful what you wish for.
By Mary Ann Sieghart
9/12/15, 1:38 PM CET
Updated 9/14/15, 10:36 AM CET
Over the past year or so, British politics has detonated bombshell after bombshell, laying waste to pollsters and pundits alike. There was the Scottish National Party landslide north of the border, the extraordinary victory by the U.K. Independence Party at the European elections, and then, of course, the wholly unexpected Conservative overall majority at the general election.
But nothing, nothing compares with this.
Not even Jeremy Corbyn himself would have dreamed six months ago that he would be leader of the Labour Party. There’s almost always a far-left candidate in these races, who is resigned to limping in last. Not for more than 35 years has he sprinted in first. So what can we take away from this contest? What does it tell us about the state of British politics and the future of the Labour Party?
1. For a time it looked as if Britain were relatively immune to the political convulsions that have occurred in Continental Europe since the financial crisis. No new parties, such as Greece’s Syriza or Spain’s Podemos, emerged. Even UKIP was nowhere near as successful as the National Front in France. There was an anti-Establishment, insurgent mood, but nowhere beyond UKIP for it to go. Now, it has been channeled into one of the mainstream parties, with unforeseeable consequences.
2. The mainstream candidates in this race were not just uninspiring — though they were — but bad at mobilizing too. Admittedly Corbyn had the help of the big trade unions, but he was also savvier at harnessing the new enthusiasm he aroused. He was the only one of the four leadership candidates to embed on his website the link that allowed people to sign up for £3 as registered supporters of the party and vote. Simple, really, but a sign that the other three were as poor at the mechanics of politics as they were at the message.
The moderate mainstream had better watch out now. The Left has always been more adept at machine politics: packing committees and changing party rules to suit their ends. In the 1980s, they did it with candidate selection, to get more left-wing members into Parliament. They also introduced mandatory re-selection of sitting MPs, allowing them to be chucked out by their own activists between elections if they didn’t toe the line. There’s been chatter that this might be brought back. If it is, the Labour Party will no longer represent voters on the center-Left and will become unelectable for a generation – an outcome that will dismay MPs, but not the people who voted for Corbyn and prefer principle to power.
3. Unlike in 1980, when the equally left-wing Michael Foot became Labour leader through a vote of his MPs, Corbyn has been elected against the wishes of his parliamentary party. He has only about 15 whole-hearted supporters in Parliament, which means that more than 90 percent of his MPs oppose him. He needs to appoint a Shadow Cabinet of 26 MPs, and about 70 more shadow ministers. Where will he find them? What will they say when they are asked on TV whether they think he will make a good prime minister? And will the 200 or so MPs who oppose him feel obliged to obey the party whip when they are led by a man who has until now been the most disloyal MP on their benches? This is likely to become an unleadable party, led by an unelectable leader.
4. The party is committed to putting power in the hands of the many not the few, but it is now in danger of mistaking the ardor of a few for the enthusiasm of the many. Only 0.5 percent of the British electorate voted for Corbyn. Yes, those who were motivated to sign up for this election were energized by his message, but the vast majority of voters, who only think about politics once every five years, are way to the Right of him. Yet another poll came out this week showing that Labour lost the last election because people didn’t trust it to borrow and spend responsibly. You can multiply those doubts a thousandfold now. As a result, a gap has opened up in the center of British politics. Once it was filled by Tony Blair, then by the Liberal Democrats. Now it is the Conservatives’ for the asking. The Tories have already recognized this and are touting themselves as the party of the workers. Expect them to occupy this ground very happily — and to scoop up the millions of voters camped there.
5. When Ed Miliband introduced these rules for the leadership election, he had a vision of a new politics that engaged the disenchanted, led to a new era of political participation, enthused the young and brought idealism and passion back to Westminster. He has achieved all that and more — but to what end? In politics, as in many other walks of life, you have to be very careful what you wish for.