Left & right fear Corbyn victory due to wider appeal beyond leadership ballot

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
Jeremy Corbyn © Darren Staples
Thus far in the Labour leadership contest there have been some interesting reactions from both the left and the right. Jeremy Corbyn as the potential leader of the opposition to government is one thing; the potential leader of Britain is quite another.

There have been accusations leveled at anyone expressing any measure of support for the Islington North MP - labels and hoots of derision and all the usual slurs. But you get the feeling that it’s actually Jeremy Corbyn’s electability, and possible wider appeal beyond the Labour leadership contest, that is really frightening many inside the Labour Party, and many others on the so-called left and right.

Corbyn’s detractors are speaking the language of fear. The fact that Tony Blair was presented in desperation, in some kind of grotesque deluded gesture, by the loyal factions of New Labour, to warn of the dangers of a Corbyn victory, pretty much sums up the ideological split that is occurring within the Labour Party. It was an absurd spectacle, watching one of the chief architects of the New Labour project, plea for the life of New Labour.

Only if we as a human species wanted to go backwards would we listen to the advice of Tony Blair. If Corbyn supporters need a ‘heart transplant’ for putting their faith in Corbyn, then Tony Blair should consider reincarnation, before being asked to be taken seriously ever again by the British public. He and the New Labour tribe must underestimate the level of contempt that the majority of the public holds him in. The many thousands of pounds he now makes giving speeches - and advising terrorists - must have severed his connection with reality.

Blair and a string of other predictable advocates of Thatcherite/Blairite economic policy have come out in force, united, all doing their utmost to dissuade people from voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

But many thousands of others of course have come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

And the counter reaction to this groundswell of support for Corbyn is clearly one of a bewildered terror. This was not part of their script.

The last-minute nominee and veteran anti-war campaigner was not meant to get this far. Things have gone beyond a joke as far as many in Labour are concerned. If the prospect of a leader who actually represents the interests of the labor movement becoming the leader of the Labour Party scares the establishment, the idea of him becoming leader of the country must terrify them. They must be losing plenty of sleep.

It may seem a far off prospect, and the next general election is a way off, but as we know, unforeseen events outside the political world can often reshape and transform the political landscape very quickly. Even the fact that Corbyn himself has gone from the outside bet to frontrunner in the race in a matter of weeks is surely an example of how quickly political waters can become unchartered territory. It’s not impossible that Corbyn’s rise to Labour leader favorite could result in him becoming prime minister.

And if Britain sent a signal to the world that it rejected neo-liberalism and capitalism, nowadays slickly known as ‘modernizing’, what would be the impact?

The financial oligarchs of Europe are already having to deal with the Greeks’ rebellion, with the added prospect of other leftist movements which have taken shape across Europe. Greece tried to reject the deal offered to them from the same hands which caused word economic meltdown. Britain has so far accepted ‘austerity’, the center ground having supposedly shifted to the right. But if the British people, as citizens of one of the founding nations of capitalism and empire resoundingly reject George Osborne and David Cameron’s economic slavery in the form of electing Jeremy Corbyn, what message would that send to the rest of the world?

Britain with a leader who was anti-war and who believed in supporting the rights of the working poor, and was against the selling off of public services is a dangerous prospect for some.

Now we begin to understand the root of much of the fear of Corbyn.

The ruling class, or whatever you wish to call it, cannot afford to have Corbyn’s name on the ballot paper at the 2020 general election, no matter how slender his chances might be of winning-and they might not be so slender.

Whatever the limitations might be, however much we acknowledge that Corbyn would still be part of an imperial party, his winning the Labour Party leadership, would nonetheless signal a big shift in British politics.

If the shift was enough, one might argue, that a galvanized Corbyn campaign, which clearly has an ability to reach out to the grassroots and many young people, could create a foundation for the future. Fresh off such a victory, whatever the fate of the Labour Party in its current form, Corbyn seems to sincerely want to build a movement beyond the Labour leadership race, whatever the outcome in September. Whether he can or not remains to be seen, we should surely support his efforts to do so.

Corbyn’s detractors have missed the point. They fail to understand the appeal of Corbyn to many voters, who far from being deterred by the slurs being thrown at them, will only see them as vindication that Corbyn represents a break from the sharp right that Labour took in Blair’s decision to ‘modernize’ the Labour Party, following in Thatcher’s footsteps with the Tories.

Continuing the attacks in the run up to the election in September is the worst thing the ‘Blairites’ could do. The right wing supporting Corbyn, under the assumption that Labour will implode is equally foolish. Polls can only tell us so much. They didn’t predict Corbyn would get this far. Underestimating him might prove one of the biggest political miscalculations of modern times. People are hungry for something different. Corbyn is the only candidate capable of offering it with any measure of sincerity.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.