Something about Jeremy Corbyn (2015), by Sean Gabb

11th September 2015

I suppose I should say something about the Labour leadership election. I will begin by saying that I did not register as a Labour supporter, and have not voted in the leadership election. I dislike any form of political cheating, and I do not think good will come of interfering in the internal affairs of opposition parties.

This said, I turn to Mr Corbyn. I have no reasonable doubt that he is an honest lefty. He appears to believe everything he says. What he says veers between the reasonable – ie, avoidance of yet another war in the Middle East and a de-escalation of our new cold war with Russia – to the stupid and dangerous. This includes the whole of his economic programme, which I cannot be bothered to discuss. I will add his opposition to freedom of speech and freedom of association, and his belief in purging every institution within reach of the State of anyone still there who is not politically correct. Nor will I forget his past support for the IRA.

But he is an honest lefty. He looks and behaves like a normal human being. He does not appear to be financially or sexually corrupt. Ask him a question, and he will answer it with what he thinks, and is indifferent to whether this will get him the vote of the questioner. In the British political landscape that emerged after 1979, and that has seemed a permanent fact since 1997, this gives him a great advantage.

To call his opponents liars would be to flatter them. They are low apparatchiks who believe nothing at all in the wider sense. They are neither better nor worse than the generality of British politicians. Watching them shrivel beside Mr Corbyn is like watching Nigel Farage dominate a Question Time panel.

This is the weakness of the current order of things in England. It is built on lies. It is still not absolutely hegemonic. It is not only staffed but also led by people without character. It is brittle. Perhaps Mr Corbyn will lose the leadership election. Perhaps it will be rigged against him. If he does win, perhaps he will be removed by various means. Whatever happens, though, he has shown the weak points in the Thatcher-Blair Settlement.

But suppose he does win, and is not removed. I suspect Labour will begin to revive – in Scotland as well as in England. People like sincerity, and there is enough in what he promises to attract wider support than from the Trotskyite fringe. The Conservatives who are now rubbing their hands will then have a problem. It will not be enough to be less economically illiterate. The Party leadership will need to start honouring some of the promises it has been making or implying for the past ten years.

That will be interesting.

© 2015 – 2018, seangabb.

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