Sunday 23 July 2017

Jeremy Corbyn: A lost election that still rocked the political consensus

Briatin's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Briatin's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn REUTERS/Marko Djurica

"Human progress has never been shaped by commentators, complainers, or cynics. Progress is forged by the courage of the change-maker."

Jeremy Corbyn won a larger share of the vote in the UK election than Tony Blair, who is quoted above fighting back against his critics.

The Labour Party lost the election - but in reality they pulled off a shock that ranks alongside Brexit itself and Donald Trump in the US.

Derided by the media, looked down upon by most of his own MPs, and perceived as a friend of terrorists, Jeremy Corbyn still managed to ignite the interest of a passive youth vote.

The 68-year-old was supposed to be an outsider with a DIY approach to politics who simply couldn't be trusted to negotiate a Brexit deal with polished leaders of the EU27.

Yet he struck a chord with a country that appears to be unsure about itself. In the same way that Mr Trump exercised a population that felt isolated by those with power, Mr Corbyn exploited Theresa May's lust for total dominance.

He preached at rallies about hope, ending austerity and providing free education. The trade unionist crank offered himself as a man "for the many, not the few".

The legend of Jeremy Corbyn preceded him everywhere he went but gradually people began to see something different.

He was actually an MP that ordinary people could relate to. There was no sense of privilege or expectation. He was the classic underdog.

Mr Corbyn played up that 'little guy', telling voters: "Labour is under attack because we are standing up to the elites who are determined to hijack Brexit, to pay even less tax, and to take even more of the wealth we all create."

At his campaign launch, he declared that the party had four weeks to "ruin" the Conservatives.

"Four weeks to take our message to voters to convince them Britain can be better. It can be transformed. It doesn't have to be like this," he said.

Mr Corbyn called out to disenfranchised voters who felt powerless against "the tax cheats, the rip-off bosses, the greedy bankers".

And while the ground war was somewhat distorted by the British media, it was actually Mrs May who handed him his first big win.

By offering an effective walkover at the TV debate, the prime minister ensured that Mr Corbyn came out on top.

Mr Corbyn wasn't without his 'viral moments', though.

He flopped on radio when asked how much Labour's childcare policy would cost.

And after the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London changed the discussion to security issues, his inability to offer outright condemnation of groups like the IRA was hard for many to stomach.

But the youth vote turnout proved extraordinary.

Close to 250,000 registered to vote.

Clearly they care little for the views of the media in Britain or the precon-ceptions of the elite.

Irish Independent

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