The Corbyn Phenomenon – Mainly Macro

Jeremy Corbyn's detractors need to start accepting that they are on the wrong side of the argument; Labour's membership wants a party of conviction - not one that goes any way they wind blows.

Jeremy Corbyn’s detractors need to start accepting that they are on the wrong side of the argument; Labour’s membership wants a party of conviction – not one that goes any way they wind blows.

Detractors of Jeremy Corbyn are pushing hard to discredit him any way they can – see yesterday’s article on Alastair Campbell for an example. But the arguments put forward by these critics lack depth.

In his latest article, Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has been exploring whether the Corbyn phenomenon also lacks depth or if there is indeed something to it. It is perceptive in that it examines the issues rather than the personalities, and exposes weaknesses that we all knew existed in Labour policy – but that some of us choose not to acknowledge.

Well, it’s time to acknowledge them! This is only an excerpt from the article and you are heartily advised to visit Mainly Macro for the rest of it.

Whether Corbyn wins or loses, Labour MPs and associated politicos have to recognise that his popularity is not the result of entryism, or some strange flight of fancy by Labour’s quarter of a million plus members, but a consequence of the political strategy and style that lost the 2015 election. They should reflect that if they are so sure they know what will win elections, how come they failed to predict the Corbyn phenomenon. A large proportion of the membership believe that Labour will not win again by accepting the current political narrative on austerity or immigration or welfare or inequality and offering only marginal changes to current government policy. On economic policy in particular they need to offer reasons for voters to believe that there are alternatives to the current status quo of poor quality jobs, deteriorating public services and infrastructure, and growing poverty alongside gross inequality at the top. That means, whether he wins or loses, working with the Corbyn phenomenon rather than dismissing it.

It is nonsense to suggest that the Labour party membership has suddenly become markedly more left wing than it used to be. Corbyn’s popularity has much more to do with how the party in parliament has responded to both election defeats.

The reaction of most of the parliamentary party to the 2015 defeat seems to be that the pre-2015 strategy was right in principle but had just not focused enough in placating the marginal English voter, which they believe means more appeasement and shifting further to the right. The party membership seems to have reacted very differently to the 2015 defeat. The membership appears to believe that the pre-2015 strategy has clearly failed, and it is time to start talking with conviction about the issues you believe in. This is exactly what Jeremy Corbyn does: he is a conviction politician, who is not prepared to try and be someone else to win votes.

If Labour is to have any hope in 2020 it has to start attacking Osborne’s unnecessary and obsessive austerity, as well as getting the past history straight. There are also reasons for thinking that the power of deficit fetishism for voters will steadily decline. In that sense, on this issue and perhaps others, Corbyn seems to have an advantage.

Source: mainly macro: The Corbyn Phenomenon

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12 thoughts on “The Corbyn Phenomenon – Mainly Macro

  1. Neilth

    Excellent article and I pretty much agree with it all. But what it doesn’t say is that Corbyn is the best candidate for leader.
    A political leader of a broad party needs particular qualities. What evidence is there that Jeremy has those qualities? And before you say it – I would ask the same question of the other two serious candidates. (Kendall could only have been nominated as an early April Fool).
    Whatever the outcome of this election the winner would be stupid not to take account of the spectrum of opinion as evidenced by the votes.
    There is a clear message from the members that we do not support this Tory lite, afraid to upset our opponents tendency that has evolved from New Labour.
    There are some people on the right who we can never talk to so why worry about them (apart from the fact that they own the media).
    We must strengthen our own natural support from which we get our membership and talk (and listen) to those we should expect to attract.
    We need to stick to our principles and be assertive and clear in what we say.
    People are fed up with political speak where representatives are afraid to give unequivocal answers.
    The appeal of Farage was that he appeared to give straight answers to questions (even if the answer changed the next time he was asked). People were fooled into thinking he was ‘straight talking’.
    The message though is clear. People want straight talking and that seems to be Corbyns way of speaking which, I believe, is one of the main reasons he is garnering so much support.

  2. Geoff Reynolds

    Corbyn is the catalyst to get Labour back to it’s roots. It needs him to steer the party back too Labour values for the ordinary family in any town any street. Which is where the party should be, and not being cosy voting partners with the Tories who are damaging the ordinary folk of this country in any town and street, but looking after the multimillionaires at the same time. Come on Labour, we’ve had enough of this treatment here on the ground, while you are cossetted in Westminster we have to live 24/7 in the Thatcher Museum. Get real get Corbyn to guide the party back, looking after the majority of voters in this land.

  3. mohandeer

    Enjoyed Mainly Macro. JC’s appeal is to both young and old and I suspect that the age for voting will remain unchanged if Corbyn should win the LP election. The Tories will not want to change it and neither will the elitist majority in the LP, precisely because so many of the youngsters are listening to this “man of the people”. I don’t want to remain in the EU, I don’t want fracking and I don’t want Trident – but hey, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I do want the ability to trade worldwide without restrictions by the EU, I do want the bank regulations restored in order to avoid another bank collapse, I do want tightening of the Tax rules, again 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
    How unfortunate then, that the current LP does not represent even the two out of three I consider important to me, but who am I? Well according to the current LP – nobody of any worth, so be it.

  4. Daniel Margrain

    Channel 4 News chief political commentator has made a similar set of arguments and claims that the entryism argument of the Corbyn critics just doesn’t hold any water.This seems to me to be an obvious truism.

  5. Gusman Jones

    If we had voted with our convictions, instead of ” for more money and a new car” (Rory Bremner), The Greens could have romped it,I would like to think we are not voting Corbyn in, hopefully, to win elections, but to give the UK a more equitable, inclusive (tall order) society. He’s been quiet on the whole peado thing though?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      “The whole paedo thing” isn’t an issue on which his policy differs from that of anybody else in the Labour Party, though, is it?
      If you’re referring to claims that he was part of a cover-up, can you prove that the allegations about crimes in his constituency were true, that he knew they were true and that he didn’t do everything he could to have them investigated and properly concluded? I can’t.

      1. Gusman Jones

        I wasn’t implying anything, just, unlike his maybe deputy, he hasn’t been, as far as I’m aware, I’m sure you could correct me, particularly vocal on the subject , and Oh yes they’re all at, or ‘historically’. This subject negates any discourse about democracy, about partisan politics, when ‘institutions’ are blackmailing members of the Government and judiciary, democracy IS an illusion. I’m voting Corbyn, Green last election, I’d like to be optimistic but maybe what’s the point?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The fact that you want him, Tory hayfords, should be enough to turn more people to Corbyn.
      If you think you’re doing a clever double-bluff, think again; people don’t want Burnham, whether you support him or not.

      1. hayfords

        I don’t support any of them as I vote Conservative. I would prefer Corbyn though as he would benefit my party choice more. I have been a voter since 1967 and seen all the changes including Wilson, the breakaway SDP, the joining of SDP and Libs (the silly party), three day weeks, the Thatcher era. I have been fairly accurate in my predictions. I had a nice bet on the last election where I predicted one seat for UKIP and a clear majority for Cameron.

        Corbyn looks like winning and it is going to be a disaster for Labour. The reasons are numerous and too many to list. I am in two minds about that. I am very pleased as a Tory voter (that is not double bluff), but I don’t see it as beneficial to parliamentary democracy. There will be little real opposition due to infighting and lack of unity. A leader is unlikely to survive without the backing of the PLP.

        All methods of electing leaders are fraught with problems. I prefer the Conservative method, where the MPs choose a short list which is then put to the rest of the wider party. That method unfortunately removed Ken Clarke from the short list due to his pro European views. However, it has the advantage that the winner has the backing of his party’s MPs.

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