Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory to become Labour leader has come as a shock to the Westminster bubble and the political Establishment.
Those who followed opinion polls and betting odds thought he might win but did not think it would be such an overwhelming victory.
I suspect – from anecdotal chats – that his victory is partly due to a unique revolt that spanned two generations and came together in a perfect storm to overthrow the political Establishment.
My generation – who are around the same age as Jeremy Corbyn – decided they were fed up to the back teeth of the Labour Party apologizing for its existence and assuming post Blair there is only one way to run a society.
We feel uneasy at the rapidly widening gulf between the rich and the poor, do not like to see public services denigrated, do see the value of a trade union, and don’t like the nasty politics that treat refugees as opportunists trying to get a slice of the good life.
We also yearn for proper debates about major issues – like should we renew Trident and what is the future of the NHS and the welfare state, how serious is climate change etc. At the moment this is never discussed because of a sickening consensus that the only way to solve anything is to get the rich to make even more money and bow to the international gods of global capitalism.
I know a number of people who looked at the Labour candidates and thought with the exception of Corbyn they sounded remarkably the same. So like the grandfathers and grandmothers we now are – the swinging sixties generation- decided they wanted a change. And they voted for a grandfather of the nation.
Young people who I have talked to came to a remarkably similar conclusion. The politically aware tell me they found conventional party politics “boring” with politicians too scared or too worried to say little more than political platitudes. They liked Corbyn because he said what he thought and cut through the crap.
They wanted someone who was going to challenge the status quo and was not part of the “posh boys” network. And furthermore they expect him – rather like the people who like Nigel Farage, to make mistakes. They prefer authenticity to smooth talking polished performers who never say anything meaningful. So they may not be put off by a campaign denigrating him. Indeed such a campaign could be counter-productive.
So far the reaction from the Tories has been hysterical with some like Michael Gove even claiming that Britain’s national security is now at risk with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm.
Really? I look forward to the first person to market a T- shirt saying “I am a national security risk” and for David Cameron to order his or her arrest for backing Corbyn.