Skip to main content

Foolish to write off Jeremy Corbyn

As I mentioned in my last article, I did not support Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party, but Jeremy Corbyn has already shaken the political establishment. He may not look like a Prime Minister in waiting, but he may change the face of British politics for the better - substance and passion may win out over spin.

He has an uphill task made more difficult by a hostile press and a puzzled media.  Here is a bloke who answers questions with some degree of sincerity.  When he doesn't know, he disarmingly says so. He has none of the slickness of the political elite. He is rough and ready in sound and appearance. Somehow, the political establishment have found themselves with an outsider.  Already they are writing him off, but I detect a bit of hedge betting.  Even the gainsayers have a niggling question - is he for real? The answer, of course, is yes.

Politics in Britain hasn't encountered a conviction politician at the helm of a major party since Margaret Thatcher.  It is worth remembering that Margaret Thatcher was rarely popular - more admired than liked by voters.  She won three general elections almost in spite of her own unpopularity.  In 1979 she had been consistently less popular than Prime Minister James Callaghan, yet her party won the election that year.

My feeling then is that Labour should not worry at this stage about a popularity contest with Prime Minister Cameron.  Leaders of the opposition rarely look 'like a Prime Minister in waiting' as the pollsters like to put it. How could they? What does a Prime Minister look like? Well, he/she looks like somebody who is prime minister.  Little wonder then that Leaders of the Opposition, unless they have been Prime Minister, are rarely judged to look Prime-ministerial.  The more this would be so for someone who bucks the trend and looks decidedly anti-establishment such as Jeremy Corbyn. No, he won't win on that kind of popularity contest. So what is the prospect?

The prospect for Labour depends I think on three things.  The first is whether  he can change the narrative of British politics.  The second is events.  For the first he can at least have a good try, and has made some progress in his first week.  The second he has little control over.  The third is party unity. He needs to develop a consensual approach which does not simply look weak. He will have to give up some of his positions to build that consensus.  His trick must be to do so without losing his unique strength.

I have warmed to Jeremy Corbyn. He appears to many as a genuinely nice bloke.  In these troubled times of politics that may be his greatest asset.  Just as many underestimated his ability to become leader of his party, so many might underestimate his resolve and strength of character to lead his party.  They would be advised to give him time and support.

The canvas of British politics has changed substantially since the financial crisis. A new picture is emerging. It would be foolish to write off Jeremy Corbyn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Palm Oil production killing the planet

Bad trade and bad products are killing our planet. We have said this before on The Thin End. There is no better example than that of palm oil. It is used ubiquitously in so many products, and its production is a major factor destroying rainforests and threatening precious species.

Demand for palm oil is 'skyrocketing worldwide'. It is used in packaging and in so much of our snack foods, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, instant noodles, cereals, and doughnuts, and the list goes on.
Bad for the planet So, why is this so bad for the planet?

The oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palms native to Africa. It is now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, but is also expanding across Central and West Africa and Latin America.

Palm oil production is now one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction, and this is impacting adversely some of the world's most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like t…

Nicotine exposure in pregnancy linked to cot death

Nicotine exposure during pregnancy, whether from smoking cigarettes, or nicotine patches and e-cigarettes, increases risk of sudden infant death syndrome – sometimes known as “cot death” – according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under 12 months of age occuring typically while sleeping. Failure of auto resuscitation, the ability to recover normal heart rate and breathing following gasping caused by lack of oxygen in the brain, has been recorded in human SIDS cases.



Smoking increases risk for SIDS Over the last decade, use of cigarettes has declined significantly, however, over 10% of pregnant women still smoke during pregnancy. Over recent years nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine patches or e-cigarettes, have been prescribed to women who wish to quit smoking during their pregnancy. However, nicotine replacement therapies may not protect infants from SIDS. 
With inc…

Maternal depression can impact child mental and physical health

Maternal depression has been repeatedly linked with negative childhood outcomes, including increased psychopathology.  Now, a new study shows that depression in mothers may impact on their children's stress levels,  as well as their physical and mental well-being throughout life.

In the study, published in the journal  Depression & Anxiety,  the researchers followed 125 children from birth to 10 years.

At 10 years old, the mothers’ and children’s cortisol (CT) and secretory immunoglobulin (s-IgA)—markers of stress and the immune system (see below)—were measured, and mother-child interaction were observed.
Psychiatric assessment  The mothers and children also had psychiatric diagnoses, and the children's externalising and internalising symptoms were reported.



Internalising disorders include depression, withdrawal, anxiety, and loneliness. They are often how we 'feel inside', such as  anger, pain, fear or hurt, but may not show it.  In contrast, externalising symptom…