Jeremy Corbyn and the Magic That Failed

By   /   April 20, 2017  /   41 Comments

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POOR OLD JEREMY CORBYN. He must know that the worse he does on 8 June the better most Labour MPs will like it. Indeed, an absolutely disastrous performance by Labour in the forthcoming UK general election is about the only outcome likely to convince the rank-and-file “Corbynistas” that their brave experiment has to end. They tried, and then tried again, to impose a left-wing leader on a right-wing caucus. Couldn’t be done.

POOR OLD JEREMY CORBYN. He must know that the worse he does on 8 June the better most Labour MPs will like it. Indeed, an absolutely disastrous performance by Labour in the forthcoming UK general election is about the only outcome likely to convince the rank-and-file “Corbynistas” that their brave experiment has to end. They tried, and then tried again, to impose a left-wing leader on a right-wing caucus. Couldn’t be done.

The diehards will resist this bleak conclusion. “The ‘New Labour’ brigade imposed Tony Blair on what was still a left-wing party,” they’ll object, “and that worked.” Of course it did! Because taming the left-wing Labour Party was in the interests of the British ruling-class. And didn’t it show! What did people think when Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun came out for Blair’s New Labour Party? That the media baron had had a Road-to-Damascus conversion to democratic socialism? No, of course not. It simply meant that it was now possible to swap around Britain’s two main political parties in perfect safety.

It’s like stroking a cat. If you stroke it the way the cat likes it – from its head to its tail – then puss will purr and smooch. But, if you stroke it from the tail to the head – against the natural set of its coat – it will claw your arm to ribbons.

And that is, of course, what the British Establishment has done to poor old Jeremy. It’s torn him to ribbons. And when I say the British Establishment, I mean the entire British Establishment. Because it hasn’t just been The Times and The Telegraph, The Sun and The Daily Mail that have bagged Corbyn; it’s been The Guardian, The Observer and The Daily Mirror as well. And just about every left-wing pundit, every former Labour leader, and all but a handful of Labour MPs have joined in the kicking. The poor bugger never stood a chance.

It could all have been so different if, by some weird political magic, the British Labour Party caucus had emitted a long sigh and said: “Well, bugger me! We did not see that coming. Jeremy Bloody Corbyn. Only signed his nomination form to give the loonies someone to vote for. Who knew there were so many of them! Still, we set up the voting system, so we all have a moral obligation to live with the result – no matter how utterly bizarre and unexpected!”

If they had done that. If the most knowledgeable and talented of Corbyn’s colleagues had gathered around him, shook his hand, and offered him the benefit of their many years’ experience as ministers, whips, economic number-crunchers and handlers of the media, how very much more competitive Labour would now be looking.

Instead of a frail old lefty: hollowed out by stress and lacking in anything remotely resembling the confidence that all leaders simply must have in order to instil confidence in the electorate; the British voters would be cheering on the easy-going and transparently genuine idealist that Labour’s new three-quid-supporters had applauded in town halls and community centres up and down the country in 2015.

Except, of course, that same weird magic would have had to have transformed hard-line Blairites into fire-breathing champions of the sort of economic and social policies promoted by Tony Benn in the early 1980s. Neoliberalism would have had to have been chucked, unceremoniously, into the dustbin of history – and not just by the erstwhile followers of Tony Blair, but also by every left-wing and centre-left political journalist with a pass to the Palace of Westminster. Everyone from Polly Toynbee to Andrew Rawnsley. Along with their editors and publishers.

Even then it’s unlikely to have been enough. Not unless the magic extended to the hearts and minds of what used to be called the British working-class. The ordinary voters of England, Scotland and Wales would need to have heard Corbyn’s promises to re-nationalise the railways, scrap the Trident missile system, and restore the NHS to health – and cheered themselves hoarse.

But they didn’t do that, did they. They were too busy spitting on beneficiaries and Muslim immigrants and Polish builders. Too ready to listen to the racist rantings of Nigel Farage. Too caught up in some Mel Gibson fantasy of William Wallace sending proud Edward’s army homeward to think again. Too raddled with the rancid values of reality television to recognise – let alone receive – the holy ‘Spirit of 45’ which Corbyn was offering. Perhaps if the Labour leader had sung ‘Jerusalem’ on Britain’s Got Talent they would have heard him. Perhaps not. The British proletariat, which had once marched proudly behind Labour’s red flag, has moved beyond the reach of even the most powerful political magic.

Which is why Corbyn’s caucus enemies will, for the next seven weeks, form an orderly queue behind their despised leader so that, one by one, day after day, they can stab him in the back. And when he’s down, and the Tories’ Teresa May has gone back up to Number Ten, then Corbyn’s dwindling band of comrades will whisper quietly and tearfully and finally:

“Jeremy, it’s time to go.”

And everything will return to normal.

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  1. Francesca says:

    I’d love for you to be wrong Chris
    I’d love an almighty upset, but as you say, the people who should be Corbyn’s supporters have had their anger deflected on to beneficiaries and immigrants and other targets kindly identified for them by an agenda driven media.

  2. andrew says:

    People like Corbyn and Sanders are dinosaurs surviving on after the asteroid of modern economics hit the planet.

    There is only one game in town now, and it’s not socialism.

  3. Siobhan says:

    “Jeremy, it’s time to go.”

    And everything will return to normal.

    well, thank goodness for that eh Chris…back to the good old neoliberal new labour centrist policies that have worked so well for Labour…..

    ‘Normal’ wtf.

  4. Olwyn says:

    It still remotely possible that Momentum will seriously mobilise and Labour, with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, perhaps with the support of SNP, will win. Then he will have the problem of trying to implement his policies in the face of the same hostile establishment. This article, I think, hits the nail squarely on the head:

    When the right have all the power, gaining the government benches by itself is not enough to make a real difference. We need to organise ourselves with the intention of changing the power balance, and seeing the result of this reflected in parliament, rather than continuing to hope that good things will automatically happen if we vote for the most attractive set of policies, and feeling bitter and defeated when they don’t.

    • Gosman says:

      I love your blind optimism. The trouble is the people behind Momentum turn off a rather large chunck of the electorate hence why the Conservative party is on 45 % and UK Labour is on 25%.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        That is thanks to biased, poorly informing MSM that live from advertising paid for by business advertisers and their agencies.

        Democracy without informed voters is nothing but a fake democracy, it is empty, hollow and false, and serves only the interest of the ever so wealthy elite, who want to keep things as they are, or only change policies that favour them even more.

        You love it, because your preferred party ACT caters for the elite, and plays on the ignorance of some less fortunate people that may vote for them, even when they will gain stuff all for themselves, that is unless they are already rich and powerful.

        • Gosman says:

          The UK has a large an influential State controlled and non-commercial broadcaster along the lines of what many lefty want here. How come Corbyn can’t get his message across to them?

  5. Stuart Munro says:

    It’s this kind of depressive crap that from time to time earns Chris the reputation of being unreliable.

    • Andrew says:

      The truth hurts Stuart.

      Most likely Labour will be massacred and thanks to the FPP voting process their MPs will vanish from parliament in great numbers.

      One wonders if Labour will retain the status of official opposition.

  6. David Stone says:

    Cunning of May to give so little time to prepare. Jeremy’s best hope was that the grass roots would replace many of the Blairites during selections for the next election. This doesn’t allow time for the normal selection process, so the anti Corbynistas will remain.
    The dissatisfaction with the status quo hasn’t gone away though, and isn’t likely to. The grass roots basis for his promotion isn’t going anywhere . Recent local body elections etc that have gone against labour , and he has been blamed for have actually gone against Blairite candidates. Though it probably will not be a good election for labour, it will be interesting to see if Corbyn supporters do better or worse than the Blairites.
    D J S

    • andrew says:

      I wouldn’t exactly describe it as cunning. She saw the appalling results Labour got the previous day in the opinion polls, had an excuse for an election and took it.

      There is a law in the UK against calling early elections: The Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

      So Corbyn could easily have used that to block it, but no, the old fool said he welcomed the early election. This is a leader who is totally disconnected from reality. But that’s really no surprise because he acts like it’s still 1960. (Aldermaston March anyone?)

      Watch the Tory election machine dig into Corbyn’s past: He has previously been associated with a long list of evil thugs. They will bring out video material of him supporting odious tyrants and killers that no sane voter would wish to be associated with.

  7. Mike in Auckland says:

    With the kind of mostly biased, pro business, pro capitalist and pro consumerism mainstream media, that does itself depend on the advertising revenue paid by commercial business, we will not get the informed public that is needed for a functioning, empowering and true democracy.

    What is happening in the UK is also happening here in some ways, we have the MSM more or less determine who is “allowed” to get into government, just watch the likes of Paddy Gower warm up to their game, and we can see National returned for a fourth term.

    I wish this would not be happening, but going by the past record, that is quite likely to happen. The general public is indoctrinated that business is necessary and good, it employs most people, offers ‘opportunities’, is naturally self regulating, and it pays taxes also, besides of the wages and salaries of employees working in business.

    The state is scrutinised, that is for its fiscal and expected output performance, not much else, by the MSM.

    The stock exchange reports are almost as regular and frequent as weather and traffic reports, so the people consider that it is normal that everything is a commodity and traded.

    The minds of people have been manipulated to consider everything on its worth, that is money and similar benefit terms, and other essentials about life are put second or lower.

    Thus the MSM serves the interests of business and business serves the interests of the MSM, add Google, Facebook and other new internet online service providers, and there are more business interests that come into play, offering also huge potential for more mind reading and manipulation of the public.

    Most do not even notice this goes on, and live in total ignorance, day to day, as workers and ready consumers.

    As long as people feel in great enough numbers that the policy set of the day serves their material interest, e.g. pays an income, offers opportunity of whatever sorts, gives some basic security and enables them to survive reasonably or even better, they will not moan and complain and stick to what they have, and vote accordingly.

    The shift to the neoliberal right has occurred, and the consequence is that Labour and Greens follow the trend and look at that magic “centre” of voters, for whose support all major parties compete. This limits what they can do in policy, and we have already seen that there is not much clear and different policy being offered or discussed, so not to scare away business and its supporters and dependents.

    Bill English is already making announcements that are targeted at taking away the votes Labour hopes for, e.g. limiting immigration and options to get permanent residency. More will follow before and at the Budget reading in Parliament late in May.

    So Corbyn is set up to lose for Labour, they will purge the party from the left wingers, or at least silence them, and all will be back to the usual indeed.

    Here is stuff that every person should listen to:

    It tells us how elections will be fought in the future, using algorithms that analyse every citizen’s thinking and concerns and behaviours, as almost all now use the internet, including Facebook and Google.

  8. Kim dandy says:

    Again, it ain’t over til the fat lady sings… As with Trump, he was trashed in the media all the way through the election campaign, so one would think most people would of been swayed by the MSM – but obviously not. Who knows which people and from what walks of life will come out and vote in this snap election. Just wish NZ was having one too.

  9. Grant says:

    Is this the same Chris Trotter who predicted Corbyn would be rolled within 3 months of gaining the Labour leadership?
    Polls overwhelmingly showed a vote to stay in the EU by more than 80%.
    Result:-Less tHan 50%
    The parties not over till the fat lady sings.
    Teresa May has already lost a lot of votes by refusing to participate in TV debates and the campaign’s only just begun.
    She’s a political disaster in the making…

  10. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘And everything will return to normal.’

    Actually no because the entire fossil-fuel-burning, and creating-money- out-of-thin- air, and installing business-as-usual lackeys system is in terminal decline.

    Normal is having almost no access to fossil fuels….and that is most-assuredly where we are headed -which brings down industrial civlisation.

    And normal is a human population on this planet of below 100 million. Oops, population overshoot of about 7.5 billion, courtesy of agriculture and fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately the ‘normal’ of stable climate that was associated with the Halocene has been wrecked by gross misuse of fossil fuels, and the new climate normal is climate chaos, which is rather hostile to our current way of living. And the longer industrial humans do have access to fossil fuels, the worse the climate predicament becomes. There is no way out of the ‘progress’ trap at this late stage in the game.

    Just how the political establishment in Britain and the rest of the world is going to cope with the reality of terminal political decline and terminal environmental decline, plus energy decline will be the big story of the next decade, along with mass starvation and wars to control the last of the resources, of course.

    Jeremy will be better off out of it, enjoying retirement in what little time is left.

    A new record high for environmental destruction -courtesy Industrial Civilisation- and another 6 weeks of the current destruction season to go:

    Ah, but will all the Arctic sea ice be gone this year? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It’s certainly the lowest on record at the moment.

    As I said, Jeremy will be better off out of it.

  11. saveNZ says:

    Hope Corbyn wins. The UK is on a fast track to being a relic under the Tory’s.

    I don’t know why Britain did not do a 2nd referendum on Brexit. So many Britons did not vote – it would be a good for them to confirm this is the direction that the Majority of Britons want – because it is not clear at present.

    Under Neoliberalism, National identity has been lost. Thatcher’s dream of ‘no such thing as society, just individuals and families’ is becoming a reality under neoliberalism.

    The left are not helping themselves by mimicking the right wing one dimensional discourses on Nationalism is racism.

    People fight from Syria to the UK to NZ for a feeling of belonging and identity to a tribe that is National identity. The alienation from that under neoliberalism and globalism is creating a world where citizens are flotsam of little worth in some giant economic factory and can be replaced from another tribe if they can’t compete long and hard enough or if they get sick. That is what people are subconsciously fighting. Telling them to ‘retrain’, to keep being worth something is not exactly unconditional belonging.

    The beneficiaries and those deemed worthless have already been stripped from belonging, it’s the middle classes (not just the dwindling working classes) that are still fighting the sinking feeling that they have somehow become irrelevant to their government apart from for tax collection, in this global world.

    The social contract between taxes and redistribution has become hijacked into corporate welfare and cronyism. Asking for more taxes under this bloated system is asking for trouble. Better to take what there is and use it more wisely. Expensive white elephants in Britain is Trident at 200 billion pounds, Nuclear power built by the Chinese at 14 billion pounds – these comes to mind as useless technology that is inefficient in the modern world. At a time when people see their libraries close and their NHS in crisis and actually after Iraq and Fukushima disaster are very risky choices, when cheaper and more effective options are available.

    Corbyn needs to include the middle class in his rhetoric to win the election and be more inclusive of all, not just a sort of polarised 20th century view of poor vs rich with the new Polish builder having just as many rights (if not more!) than the worthless hopeless locals. (Bill English style). Wealth also needs to include quality of life. The polish builder has a country to go back to if he wants to, the “hopeless” UK citizen does not have that choice if they are rejected from society.

    If the UK Labour can unite a sense of belonging to be British in the global world and maybe offer a referendum to conclusively look at whether the majority of Britons are happy with the leave decision – not campaign under ‘more taxes’ but instead of a Britain that actually values British citizens and their democratic rights and not throw them under the bus for anybody else deemed more worthy – they could win.

    No one likes the Tory’s. But Labour has to say something for 50% of British voters to feel Labour will be better for them. And because those more marginalised are less likely to vote, the left need to win more people over.

    It’s the same in NZ.

  12. countryboy says:

    Speaking of cats. Cats are unique in that when they’re stroked correctly they raise, as if by magic, a flinging handle. When the flinging handle is gripped securely the flingor can elevate the cat to a sufficient height and speed and in a graceful arch via a fluid movement fling said cat into the next door neighbours back yard. If your neighbour is a Chinese restaurant, all the better. There’s only one way to rub a cat and that is, out.

    Re Labour et al.
    I think us, and our planet, is an organism and like all organisms our planet and us on it have a finite life span. Therefore, something’s gonna do us in.
    For us humans, and sundry other wee beasties it’s ageing, disease and/or laughing. I want to pre order the latter.
    The Right Wing is the disease from which we will all expire. They’re so mired in their own self righteous self aggrandising that nothing will shake their beliefs in themselves. They are, in effect , like Jesus Freaks, and other religious nutters too actually. Nothing can derail their feeble little minds on their two dimensional course. Nothing will ever expand the atrophied blob of fat that sits in their boney craniums. They will eat in the front and shit Mother Earth out the back because they’re the best an’ that. You see them here. The idiot trying to convert the intellectual down to their level of embarrassing stupidity.
    We’re like any chain. Only as strong as our weakest link and the Right are the weakest yet. They will do us all in. You wait and see.

    • Stephen says:

      Wrong Countryboy the left wing will do us in as they are a lazy bunch of bludgers who have no qualms about riding off the back of society.

      Eventually they will cripple the state as the left wing plan is to make as many people dependent on it as possible whilst the ever decreasing pool of those who contribute to the upkeep of society the hard working tax payer goes “sod it, what is the point of working and then getting taxed to give to all the left wing bludgers?”

      The left wing is the weak link as if they are so strong why are they so dependent upon state handouts? Strong people can support themselves and their loved ones.

      • Mike in Auckland says:

        So you are suggesting that those standing up for workers are nothing but “bludgers”?

        That is all one can read out of the blinkered BS you comment.

        It appears you would perhaps even tend to call those working on minimum wages “hopeless” and suckers, expecting the rich to pay taxes to subsidise their health care and education, as they cannot pay their own way.

        Gosh, the “strong people” must then be the ones at the very top, dining at the Langham Hotel, pissing it up, as they “earned” the high income and wealth they have accumulated, usually at the expense of others denied a living wage.

        You need to get back to basics, and appreciate every breath of air you still breathe, as your arrogance is breathtaking.

      • Stuart Munro says:

        These would be the same strong self-reliant people that cheat on their taxes and underpay third world workers.

  13. Marcus says:

    All the pollsters were sure that “Remain” would win in the Brexit poll, but what happened?

  14. Archonblatter says:

    What quaint old nostalgic ducks quacking up the scarce moving backwater of the left and the right. I fancy the lefty ducks may adapt to the new multi polar, survive the climate catastrophe normal than the purblind and fossilised righties in their Rip van Winkle nighties.

  15. debsisdead says:

    Tosh from a pickled in alcohol brain eh! Mr Corbyn is an outside chance in the election but both he and Seamus Milne have been preparing for a spring GE which is why the Labour Party supported terri’s motion for an early election. It required a two thirds majority and could have blocked.
    One of the reasons Mr Corbyn was so certain there would be a GE at this time was that brit establishment which had failed despite trying every crooked play in the book, to stack the Labour Party NEC with rightists, it was seen as vital by both halves of the creaky old UK Empire Party (made up of Labour’s right rump, the Libs plus the tories) to keep the numbers of decent honest humanists in Westminster as low as poss.

    But many of the ersatz left have resigned anyhow leaving space for a good local candidate to replace the usual members of the Oxbridge Parachute Club – whatever happens after the election the balance of power will have changed.
    Ask any voter up in Sunderland or wherever what pisses them off most about Labour and they will tell you they are tired of some posh sounding twat claiming to be one of them, but who cares more about the rights of lesbian puppeteers than they do about working people, getting foisted on them by the London based NEC as their next candidate
    It is highly likely that Labour will do far better than the polls predicted, chiefly because Mr Corbyn didn’t attempt to win the unwinnable argument over Brexit. Sure that won’t help in the South but Labour has been screwed in the South of England for a very long time and trying & failing to block Brexit wouldn’t have changed that.
    It will make a big difference in the Midlands & further North though where people loathe May and want to be able return to supporting Labour.

    Indeed the bulk of the close to 400,000 citizens who re/joined The Labour Party in the past 20 months hail from the Midlands and the North.
    They will be out in force over the next 6 weeks; May is praying that is too short a time for Mr Corbyn to build momentum (pun yeah) but as I said, the Labour left has been planning for this – including succession.
    If Mr Corbyn loses he will probably pull the pin and dub his successor That will also be decided by popular election rather than a quick G&T down the Oxbridge Parachute Club and the hundreds of thousands of committed left voters will replace Mr Corbyn with someone who is likely to be younger but no less of an honest humanist.

    The reason the brit media has been so venomous towards Trump has nothing to do with his policies which likely align with those held by Paul Dacre of the Mail, the brit media loathe him because he succeeded in by-passing the media gatekeepers.

    Owning a newspaper has been a pretty marginal business over the last 50 years; a bad return on investment unless one was into power broking – manufacturing consent for something as mundane as a new road or a privatisation – that is where a media magnate can really turn a quid, but both Trump & Mr Corbyn have fatally damaged that model.
    The fishwraps don’t want to believe it so they will pour bucketloads of shit like the column above on Mr Corbyn.
    The thing is the net has made voters wise to that, so the more abuse they tip on Mr Corbyn, the more hopeless they claim it to be, the more votes they will generate for him.
    Many fishwraps know this eg the Graun so they have been avoiding all mention of Mr Corbyn unless Peter Mandelson’s gang have set up a really top line lie.
    They cannot do that in an election campaign sure the graun will try and do nothing but white ant every statement & the transparency of purpose will stick out like dog’s balls.
    Even six weeks is gonna be too long for the news fakers.
    As I said Mr Corbyn may not win but he will do a helluva a lot better than Milliband or any of the other neolibs.

    • David Stone says:

      Great stuff Debsisdead
      Probably just the response Chris was hoping for.
      I don’t see why Corbyn will resign if they don’t defy all expectations and win though . A good win in electorates with a supportive candidate would be considerable endorsement. I don’t think he will resign until he feels that his multitudinous supporters no longer want him. It’s the unexpected justification of his life’s hitherto forlorn protestations. He didn’t suddenly attract 400 000 new members because he suddenly grew charisma. No one can guess his personality comes into it including himself. It’s his believability and consistency that must be what is working and I’m sure he knows that no-one can tell how transferring his leadership could work .
      D J S

  16. mosa says:

    This U.K election campaign is going to be one of the nastiest in recent memory with Jeremy Corbyn and a disabled child being targeted in a nasty attack.

    The next 6 weeks will be hell on earth for Jeremy Corbyn but he has the character to rise above it and keep fighting.

  17. hectorjones electrical says:

    The revolution of Corbyn and Sanders and you rely on ‘the art of the possible’ intrigues Chris? Just when you and I were proved right in our thin-thatched states. Revolution rather than politics; you’re too intense into the picture. You are the heir of Savage. You’ve been proved right. Blast m’man. Like my half- educated, half- intelligent, full- drive great-grandfather.

  18. Francesca says:

    Well according to the Telegraph, not only is the dastardly Vladimir Putin engineering an election in favour of Le Pen, but also influencing and mind controlling the public to vote for Corbyn (who incidentally can’t abide Le Pen)
    It’s well known that Putins reach is enormous, and his devilish powers are supreme, so Corbyn may very well win the election!