Back in 2015 we were all moving to Scotland. Ed Milliband had just suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of polish-faced Cameron. After years of austerity actually driving the deficit up, the British people voted for more of the same; the combined vote of blue, yellow and purple tories topped 50%, so even proportional representation would not have fundamentally changed the outcome.
Sorry, did I say British? I meant English; there was silver lining to the dark cloud that day; the SNP’s historic landslide North of the border, taking 56 of 59 seats, up from 6. In Scotland they actually had an opposition, an anti-austerity-anti-war party, and one with a track record to prove it. In Scotland, New Labour had been abandoned by the working class due to the Iraq war and ‘austerity-lite’. In Scotland, UKIP had made no inroads, and the Tories were seen as the sick joke they are.
“But if we emigrate, what kind of country will we have as a neighbour?” we wondered.
That depended very much on Labour: Milliband stepped down and a leadership election was triggered, and he was such an abject failure the new leader would have to be significantly different. Would they continue their march to the Right or tack Left? Would they continue chasing the marginals down South or would they secure the heartlands that, in an absence of anything resembling a program to defend majority interests, were being eroded by Tories, UKIP and worse? The former would surely be the end of any kind of hope for a decent future of the country (rUK), but the latter seemed so implausible, being as it was that the Candidate of the few remaining Left-wing Labour MPs were perennially denied their chance in Leadership contests (because the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) had drifted so far to the Right and was able to deny a truly progressive candidate’s nomination).
And then, the implausible happened: Jeremy Corbyn got the 35MPs needed to put his name on the ballot. Corbyn, and Labour Members, have been on a roll ever since:
- Corbyn didn’t just win, he won in all categories, he won in all demographics, and he won so convincingly, all his opponents were written off..
- There was a surge in Labour Party membership both before and after his election; more than the entire Tory Party.
- This surge was accompanied by a surge in participation at the grass-roots.
- Corbyn has forced repeated U-turns of the government, both making a difference on the ground and discrediting the Tories as a Government. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyns-first-100-days-7044930
- Labour has won all by-elections with increased majorities, by swings big enough to win a general election.
- Labour lost no councils in the local elections, and gained mayoralties of several major cities, including London.
- Corbyn has increased his support amongst the PLP from 20-25 to 40-50. (At least 10 of the original 35 that nominated him came out against him afterwards, whilst some abstained or weren’t present to vote in the recent motion of no confidence.)
- Has replaced his ‘broad-church’ Shadow Cabinet (i.e. ridden with Blairites) with a much more progressive, young, female, and (presumably) loyal one.
- He has garnered praise and support from both the SNP and the Greens for his performance as part of the Remain campaign, a campaign where leading Tories on both sides were very publicly guilty of fear-mongering and lying out-right (both of them have very quickly been removed from public view [UPDATE: Boris is back, but the ridicule says it all] ).
- Corbyn received the backing of a majority of MSPs (whilst the Blairite leader of the Scottish Branch has lost face due to her opposition to him).
- Jeremy is now being reported favourably in at least some of the MSM (the Independent: “looking like a Prime Minister”).
- Labour has had another surge in Membership (again more than the entire Tory Party), and these ones are outraged at the treatment Corbyn has received both from the MSM and from the PLP, and by the fact they are being denied their vote by the NEC (Labour’s, National Electoral Council).
- A campaign to deselect the Blairite 172 MPs that rebelled against his leadership has now gained the backing of a major union: Unite.
- The NEC voted in Corbyn’s favour, ruling he does not need the backing of 50MPs to face the challenge against him.
- Corbyn is about to win another Leadership election, by an increased margin from a hugely increased membership (his opponents are unknown Blarites, with a poor voting record and no policies, other than supporting trident, which effectively makes them austerity-lite at best).
- Attempts to gerrymander the upcoming vote, against clear promises, has provoked a backlash with many paying the money in indignation at such crass attempts to exclude the impoverished.
- Is opposing a Prime Minister with a slim majority and the weakest mandate ever: wasn’t elected even by her own party, campaigned to Remain.
This Prime Minister is already facing calls for an early election, calls she herself made to Gordon Brown under identical conditions. She is about to implement article 50 in order to leave the EU, which she opposes. The EU opposes succession, and hence has self-interest in driving a hard bargain, and making an example to others. Scotland opposes it as well, and every week that goes by Scotland aligns itself with Europe and prepares the ground for Inde. II: “Remain means Remain” up there. Down here Corbyn, and the Labour Party, also oppose it, but also are determined to hold her to account over how it’s done. Meanwhile, the consolidation the member’s influence over the Labour Party grows with each fabricated hurdle Corbyn leaps smoothly over. What next? Whatever it is, I have concerns for his security.
Some Interesting Links:
The Party is Over…and both Corbyn and his enemies know it. http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/07/14/the-party-is-over/
This Is What It’ll Take for May to Keep the UK From Going Over the Cliff http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-hutton/theresa-may-brexit_b_10943550.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&ir=UK&utm_hp_ref=uk