Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Corbyn: Risk to The Right

[Corbyn’s] economic views, out of step with the mainstream, means for most Conservatives his success is a political gift. They believe his election is a chance not just to poke fun week after week, at an accidental leader. But to maim Labour for a generation.

And his election expresses a fundamental truth – the least palatable for Labour at Westminster. The party’s core was unable to offer an idea, or a personality attractive enough to inspire or convince. What was for them, an uncomfortable fantasy, is now real.

But the biggest gamble is this: Corbyn won against all the odds by stitching together old voices, new activists and union support – that was enough to win the party’s own election. Could that powerful niche ever expand to become a true national movement capable of winning a general election?
BBC News Website 12 September 2015 : Laura Kuenssberg, Political editor – What now for Jeremy Corbyn?

Well, could it? Are we on the cusp of a significant political change?

Probably not – the British tend to be apathetic and the idea of “holding on to nurse for fear of something worse” (plus an outdated voting system) exerts significant political inertia.


How many people now have a very shaky confidence in the current political and economic system? How many people are realising that they will probably be less well off than the previous generation, and that the following generation will be worse off than them?

I don’t find Cameron (or Osborne) particularly inspiring – and I think any support that they have is based for many on not being more inspired by the alternatives. But they are very good at the raw politics.

It can be brutal – this is no longer an area for delicacy or finesse.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has issued a statement in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. Here’s what he has to say:

Labour are now a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security and your family’s security.Whether it’s weakening our defences, raising taxes on jobs and earnings, racking up more debt and welfare or driving up the cost of living by printing money – Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party will hurt working people. This is a very serious moment for our country – the Conservatives will continue to deliver stability, security and opportunity for working people.”

Work and Pensions Minister Priti Patel gives her reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s victory – and echoes remarks made earlier by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. She tells the BBC Labour is a serious risk to national security, the economy and family stability. She denies the Conservatives are “scaremongering” and says the party is focused on delivering more opportunity jobs and growth.
BBC News Website 12 September 2015 : Reaction to Corbyn victory – Live

The right-wing media will also pile in.

So he will be attacked by:

  • Politicians – who have been exposed in the last decade as less trustworthy than we thought
  • The Media – which has been exposed in the last decade as less trustworthy than we thought

Yet he is:

  • Authentic,
  • Principled,
  • Decent,
  • Different.

Might the right overplay their hand? And what might happen if they do?

If Corbyn refuses to “play the game” at Prime Minister’s Question-time and is shouted down by braying asses on the Government benches, what will voters – many of whom are already disgusted by this weekly charade of “accountability” – think?

[He] is a serious risk to our nation’s security

Like austerity didn’t almost tear the nation apart at the Independence Referendum, and give the Nationalists an almost clean sweep at the last General Election?

[He] is a serious risk to … our economy’s security … driving up the cost of living by printing money

Like the Bank of England hasn’t printed money to bail out the banks but not bail out the poor?

[He] is a serious risk to … your family’s security.

Like welfare cuts are not damaging families?

“Security” to Michael Fallon probably means something different to the rest of us. To him – not having people break into his house and stealing his wine; to others – not having to get food from the food bank. To him – retaining his safe seat; to others – having work next week. To him – being able to obliterate all major Russian cities; to others – not creating enemies who want to harm us. Etc. Etc.

The backlash by more “ordinary” people who see a “good man” (who they may not necessarily agree with) being traduced may undermine that remaining shaky confidence that the political and economic system works for all of us. Then we start listening to alternative ideas – and possibly finding that they are no less credible than the failed theories that have been peddled to us for decades.

When I spell-checked the above and got to “Priti Patel” I was offered the alternatives:

  • “Ignore suggestion”, or
  • “Ignore always”

I am sure my system was trying to tell me something! Wish it did the same with Cameron, Osborne and Fallon


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