Once again, as on May 7 this year, the people (well, some of them) have spoken. After all the media interest over the past three months, Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest was not such a surprise after all.
The smug warning from Labour’s affluent figurehead, Tony Blair, that Corbyn supporters should ‘get a heart transplant’ went unheeded. The campaign has invigorated thousands of young people who could previously find nothing in our country’s robotic politicians to inspire them.
It may be a cynical view, but Jeremy Corbyn may have won the booby prize. Even as you read this, knives are being sharpened; nefarious plans to unseat him are probably being hatched behind closed doors. The grim expressions on the faces of some Labour grandees such as Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt, when his victory was announced, spoke volumes. But whilst Jeremy’s watching his back, he has far larger challenges ahead. Even though many high profile economists, some of them Nobel Prize winners, have stated that austerity is an unnecessary blind alley, we have to ask serious questions.
How will Corbyn tackle the global corporate stranglehold on the world, Britain’s poodle relationship with the Pentagon, the CIA, NSA, MI5 and the looming threat of TTIP, (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)? What chance will Labour have of reversing the draconian attacks on trade union membership, the destruction of the state and human rights?
He faces a powerful media who despise everything he stands for, who will now open up a continuous artillery barrage of spurious ‘revelations’ and dirt-digging on him and his chosen shadow cabinet.
Can he survive the lion’s den which is the City of London, the banks, and everything they stand for? They own UK plc. Will they surrender it back to us easily? How big a battalion of supporters across the land will he need to put fairness and equality back on the rails?
How will he tackle the greedy buccaneers who jealously guard their hi-jacked possessions, the railways, gas, water, electricity and the Royal Mail? Will they return these utilities to us without a fight?
Can he reverse the successful headlong Tory drive to wreck our NHS and replace it with a Virgin/Serco/G4S private ‘business’? Can he stop the destruction of the BBC?
So far, it’s been ‘Jez we can’. Now it looks like ‘Jez - how can we?’
So if you are a young voter newly fired up by Corbyn, may I, as an old leftie warhorse, make a few suggestions. The momentum you’ve created has to be maintained. Building a new politics isn’t a transitory pastime like Big Brother or the X Factor. Politics rolls on relentlessly, demanding constant attention. Society can’t be changed with a three month blitz of healthy enthusiasm. It took decades to build the original Labour Party - so if you’ve become a supporter - you need to sustain your interest and develop stamina for the fight to come. And what a nasty fight it’s going to be.