Corbyn is coming. Will he bring his friends?

Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to be the new leader of the UK Labour Party is going much better for him than most pundits and commentators expected.

This Guardian article says:

Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership is gathering a momentum even he did not anticipate at the outset.

Earlier in the week, Guido Fawkes‘ quoted a leaked internal poll that put Corbyn  “well out in front” with a massive 22 point lead.

He might win.

Why?

As the registration system for the right to vote in the election is somewhat open to abuse, it’s no surprise there have been calls for Tory activists to join up and vote for Mr C. There are even suggestions this has been done by significant numbers of people. (We may never know the truth.)  The Tory view is that Corbyn as Labour leader condemns them to longer in the political wilderness. I’m not so sure they are right.

Allied to this possibly false spirited wave of support is, on the face of it, the clear political ground between Corbyn and the other candidates. The others are seen (rightly or wrongly) as New Labour. Corbyn is seen, all on his own, as “Old Labour” – the party of Benn, and traditional socialists before Tony Blair came along and made the party electable. So Corbyn can claim to be the alternative candidate; the happening, honorable bearer of the real socialism torch. And that’s an appeal that is bound to be given a sympathetic hearing by political activists. Not voters, but activists.

In the circumstances, this largely overlooked post – The Diplomat of Islington North – is worth reading and noting. In it, David Paxton writes:

Corbyn has repeatedly praised members of Hamas. They kill gays, deny the holocaust and speak of starting a fresh one. He calls them a force for social justice.

He praised the leadership in Venezuela while the oil-rich country was being run into bankruptcy and the freedom of the press was being eroded.

Corbyn asserts that despite the wishes of the Falklands islanders, expressed through the ballot box, and despite a fascist junta invading them causing British servicemen to fight and die, the islands should be owned by Argentina.

Paxton can do that, because he makes a better job than many of looking what Corbyn has said and done. Essentially, Corbyn’s attempts to explain away his “friends” reference is seen as nonsense. Corbyn is an extremist, and Paxton’s conclusions about the man are not pleasant.

The material in that post would be useful to any journalist who wanted to more rigorously interview the candidate. However, the prospects of that are low. Instead, it seems likely there will be more media presentation of the two sided, polarized view that makes the man attractive to the activists: Old Labour v New Labour. Whether that converts into success for him, and failure for his party, remains to be seen. But, it is telling (and somewhat frightening) that someone with such views is still even in serious contention. Who will rescue the Labour Party?

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