The Corbyn factor: shocking the political system through sheer normality
90 per cent of Labour MPs did not vote for him, but 59.5 per cent of Labour’s 422,664 voters did. The disconnect between Westminster and British politics writ large.
Jeremy Corbyn has connected with grass-roots party politics across the United Kingdom like no other Labour politician since Tony Blair. Yet whilst Blair was coiffed, prepped, focus grouped and spun, Corbyn’s sheer normality comes almost itself as shock to the political system. Hot tempered we know, but he’s extraordinarily ‘normal’ too. Relaxed, yet confident in himself, suddenly what he looks like matters not a jot.
I have blogged before about the alienation and disillusion that so many feel from the whole Westminster circus. Corbyn’s record is the antithesis of honours, expenses fiddling, war and austerity. It is those issues that have driven so many to the Corbyn cause. Yvette, Liz, and Andy just could not distance themselves enough from the Blairite past and the Westminster present.
I remember whilst covering the Scottish Referendum almost experiencing a sense of political intoxication: the enthusiasm, the detail, the debate, and the understanding of the issues was unlike anything I had experienced in the UK. I could not imagine such a thing happening in England. To a very large extent with Corbyn, it might.
Those serried ranks of Labour MPs that refused to countenance a vote for Corbyn have been wrong footed. It will be intriguing to see what they now do. My suspicion is that Corbyn has the where-with-all to last much longer than they think. Possibly, with so many behind him in the country, to achieve much more than they can imagine.