National Security & Defense

Jeremy Corbyn’s Moment Is Upon Us

Corbyn speaks at a campaign event in Birmingham, May 20, 2017. (Reuters photo: Darren Staples)
Here’s hoping it won’t last long.

Theresa May is learning some hard lessons. It’s not smart to schedule a snap election for seven weeks after you reach the absolute zenith of your acclaim, especially when the expectations for your chief political rival could not possibly be lower. Nor is it smart to stake your political fortunes on a mystery that could not possibly be maintained over two months of constant media attention, inquiry, and contemplation of a government completely dominated by one party.

In short, the ongoing campaign has given people time to come up with alternative answers to questions about May. Was her discomfort in interviews a sign that she wasn’t a “slick” salesman à la Tony Blair and David Cameron, or was she simply unable to play the role? Was her relative media shyness a proof that she wisely played her hand when the turn presented itself or a sign that she was indecisive?

One serious wobble, over a new tax in the campaign manifesto, and suddenly the media was having great fun in pulling May down from her exalted heights. What was once thought to be a sure electoral triumph (even by me ), is now a potential disappointment or disaster. On Tuesday, YouGov released a poll that indicated the Tories would face a hung Parliament, not the 100-seat majority they were hoping to win.

That’s a long and windy way of saying that the Jeremy Corbyn moment is here. He made it official on Tuesday by turning up for the televised leader’s debate that he and May had declined to join. Everyone who follows politics obsessively knew Jeremy Corbyn as a hopeless radical, an IRA enthusiast, a manwho got testy under questioning and alienated most of the leadership of his party. He had botched Labour’s pro-Remain campaign, possibly because his heart wasn’t really invested in the “neoliberal” European Union. Perhaps he was so inept and tin-eared he would destroy the Labour party once and for all.

Turns out he’s taken a few pointers on his demeanor, learned how to brush off uncomfortable questions about his less defensible past sympathies, and turned his own dyed-red politics into a form of lonely integrity. He has also benefited from the fact that May called the election, the latest in what seems like a long series of national agitations in the U.K.: The Scottish independence referendum, a general election, Brexit.

But, it’s important to recall that Corbyn’s integrity is of the same type you find in the red-faced idealists who issue an endless list of rules to keep their commune’s refrigerator properly democratic. The Tory manifesto under May is an ideologically promiscuous document. Corbyn’s Labour party, meanwhile, issued a manifesto calling for a return to post-war socialism, but with an explicit promise not to cut immigration.

Corbyn’s integrity is of the same type you find in the red-faced idealists who issue an endless list of rules to keep their commune’s refrigerator properly democratic.

May might have made political missteps on fox-hunting, or how to collect revenue for social care. And she voted for the now-unpopular Iraq War in 2003. But Corbyn spent the better part of two decades siding with Irish radicals who were trying to assassinate his prime minister, and who succeeded in assassinating members of the Royal family and innocent Brits across the country. There has been no road-to-Damascus moment here. Corbyn has merely lied about the extent of his support for the IRA, and said he regretted calling Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends.”

This election will have incredible consequences for the U.K.’s near-term future. The next government will lead negotiations on Brexit. It will have to rewrite hundreds of pages of law when the Brussels code is junked. It will have to quickly negotiate trade agreements with Europe and other nations. It will have to manage a new border in neighboring Ireland. This is an incredible opportunity for the U.K., but it’s also fraught with danger.

So it would be stupid to let the media-expectations game determine the election. Theresa May is not as popular as she was six weeks ago, and it is fun to tear down people who are on top when they take the hubristic stance that wanting a personal mandate to rule is a good-enough reason to call an election. But Corbyn is the type of man who, when not rallying to the side of Gerry Adams or the latest third-world Marxist movement, has always pined uselessly for a government policy to help every child in the U.K. learn to play a musical instrument. He’d be great fun to debate at a pub, or in a college. But he is morally and politically unfit to lead his party, let alone a great country such as the United Kingdom. His bid to surf a wave of manufactured drama to 10 Downing Street should be rejected so forcefully that the Labour party discards him for good.

READ MORE:

Theresa May and the Tories Lose Altitude as the Election Nears

The Populist Politics of Theresa May

Keeping Corbyn Will Ruin the Labour Party

Most Popular

Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More
Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More
Elections

The Establishment vs. the Radicals

Today is the first day of October. If you think 2020 has been rough, you’ve just got to make it through three more months. We can do this. On the menu today: a long look at the simmering behind-the-scenes fight between the Democratic Party’s establishment and radicals over who will be calling the shots in ... Read More
Elections

The Establishment vs. the Radicals

Today is the first day of October. If you think 2020 has been rough, you’ve just got to make it through three more months. We can do this. On the menu today: a long look at the simmering behind-the-scenes fight between the Democratic Party’s establishment and radicals over who will be calling the shots in ... Read More
Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More
Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More

Trump vs. Trump

I don’t wish to discuss the debate because I’m not a masochist. It was a crap crêpe. A turd taco. Fecal flan. The American people could be forgiven for rising as one and declaring to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, “Everyone in this country is now dumber for having listened to you. I award you no points, and ... Read More

Trump vs. Trump

I don’t wish to discuss the debate because I’m not a masochist. It was a crap crêpe. A turd taco. Fecal flan. The American people could be forgiven for rising as one and declaring to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, “Everyone in this country is now dumber for having listened to you. I award you no points, and ... Read More