Like many, I have been watching Corbynmania take hold in the UK with some interest and puzzlement. Part of me is thrilled and part of me nervous. I wonder where it will all end. Is this a rebirth of the Left in British Politics, or is it a false dawn? Is this the beginning of a movement that can bring a fundamental change in UK society or another starry eyed false dawn? You decide. This interview with Corbyn by Owen Jones is certainly worth a watch if you have the time.
One thing is sure, from the grassroots of British society there is a rebellion underway against what radicals call the neo-Liberal consensus. It first appeared in the rise of Scottish nationalism, which I have always believed drew its real strength not from nationalism, but rather its critique of 'Westminster' and the sense of establishment that Westminster politics seems to reek of. The rise of UKIP in the May 2015 General Election was more evidence if needed, of a UK wide desire to give Westminster a hard kick. Anyone who looks different, or sounds different to the usual suspects of establishment politics finds support at the moment. Correspondingly those who try to bring reform from within are portrayed as weak, not making enough of a difference, and colluding with the corrupt system. You can see why my own party, the Liberal Democrats, took such a hammering at the General Election after years of picking up the anti-establishment vote. If you fly with the crows, you get stoned with the crows.
The bare truth for those of us on the centre left is that Corbymania is partly due to our failure to make enough of a change to the socio-economic landscape over the lat ten years. Despite many things to be proud of both from New Labour and the Lib Dem coalition, inequality has risen, and people's feeling that they are less politically empowered in the face of vested interests and globalisation has risen with it. Were those of us in the centre left too timid? Did we buy in to the zeitgeist too much? Is the Corbynism a refreshing game changer for politics and the rights and potential of ordinary people, or will the elites and corporations hold onto their grip on power and decision making? Time will tell.