Today voting closes in the election for the new British Labour Party leader. Most opinion polls suggest that the successful candidate will be Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left-winger, says Abdel Bari Atwan.
Needless to say, the establishment – including the Blairite wing of the Labour Party – is alarmed and the entire British media – including the supposedly left-wing “Guardian” – has done its best to dampen the spark of hope Corbyn has managed to ignite in the hearts of British socialists and the poor.
Tony Blair himself has made three direct appeals to Labour Party members (via the pages of The Guardian) not to vote for Corbyn. Blair does not understand just how unpopular he is with many British people and, according to British friends, his intervention has often had the opposite effect of that intended.
The argument against Corbyn is that he will not get the Labour Party back into 10 Downing Street. It seems to some observers, however, that those Labour politicians who publicize this opinion are those who most long for personal power: Blair and his former cabinet, including John Prescott, who was best known for using not one but two luxury Jaguar cars to go about his ministerial duties.
Apart from his left-wing principles, Corbyn rings alarm bells for his stance on Palestine and his outspoken condemnation of Blair’s conduct over Iraq. Corbyn has been a frequent and powerful speaker at Stop the War demonstrations – he was one of the leaders of the two million-person march against the invasion of Iraq. He has marched and spoken at rallies against military interventions in Libya and Syria and has condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza in the media and at demonstrations.
He has a clear understanding of Western foreign policies and does not hesitate to expose lies where lies are uttered. He is a man who stands against all forms of tyranny, repression and injustice.
It is a measure of how much the British people want to see Corbyn lead the Labour Party that 400,000 rushed to join the party simply in order to be allowed to vote for the new leader. The Labour Party website crashed repeatedly due to the volume of traffic during the registration period. The press has started to refer to “Corbymania”…
Corbyn’s popularity can be seen in the context of the Europe-wide phenomenon of the new-left, which emerged in response to the growth of racist xenophobic right-wing politics stirred up by increased immigration. The new left Syriza party took power in Greece and Podemos in Spain made a good showing in local authority elections earlier this year.
I have met Jeremy Corbyn on numerous occasions. He is a lean man with a mild manner and modest life style. He is thoughtful and an eloquent speaker who may be able to mobilize a movement for a fairer Britain, undoing the damage caused by the Tory parties austerity measures, lessening the gap between rich and poor and reminding people of real values such as justice, fairness, morality and love for our fellow human beings.
Ironically, these values should come more naturally to the “religious” Prime Minister rather than the agnostic Mr Corbin.
We wish him well.