Jeremy Corbyn: A Comment from the Right Reply

By Sean Gabb

Seen from my point of view, on the libertarian right, there are at least three ways of looking at the alleged or real anti-semitism of Jeremy Corbyn. The first is that it is very, very funny. Since the 1970s, he and his friends have been whining about the horrors of racial prejudice. Now, every time he opens his mouth, he says something that upsets Jews – and that may legitimately be of concern to them. You tell me it is uncharitable if I fail to keep a straight face. The second is that the scandal is a distraction from the real issue in British politics. Next March, we are supposed to leave the European Union. Whether we shall or ought to leave with some kind of agreement is arguably more important than with whom Mr Corbyn shared a platform at the Conway Hall in 1987. These first two being noted, I will focus on the third, which is what impact he will have on the so far arrested realignment of English politics.

Part of Mr Corbyn’s general appeal lies in the belief that he is Old Labour. If we define this as the opinions and policies of Keir Hardie, of the Webbs, and of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan – that is, as the consensus that described the Labour Party into the 1960s – he is not Old Labour. This was a movement probably sincere in its concern for the welfare of the British working classes, though mistaken in its chosen means for advancing that welfare. Mr Corbyn is a creature of the “rainbow coalition” – a coalition within which white heterosexual working class men have at best an auxiliary place. The points of difference between him and New Labour are important, but small. He has no objection to a politically correct police state, none to omnipresent surveillance and regulation, none to the war on both liberty and tradition waged by the Blair and Brown Governments. His dissent from New Labour lies in his desire for a greater direct economic management by the State, and his dislike of the military-economic complex and of the wars that legitimise and fund it. This latter seems to explain his alleged anti-semitism. When someone on the right denounces Zionism, he is almost certainly talking about Jews, but worried about our police state laws. When Mr Corbyn does, I have no doubt he is thinking about white colonialists who are giving a hard time to brown people. I say again – the look on his face when he is called another Hitler is very, very funny.

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Jeremy Corbyn, 1970s Revanchist, Is Suddenly the Face of the New New Left Reply

By Andrew Sullivan

The politics of Britain and the U.S. can have a strange, synchronized rhythm to them. Margaret Thatcher was a harbinger of Ronald Reagan as both countries veered suddenly rightward in the 1980s. Prime Minister John Major emerged as Thatcher’s moderate successor as George H.W. Bush became Reagan’s, cementing the conservative trans-Atlantic shift. The “New Democrats” and the Clintons were then mirrored by “New Labour” and the Blairs, adapting the policies of the center-left to the emerging consensus of market capitalism. Even Barack Obama and David Cameron were not too dissimilar — social liberals, unflappable pragmatists — until the legacies of both were swept aside by right-populist revolts. The sudden summer squall of Brexit in 2016 and the triumph of Trump a few months later revealed how similarly the Tories and the Republicans had drifted into nationalist, isolationist fantasies.

But what of the parallels on the left? What’s generating activist energy and intellectual ferment in both countries is an increasingly disinhibited and ambitious socialism. Bernie Sanders’s strength in the Democratic Party primaries two years ago was a prelude to a new wave of candidates who’ve struck unabashedly left-populist notes this year, calling for “Medicare for all” and the end of ICE, alongside a more social-justice-oriented cultural message. Some, like the charismatic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have achieved national visibility as an uncomplicated socialism has found more converts, especially among the young. Moderate Democrats have not disappeared, but they are on the defensive. A fight really is brewing for the soul of the Democrats.

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Libertarian Alliance (UK) Review of 2015 5

by Keir Martland

Another year is over and as exactly one year ago to this day I wrote a review of 2014[1], I shall do the same today for 2015.

The General Election

The first political event to spring to mind is of course the May 2015 General Election. A longer campaign than usual, it was perhaps more overtly leftist in its tone than any of the twenty first century. UKIP, itself having veered to the left to accommodate new Old Labour members, proved no counter-weight to the leftism of the other parties.

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