5 reasons why it's a good idea to elect Jeremy Corbyn

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Five reasons why it’s a good idea to elect Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn at Stop The War protests, Trafalgar Square, London, 2007. David Martyn Hunt under a Creative Commons Licence

Other politicians have warned that it’s a bad idea to choose Jeremy Corbyn as the new Leader of the Labour Party in the UK. Mischa Wilmers explains why they are wrong.

2 months ago nobody in Britain imagined that Jeremy Corbyn would become so popular. He might win the Labour leadership vote, but other people in the the Labour Party are getting worried. They say it’s not a good idea to choose Corbyn. They say Britain really wants a (Blairite) centre, not left, politician, who can win general elections. Here are 5 reasons why they are wrong:

Corbyn is in the centre: Alistair Campbell recently said to Labour members that Corbyn’s opinions will not be popular. But he didn’t say which opinions he is talking about. This is because Campbell and his friends know that Corbyn’s opinions eg. on foreign policy, the economy and the nationalization of public services – mostly agree with what the public think. So if ‘centre’ is what most people think, Corbyn is much more in the centre than the other candidates. Conservative Ken Clarke told other Conservatives that it will be difficult to campaign against Corbyn and his ideas.

Popular political movements are growing over the world: All over the world popular political movements are starting. eg. Bernie Sanders in the US, Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece. People are looking for other options – not ‘centre-left’ parties that do are not very different to the Right (and are now not so popular). In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn is bringing together many people’s organizations, groups and unions that are fighting against social injustice and austerity. So Corbyn will probably get more support from people eg. young people, who did not vote at the last election because they were not interested.

Corbyn has the best chance of winning back Scotland: Perhaps the biggest reason why Labour lost the 2015 election was because Labour lost so many seats to the Scottish National Party, which is more Left. Labour needs to listen to economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz and fight against austerity, or it will not get Scottish seats back. It will be difficult to change this. But Corbyn is the only Labour candidate who does not agree with austerity. He voted against the Welfare Reform Bill.

Corbyn can attract voters from the United Kingdom Independence party (UKIP) who lost interest in politics: People say that if Labour wants to win the 2020 election it must get back support from working-class voters in England who voted for UKIP because they thought Ed Miliband was too leftwing. But many of UKIP’s 3.8 million voters at the 2015 elections are actually more leftwing than Miliband. A YouGov poll in 2013 found that 73% of UKIP supporters would like the railways to be nationalized again. And the British Election Study showed that 77% of UKIP voters agree with this: ‘ordinary workers do not get a fair share of the nation’s wealth’. Corbyn has promised to stop businesses avoiding paying tax and set up a national investment bank to start a ‘people’s quantitative easing’ programme’. So he might be more popular with the general public than his political enemies think.

The media are not as powerful as they think: The most difficult problem for Corbyn will probably be corporate media. They are already doing everything they can to fight against him and not even discuss his ideas. But when the media attacks him more, he becomes more popular. It is also difficult to see how the media could be worse to a leader than they were to Ed Miliband before the general election. They made many people choose to vote Conservative because they couldn’t imagine Miliband as a good prime minister. Miliband lost, but he was still able to increase Labour’s percentage of the vote by 1.4%. And that was without the support of a mass movement which Corbyn will probably have to support him.

Also, mainstream media is getting less powerful now because of social media. Important figures on the Left who support Corbyn eg. Russell Brand and Owen Jones can now talk to millions of people. In 2020 the power and influence of social media activism will probably be even bigger than it is now and it will be more important in the next general election than it did at the last one.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: http://newint.org/blog/2015/08/18/labours-jeremy-corbyn-is-electable/ (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).