Jeremy Corbyn

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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby Antigonos » 17 Sep 2015, 14:06

Imagine a scriptwriter pitching a story to the BBC...it is a feel good Left Wing “The West Wing” story about a backbench MP who makes a leadership bid in the Labour Party in order to challenge the New Labour orthodoxy he feels has betrayed Labour principles. He does not figure to win and is called,like the TV series, “The 100 to 1 Shot”. He is attacked by party leaders and the press but incredibly ordinary people in and out of the party, especially the young, the disenfranchised, union members rally to his cause and he is selected as the new leader of Labour. End of season 1.

No doubt the scriptwriter is told that it lacks basic credibility (unlike next season's latest contribution to the zombie genre, a gritty "realistic" portrayal of zombies from the point of view of a three 20 something zombies, already in production) and it is a no go. Odds of being produced...1000 to 1 against.

“The 100 to 1 Shot” Season 2, Episode 1: The Internationalist. In this episode our hero is accused of being disloyal to the UK because he refuses to sing the national anthem.

“The 100 to 1 Shot” Season 2, Episode 2: Shadow Cabinet, Shadow Boxing, PMQ. In this episode our hero names his Shadow Cabinet, deals with a Shadow Cabinet member and faces his first PMQ as Opposition Leader.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby rd45 » 17 Sep 2015, 15:46

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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby Antigonos » 17 Sep 2015, 17:13

rd45 wrote:Someone's already written the script for season 3, episode 1: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/14/prime-minister-jeremy-corbyn-the-first-100-days


Yes, A very British Coup. I saw the TV version many years ago and loved it.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby Octavious » 18 Sep 2015, 08:44

The prequel doesn't sound too promising. Spoilt little rich boy wastes his privileges and flunks his exams. Spends the next 40 years achieving sod all as a career politician with a personal life defined by a string of failed relationships.


The later seasons verge more and more into comedy, with every episode ending in Corbyn turning to John McDonnell and saying "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into", before it fades to the closing credits and the tune "dance of the cuckoo".
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby Antigonos » 18 Sep 2015, 21:30

Octavious wrote:The prequel doesn't sound too promising. Spoilt little rich boy wastes his privileges and flunks his exams. Spends the next 40 years achieving sod all as a career politician with a personal life defined by a string of failed relationships.


The later seasons verge more and more into comedy, with every episode ending in Corbyn turning to John McDonnell and saying "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into", before it fades to the closing credits and the tune "dance of the cuckoo".


Is this a serious take on what is going on? In politics as in much else it life if you don't understand what is occurring or are threatened by it it is always comforting to resort to the personal insult and denigration as you are doing. Need I review the earlier lives of many of the leading French revolutionaries or of U.S. Grant before the between the Mexican and Civil Wars?

How about Churchill the man of great promise and real disappointments such as the the attempt to force the Dardanelles and it's horrendous aftermath, the Gallipoli Campaign which led in the UK to the fall of the Asquith's Liberal government (replaced by a Coalition) and to the removal of Churchill as First Sea Lord and his humiliating demotion to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and finally to resignation and going to the battlefields of Western Front (in search of honour and death?). In the Twenties he served without distinction as a reactionary Secretary of State for the Colonies (using gas and aerial bombing in Mesopotamia and opposing Home Rule in India. His time as Chancellor of the Exchequer with his return of UK to the Gold Standard was an outright disaster and helped lead to the 1926 General Strike where Churchill played a nasty and again reactionary role. In the Thirties the aging and marginalized politician was best known for his machinations to prevent the abdication of Edward VIII (thank God for the UK he failed yet again). He was a Cassandra on Germany but his knee jerk opposition to the USSR made his specific stance useless. It took another war to secure a place in history beyond that of failed politician, minor (very, very minor) painter, bombastic, conventionally imperial minded historian and prodigious aristocratic drinker and gourmand.

I was going to post in the next day or so and say how much I have enjoyed the posts in this thread with it's range of views and discussion of some of the detail of UK politics. My TV series posts were among the lighter contributions but intended as a real commentary on the extraordinary way what has occured defies conventional and elite generative expectations of what is and is not possible. I found your earlier post interesting but I feel that this one sounds like sour grapes and gripes.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby super_dipsy » 19 Sep 2015, 08:38

I read a very thoughtful article yesterday by a labour supporter journalist. He put his finger on what perhaps some of the more strident wails re Corbyn are based on.

He was commenting on the furor about Corbyn not singing the national anthem at the remembrance service for the Battle of Britain. The article basically said that as a student the journo had strong opinions on things like the British Government and its high handed attitude to the IRA, the privileged nature of the monarchy, the need to stop participating in wars, the plight of the oppressed as illustrated by Hammas and Hezbollah, etc.. Much the same as Corbyn's early days. But if he had been at the service today (he is a bit younger than Corbyn but not much) he would have sung the anthem because that is what the occasion required as a mark of respect. In his words, he has grown up. It is not that he does not share some of the same beliefs as he did when younger, but he has come to realize that in the grown up world you have to see the shades of grey and be more in tune with a much more complex world where many different factors must be taken into account.

His point was that although in itself this was a trivial incident, it just re-emphasizes the man. Corbyn has spent his life playing the rebellious student, but he appears to be still stuck there. Look at his appointment of McDonnell as his Shadow Chancellor as an example; an intensely divisive figure whose avowed aim is the destruction of capitalism, and who happily demanded the terrorists of the IRA be 'honoured' for bringing the British Government to the table with their bombs and bullets (Yes, I know he has now apologized for any offence caused, but note that he has never (at least that I can find) backed off that view, simply apologized for upsetting people). Why would Corbyn do that? Because as the journo said, he has never grown up. This man has been his best friend for years and years. Of course he would put him in as his right hand man. That's what lads do, put their best mate as their wingman.

Maybe this honesty is refreshing. Maybe the idea of having a politician who plays by his own rules and says what he thinks is a cool idea. It is certainly going to chime with the young! He will be a hero of students across the country. But Corbyn is not playing the 'rebellious backbencher who goes against the party >500 times because he stands for what he believes' role any more. He is the leader of the Labour Party, and potentially the next Prime Minister of the country. Is it really that cool to have a leader with no rules, who has no political gravitas or guile? I know we all love to denigrate politicians - heavens, I do it often enough. And the idea of a plain speaking backbencher has always been one of the joys of our Parliamentary system. But as Prime Minister? Does that really work?

Perhaps though he will grow into the job. He already appears to have realized he went too far with the anthem thing, and he has also apparently backed off on his refusal to wear a red poppy for Armistice day, so he is clearly listening to someone. He has also now publicly stated that the Labour party plans to back staying in Europe which again may suggest he is learning to bend although to be fair he has implied this is a case of him not letting his personal views dictate policy.

But my own concern is given his age and his many years as a 'boy', is it too late for him to truly grow up?
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby rd45 » 19 Sep 2015, 09:20

super_dipsy wrote:In his words, he has grown up. It is not that he does not share some of the same beliefs as he did when younger, but he has come to realize that in the grown up world you have to see the shades of grey and be more in tune with a much more complex world where many different factors must be taken into account.


That's a comment that you hear a lot. It's related to that old saying about being a socialist aged 20 unless you have no heart, and a capitalist aged 40 unless you have no brain. There's also a good running joke on the Guardian letters page at the moment, about conservatism being an age-related degenerative disease.

I think things have changed a lot in the past 10-20 years. IMO, the assumption has gone now that younger people will enjoy their rebellious wild years - with all those daring beliefs and protest marches - but then soon settle down into the bourgeois realities of work, home & family. It used to work that way, perhaps, for a short-ish historic period, when full employment was a semi-realistic prospect that politicians of all persuasions were aiming towards (on the left, because full employment improves the living standard of working people - on the right, because full employment pacifies working people).

But globalised capitalism has knocked all that over. Those bourgeois realities are no longer available for large numbers of us, if they ever were - so younger people now, moving through their 20s & wondering when they're ever going to get a decent job & move out of their shitty over-priced rented accommodation & start taking part in that real grown up world with all those shades of grey that wise older people keep telling them about - I don't see where their incentive is any longer to compromise on their belief that it's all been monumentally fucked up, just so they can settle down & play their quiet part in a society that's not even open to them any more.

So now we have a very rare example of a politician who's not from the same bland careerist background as the others, and who has a history of rocking the boat in a small way that no-one ever really noticed before, with a white poppy here or there. And the advice, from his soi-disant supporters, is that he should bland himself out & pretend to be just like all the others? Fuck that.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby super_dipsy » 19 Sep 2015, 16:56

rd45, I think you miss my point. Note this
super_dipsy wrote:In his words, he has grown up. It is not that he does not share some of the same beliefs as he did when younger, but he has come to realize that in the grown up world you have to see the shades of grey and be more in tune with a much more complex world where many different factors must be taken into account.

You are suggesting that as the rebellious student grows up, he changes and stops believing what he did. That is not what this journo was saying, and not the point I was trying to make. What the journo was saying was that he still largely believed the same things he did before. BUT he has matured to realize that you don't achieve the change you desire by maintaining your rebellion. Instead, you play a more considered game (but quite possibly to achieve the same ends). So take the example of the anthem incident. You may still believe strongly that the monarchy is wrong, and that Britain should be a Republic. But whereas as a student you get in people's faces, refusing to sing the anthem or bow your knee to the queen or whatever, as a grown-up you realize that you are not going to further your cause by not singing the anthem. All you do is get people's backs up. Instead you pick your battles; you perhaps might bring focus on the issues of monarchy, take a look at the Civil List and perhaps eventually try to bring about the change you desire, but you do it within the system.

So to be clear. I am not saying Corbyn needs to 'grow up and realize that what he believed in is wrong, or even impractical (ie as you say catch the conservative disease). I am saying that he needs to grow up and start playing his hand like a politician with a thought out plan to achieve what he wants, rather than making cameo protests with no serious plan and little realistic chance of fomenting (or fermenting as McDonnell says ;) ) the change he desires.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby super_dipsy » 19 Sep 2015, 17:14

Just to re-emphasize the point since the anthem thing is so trivial, take the other example I gave of appointing McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor. The 'grown-up' politician may strongly believe in McDonnell's approach to the economy and everything he wants to do, but he would also know that appointing him as Shadow Chancellor would not help those objectives in the slightest - in fact it hinders them. For example, it has alienated a number of his potential allies because the man is so divisive. That weakens his ability to achieve these goals. Instead, he could have put in place a more acceptable name but then used his authority as leader to enforce the views espoused by McDonnell, making him the power behind the official shadow chancellor. Once he is in power, he could always reshuffle his man back in. That is the more realistic way of achieving your political objectives in my personal opinion.

Of course, I may be doing Corbyn a disservice. Perhaps the appointment of McDonnell is a classic bait and switch. Put a man in place everyone hates, wait for the right moment, take him out and whoever he puts in his place will be viewed with huge relief.
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Re: Jeremy Corbyn

Postby Octavious » 19 Sep 2015, 19:14

I was going to post in the next day or so and say how much I have enjoyed the posts in this thread with it's range of views and discussion of some of the detail of UK politics. My TV series posts were among the lighter contributions but intended as a real commentary on the extraordinary way what has occured defies conventional and elite generative expectations of what is and is not possible. I found your earlier post interesting but I feel that this one sounds like sour grapes and gripes.


Sorry, what? What sour grapes and gripes? I was joining in the light hearted nature of your TV series format. It also contains real commentary, if you care to look. The chief points being these:

JC is a career politician. In his lifetime he has done virtually nothing else aside from politics. He is the very sort of politician that was considered to be one of the problems with UK politics. "They are not like us. They are aging white males that come from wealthy families of privilege and never do a day's real work in their lives" the people oft complained. Corbyn in this respect is not a breath of fresh air. He is carbon copy of the stereotypical politician.

Both he and McDonnell have remarkably little experience in the sort of work required to lead a party. The Laurel and Hardy reference is to compare them to the pair who regularly got into situations for which they were extremely ill equipped, with comic consequences. It could be that they surprise me, and prove themselves to be highly adept at the politics or party leadership. As things stand it is too early to say. It is possible they never had anything of great consequence to do before, not because of lack of talent, but because they were considered too far from the mainstream. I doubt it though.
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