It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Jeremy Corbyn being elected by an overwhelming, mostly young people’s majority, the new leader of the Labour party and, thus, leader of the official parliamentary opposition. This is nothing short of a radical breakthrough in British politics of the last 30 years, which have never stepped beyond the so-called Thatcherist neo-liberal consensus of the establishment. In fact, the establishment, mostly under the pretext of the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, proceeded from the premises that the new era is one of single-option policies, particularly in social and economic matters. This absence of pluralism was all the more visible against the backdrop of an economic downturn as austerity was being enforced upon people despite the fact that, according to independent experts, it offered no solution to the crisis. Now financial inequality is on the rise, the middle class is shrinking, the post-war ‘social contract’, which aimed to build a social economy or what one might call capitalism with a human face, has been practically scrapped.
Naturally, foreign policy too, while its obvious failure was made clear by the migration crisis in Europe, was passed off as the correct and the only possible one. This couldn’t last forever due to the growing pain of the crisis and self-destructive power politics adopted by the West in foreign affairs, and by virtue of traditional democratic instincts of the British. One should only be surprised at how long the elites have been able to contain political discourse within this framework to their own advantage.
Corbyn’s first address to Parliament has shown that this man has also effectively changed the format of parliamentary discussion by appealing to concerns voiced by the citizenry via the internet. Naturally, the austerity policy has been challenged fist off. Equally, full display is now given to alternatives in foreign and defence policy reflecting the views of Jeremy Corbyn, which he has been open about and, quite naturally, made part of his democratic mandate. Those include opposition to military interventions of the West, support for the UK’s nuclear disarmament, conviction that NATO has outstayed its raison d’etre with the end of the Cold War, just to name a few.
Generally speaking, Europe, and more recently the US, have witnessed a surge of anti-system sentiment of the electorate, the rise of political movements and forces born out of it. This is a natural process that is hard to stop, and which, in its essence, aims to restore balance in social and economic policy of Western governments and overcome the shift towards power politics in global affairs.
It is against this backdrop that David Cameron said on Twitter that Jeremy Corbyn posed a threat to Britain’s national security, economic security and the security of just about every British family. As media reports suggest, these messages constitute the Conservative government’s strategy to counter the threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn and his mandate.
Such flagrant approach to the results of an absolutely democratic process made it hard to resist posting a comment, which I did. To say the truth, I did not anticipate such resonance, including outside Britain. It struck a chord with many due to the context of it, and I’m sure that context is decisive. As might be the method, in this case a democratic one. There is no ‘one’s own’ or ‘someone else’s’ democracy as there is no desired or dangerous one.
I agree with those political observers, who believe that this country in on the verge of a historic shift, which is imminent not only in Britain, but in the West as a whole. Essentially, this is a result of moral and intellectual decline of political elites, who in deed, if not in word, have drawn the wrong ‘end of history’ conclusions from the end of the Cold War: there are no alternatives to neo-liberal policies, the market will sort it all out automatically etc.