Britain’s Dark Moment. Por Stephen Daisley.
What makes the Tories’ electoral performance all the more humiliating is the grain of May’s opponent. Jeremy Corbyn was boosted into the Labour leader’s chair in 2015, when students and veteran communists flooded the party’s membership rolls and threw the primary for the ardent socialist. Every indicator, historical and psephological, pointed to a catastrophe should Corbyn lead Labour into an election. That he managed to increase Labour’s vote share and seat tally is undoubtedly a function of the divisions wrought by Brexit and of a chaotic Conservative election campaign that saw the Tories propose punitive entitlements reform on their elderly voter base and the Prime Minister hole up in Downing Street refusing to appear on camera as her polling numbers worsened.
This is only part of the story. The other part, as unavoidable as it is unpalatable, is that Jeremy Corbyn connected with a large segment of the UK population. An eccentric who spent thirty years championing crank causes from the backbenches, Corbyn attracted voters despite his record of sympathizing with and even championing the IRA, Hamas, and Hezbollah. He is no mere romantic radical. Corbyn associated with murderers, anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers. When the IRA attempted to assassinate Margaret Thatcher in 1984, killing five people in the process, Corbyn invited its leaders to the House of Commons and was later arrested protesting in “solidarity” outside the assassin’s trial. He still refuses to return the $26,000 he accepted from the Iranian regime’s Press TV.
That one-time opponents of Corbyn within the Labour Party have declared a truce is disheartening, but politics is politics. The real horror lies in the 40 percent of British voters who looked at this record and voted for Corbyn all the same. We are told by left-leaning commentators that these electors, among them the young and socially disenfranchised, were driven by despair at a sluggish economy, low-paying jobs, and seven years of punishing austerity. A similar rationale for blue collar America’s embrace of Donald Trump is met with scorn by these same observers. We are again divided by our common language: An American deplorable is a British progressive.
Last month I argued that Jeremy Corbyn presented the UK with a moral test: Were we a country that could tolerate toleration of anti-Semitism, that could support a man who supported the killers of our people in Northern Ireland? We came perilously close to failing that test. We still might.