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Corbyn emerges stronger post UK polls

Labour’s movement for a new Britain gains momentum, writes Arun Srivastava.

Corbyn emerges stronger post UK polls
Mocked and derided from the beginning of his career as the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has transcended expectations. He has achieved the unexpected. The man, who began his campaign to be Labour leader as a 100-1 outsider, and was systematically despised and derided as unelectable, increased the number of Labour seats—a prospect many saw as unthinkable when British Prime Minister Theresa May called for snap elections on April 18.

Corbyn may not have achieved the unthinkable to emerge as the possible claimant for the office of the Prime Minister, but he defied the expectations of opponents and pollsters with the result that may not necessarily put him in Downing Street but deliver a hung Parliament rather than the anticipated cull of Labour MPs. What was most important that he could achieve this feat in the face of bitter criticism not only from his opponents but also from some of his own Labour comrades.

The primary reason for his triumph is that he understood that voters want to be inspired rather than lectured; the young Britons aspire to usher in a new political order. Even while the elections were approaching fast, his detractors tried to spread the impression around that Corbyn disposes what May proposes. But unfortunately for his adversaries, their tactics failed; there were no takers for this snide. His charisma allowed the Labour party to register a ten per cent increase in its support while the Tories did suffer a five per cent decline.

The performance of Corbyn also cautions the political establishment to not deride and lampoon political opponents. We have been witnessing politicians practising this nature of politics. The leader of the ruling party, precisely the Prime Minister, taking nasty jibes at the opponent and questioning his political acumen and credibility. Corbyn's rebuff to May should serve as the right lesson to learn. They must not treat them as superhumans, as Corbyn's detractors disparaged him. No one knows the mood of the people. A five per cent swing in people's mood jeopardised the future of the British Prime Minister.

With a hung Parliament, May and his close aides have already put their efforts to salvage the situation so that she continues to hold the office, obviously with the support of some other party, but coinciding with this move a significant number of Tory MPs have started a campaign for her removal. Their argument has been; she has failed to read the mind of the voters and motivate them to stand by her and vote for her. It is believed that the Tory MPs have already converged on the new leader, who will head the coalition government. By the early hours of Friday morning, the pressure was mounting on the Prime Minister to quit. Tory MPs nurse "she ought to go."

Jeremy Corbyn who is attributed to have changed the face of the British politics and rewrite the political history of UK has called for May to resign after the confirmation of a hung Parliament. He said people "have had enough of austerity politics" as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister. Politics isn't going back into the box where it was before. What's happened is people have said they've had quite enough of austerity politics." It is quite significant that May tasted the defeat just 11 days ahead of Brexit talks begin. True enough the general election result will be seen as a disaster in Brussels, where officials have been eager to get on with Brexit negotiations with a Prime Minister in command of her party.

This defeat has no doubt denied her the authority to begin the Brexit talk. "She wanted a mandate", Corbyn said, "well the mandate she has got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence." One could gauge the jolt May felt from her observations: "It is bad. It was a dreadful night. I've lost some excellent and remarkable friends. This is a very bad moment for the Conservative party, and we need to take stock, and our leader needs to take stock." The former chancellor George Osborne described it as a "catastrophic" result. May's defeat also owes to the huge societal divisions. Unfortunately, the Tories preferred to ignore the emerging trend.

The failure of the Prime Minister's election gamble, taken at a stage when the party was more than 20 points ahead in the polls, triggered uncertainty on the eve of Brexit talks, causing a drop in the value of sterling and pound. Corbyn sustained a string of attacks from Conservatives as well as from the media; many newspapers called on their readers to reject him in Thursday's poll. They also accused Corbyn of being a terrorist sympathiser.

This verdict reflects the peoples' endorsement of his capabilities to understand and comprehend the existing political and economic condition of the country as well his alternative model to meet the challenges. His political opponents decried his manifesto. But the verdict is the manifestation of peoples' approval of his programmes and policies. The young people have undoubtedly rallied behind him for his call to overhaul the education system and bring education at the doorstep of the people to empower them. The creation of job and throwing away the pretence of being the yes man of America has been widely appreciated.

Just a few weeks ago Theresa May set out on the mission to grind Labour into dust with a snap election whose express purpose was to deliver a crushing majority. In fact three weeks ago, her party had a 20-point lead. But the more Corbyn unpacked his policies the lead started to narrow. However, the people sent the rejection slip to her. Whoever forms the next government will still arguably have a mandate for Brexit, thanks to the referendum. During the referendum, Corbyn had campaigned on a soft Brexit platform stressing continued access to the single market.

Behind the façade of wisdom an insinuation campaign has been launched against Corbyn for last two years, but when the said wisdom was put before the national electorate, the Labour party emerged victorious under Corbyn, he was electable. Those who held the wisdom were the scientists. To take Labour's prospects seriously under Corbyn was to abandon being taken yourself seriously. If May manages to get a majority, her leadership would still be weakened, as the Conservatives had been hoping for a clear-cut lead in seats of up to 100. But the Britons denied her.

May toured many Labour-held target constituencies to win over the pro-Brexit heartlands. But unfortunately, her proposed shake-up of social care, which meant people would have to pay for care in their homes out of the value of their property, went down extremely badly with voters. Even her move to abandon the triple lock on pensions and withdraw winter fuel payments from the wealthy failed to get support. While Corbyn was accused of coming out with the anti-people and unpopular policies, but in the actual sense, it now transpires that Tory manifesto failed to catch the peoples' imagination as it was full of unpopular policies and lacked incentives.

(The views expressed are strictly personal.)
Arun Srivastava

Arun Srivastava

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