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Comrade Corbyn, our sea-green incorruptible.

THOSE OF US who can remember the 1980s are relishing this rerun of Labour’s self-destructiveness playing itself out in the current leadership campaign. And it’s all down to one man: Jeremy Corbyn.

Until now Corbyn has always been a bit player in British politics. I shouldn’t think most people had heard of him till he popped up as the sudden favourite in the race. The Labour establishment only allowed him to take part in order to demonstrate how democratically open-minded they were, hardly expecting this far left outlier to gain much support. Now he’s the only face in town – and on tv. With polls suggesting he’s heading for victory and a major part in the ineluctable civil war to follow, there are people in Labour calling for the whole contest to be scrapped.

The situation has been exacerbated by Labour’s decision to change the rules, allowing “supporters” to sign up for a mere £3.00 and vote in the election. This provided an open door to entryist subversion by Tories and anti-Labourites alike, through which they duly entered. Labour in the 1980s suffered from entryism by Militant Tendency and other loons. Now it’s suffering a similar situation with “Tories for Corbyn”. Unable to learn from their own history, riven by divisions and incompetent, they are, as the late Terry-Thomas would say, “an absolute shower”.

Nevertheless, everyone seems to agree that Corbyn is a man of principle, even his opponents. So principled, in fact, that he was willing to sacrifice his son’s education to preserve his own sea-green political incorruptibility. He separated from his first wife partly because she wanted their son to go to a grammar school and he didn’t. On that issue he certainly broke ranks with your regular Labour MPs who are happy to send their own kids to private schools or the best comprehensives they can finagle their way into while decreeing everybody else make do with whatever they’re stuck with.

BUT UNLESS YOU’RE one of his fans, like Charlotte Church, who admires the fact that he has “something inherently virtuous about him”, it’s hard not to see Corbyn as a tedious, remorseless do-gooder who has been able to make a decent career out of his virtuousness. VSO, union work, anti-apartheid and anti-poverty activism, animal rights, Palestinian solidarity, nuclear disarmament, vegetarianism, you name it, he’s on the ticket.

He’s our very own sea-green incorruptible, the very model of the trendy prole, right down to the beard and the Trotsky cap.

He’s our very own sea-green incorruptible, the very model of the trendy prole, right down to the beard and the Trotsky cap. As he is when cosying up to terrorist groups such as the IRA, the left’s bombers of choice during the Troubles, and now Hamas and Hezbollah. It’s the Barricades Syndrome that afflicts even the mildest of bien-pensants. No wonder the currently-being-disgraced Lord Sewel has described him as a ”typical romantic idiot”.

He won’t call himself a Marxist, though, being more of a “we’ve all got something to learn from Marx”-ist. He may despise the Blairites but he employs their habit of purging the language of frightening words that will remind people of the bad Old Labour days. “Socialist” is just about re-salvageable but “bourgeois” isn’t. He even shies away from “nationalisation” sometimes when talking about the utilities and railways.

His policies are standard left wing fare: more state control, more state spending, more welfare, less private enterprise, no immigration controls, tax the rich, nationalise everything in sight, make everything free, etc. Apart from the possibility that he’ll campaign against continued membership of the EU, he expounds policies the electorate soundly rejected at the last election, as they did during the 1980s heyday of Labour lunacy. That he can claim people didn’t vote for Miliband because he wasn’t left enough shows there’s something special about him, but not in a good way.

Labour consigned themselves to nearly two decades out of power the last time they indulged in this behaviour.

YOU CAN SEE why the Tories are delighted at this spectacle. Labour consigned themselves to nearly two decades out of power the last time they indulged in this behaviour. It could be a lot worse now they’ve been reduced by the SNP. They might all hate Blair these days but at least he won three elections in a row. He called it correctly on the recent election: “a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result”. He knew the only way Labour can ever get in is to pretend to be Tories with smiley faces and mockney accents.

That’s not the way of the sea-green Corbynites, of course, whose honesty is unusual but fatal. They can’t do the pretending bit; they’re upfront about their plans and that guarantees they’ll never get a whiff of power. It took about ten years for Blair and Brown to trash the economy last time. Corbyn and his mates would do it in two.

At the moment, then, it’s Corbyn, Corbyn all the way, right to the ludicrous end, so spare a thought for the other non-entities running for leader. As Oscar Wilde quipped: there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. Hardly anyone is talking about them, whoever they are.

Michael Blackburn.

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