Jeremy Corbyn Has Reshaped British Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has proved a lot of people, myself included, wrong in this general election campaign. The clouds of spring have hung over the country with a sense of foreboding over the past seven weeks. It felt inevitable that Theresa May would cement her majority and press on with a hard Brexit with renewed vigour. The Labour Party looked finished, its electoral successes seemed like they’d never happened and Corbyn seemed as though he was dragging the party of a cliff and down a cave.

Alas - the Tories remain the largest party, but a hung parliament was described by some commentators as ‘’incredible’’ for the performance of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the polls. This election was meant to be a shoe-in for Theresa May; it was an anointment.

As she rubbed shoulders with Erdogan on foreign visits, she took lessons on seizing political power from one of the world’s emerging despots. She seemed not to have listened very closely, as this election has backfired spectacularly and puts her own position in doubt. It’s as if an incumbent Tory leader calling unnecessary votes might be a bad idea. I suspect David Cameron and George Osborne will wear wry smiles over the next few days.

And yet, despite facing a vitriolic press, despondent MPs and an initially unsympathetic public, Jeremy Corbyn has conducted a candid campaign full of energy and positivity that has engaged many swathes of society that had previously shunned mainstream politics. Young people become more engrossed than even before the EU referendum and despite its outcome Corbyn reignited a passion for politics that I haven’t seen before in my peers.

The accepted law that a left-wing manifesto is unelectable seems to have been shattered

He never sunk to personal attacks, and recast the Labour Party as the party of youthful dynamism that was capable of reshaping the country after seven years of Tory rule. Theresa May has been punished for her complacency and her cowardice. By refusing to take part in debates, declining to take questions from journalists and her manifesto u-turns she has shown herself to be far from the ‘strong and stable’ leader that she sought to portray herself as. When asking of the nation who we thought should lead the country in Brexit negotiations, the response to me seems clear; not her.

It isn’t all cheers mind. The Tories look most likely to be leading the next administration, even if Theresa May might not. Corbyn has had a number of years to have been making these inroads in what has been an ultimately disappointing tenure up until the launch of the campaign. Questions too need to be asked about where this campaigning prowess was in the EU campaign.

The accepted law that a left-wing manifesto is unelectable seems to have been shattered and political pundits will have to find new ways to frame policies that go beyond the simplistic dichotomy of left and right.

Promoting the nationalisation of industry has been seen as electoral suicide for the past 35 years. Even if Corbyn isn’t in a position to implement these plans as the next Prime Minister, he has reshaped the British political landscape for decades to come.  

More about the author

About the author

Hailing from Sheffield, and now based in London, Checan is a politics graduate and freelance writer with a keen interest in equality, social mobility and mental health. Alongside being a columnist for Disclaimer, he also writes and runs partnerships for U-ZINE as well as blogging for the Huffington Post. He spends most of his time drinking tea and waxing lyrical about the world and society.

Follow Checan on Twitter.

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