|A guide to|
|God Save the Queen?|
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (born 26 May 1949) is a
former Jedi Knight British socialist and old-fashioned Labour Party politician (remember when the Labour Party was electable?) The MP for Islington North since 1983, he became Leader of the Opposition in September 2015 following a month-long Labour Party leadership election.
Corbyn is fascinating if only for the general hatred directed at him by everyone, from the left to the far-right. The left hates him for dragging his feet on the whole Brexit thing, rather than rallying his pro-EU constituencies. Blairites ("Pink Tories" who rode in on Tony's shirttails and haven't got a Marxist bone in their bodies) hate him because he is driving them out of the party and into the Tories' open arms where they belong. Newspapers hate him because Blairites are like a dog on a leash who will obey Murdoch's every command. Tories hate him because the middle class is not nice and liberal like in other countries, but instead treat the lower class as some sort of foreign country.
Corbyn was born in southern England to a weather forecaster and a maths teacher, who had met during the Spanish Civil War. Corbyn grew up in socialist youth organisations such as the Wrekin Constituency Young Socialists, and was also a member of the League Against Cruel Sports. After school he became an official for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, and later served in the Labour Party as a supporter of Tony Benn during his failed 1981 leadership challenge.
Corbyn rose to a further level of prominence in the early 1980s as an activist, campaigning against the separate 1970s arrests of eleven and six men following a series of pub bombings by the Provisional IRA. It would later be revealed their confessions were forced by torture on the part of the London Met, and they were released from prison in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Alongside this Corbyn has served in anti-war and anti-WMD organizations.
 Parliamentary career (1983-2015)
Corbyn is known in the Labour Party for being one of their most rebellious MPs. He is a longtime member of the left-wing party grouping, the Socialist Campaign Group, and voted against the party's whips 238 times between 2005-2010 (equating to 25% of all votings.) Hardly surprising then, that he was kept on the sidelines during Tony Blair's New Labour period of 1994-2010.
 Leader of the Opposition
Corbyn entered the Labour leadership election in the aftermath of the disastrous 2015 general election as a rank outsider, priced at 200-1 for victory by British bookmakers. Campaigning against the New Labour platform of Third Way politics, Corbyn won the election in the first round with 59% of the vote. This is actually a fairly impressive achievement, even by the standards of 59% majorities. The Labour leadership elections run on an instant runoff system, and the last one in 2010 had gone right to the wire, with Ed Miliband beating his brother David Miliband by less than 1% after four rounds of voting. Corbyn, by contrast, thoroughly curbstomped his rivals on first preferences alone, making him far and away the membership's most desired candidate.
However, the election was not without problems, some members of the Conservative Party voted for and encouraged others to vote for Corbyn under the belief his victory would eliminate Labour as a political threat. Alongside this were complaints from a handful of trade unionists, who found they were banned from voting due to their hard-left ties (ironic given Labour's origins as a trade unionist party). Ironically, after all of the panic about "entryists" and Tory chancers it turned out that even if the election had only polled full members of the party, Corbyn would have won as he got just under 50% of the vote in this group alone, albeit probably having to go to a second round of voting first.
 Actions once in power
- The appointment of left-wing Guardian columnist Seumas Milne as his communications director induced a frenzy of "OMG! OMG! OMG!" among the right as well as collective pearl-clutching from Serious People on the Responsible Left.
- In October 2015, the Saudi ambassador to the UK denounced Corbyn for his leading role in skuttling a trade deal with Riyadh. The move is widely perceived to have resulted from Corbyn's lobbying against the beheading and crucifixion Saudi Arabia imposed on a Shia protester, who was 17 when he protested against the Saudi ruling family. Ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is angry about attacks from Corbyn and others on the human rights record of his country. The UK is a strong ally of the Saudis and both the UK government and a compliant media – especially the BBC – typically
avoid like the proverbial plaguestay quiet about the Saudi's human rights abominations.
- Corbyn appointed Seumas Milne the party's
spin doctorDirector of Strategy and Communication. Milne has been strongly criticised in the past for views which have included apologetics for Stalinism, that NATO should be tried for crimes against Libya, describing Iraqis who helped the US try to rebuild their country as "quislings", and other stances which will only add fire to the British press hysterics about "Red Jezza". Even some who really ought to approve of Milne (The New Statesman, for example) seem to have issues dealing with this appointment.
- He reached his first true victory by forcing George Osborne to back away from his $4 billion cut in benefits, which would've robbed 3 million families of an average £1,300 a year. Even Osborne's fellow Tories felt he was too cruel. Unfortunately, Osborne, being Osborne, will replace the tax credits with Universal Credit, which means he'll get his billions in benefits cut anyway, just under another name.
- To prevent the right wing from breaking with the party, Corbyn authorized a free vote on airstrikes in Syria within his party, allowing over 60 Labour MPs vote in lockstep with the Tories and ignite the war drive; although Corbyn himself and much of his shadow cabinet voted no. 7 Tories including former chairman David Davis also voted against airstrikes.
- The first real test of Corbyn's electoral popularity was a by-election in December 2015 at Oldham in England's northwest. Labour won the election with an increased share of the vote. This was despite the British media widely predicting a disaster for Labour, "because Corbyn".
 Corb Your Enthusiasm
Corbyn, who did a lot of campaigning for Remain, all-too-correctly gauged the opinion of the British public: lukewarm support either way. 63% of Labour voters chose Remain, while the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon ran a high-profile Remain campaign, and 64% of SNP voters said stay. The Leave campaign appealed massively to the poor, and that should have been Corbyn's bag.
It's fair to say JC wasn't too unhappy with the result: He believes in public ownership, and has said in the past that this is contrary to the EU's ambitions. But instead of actually taking advantage of the biggest opportunity to lay into the Tories in decades, Labour choose that moment to overthrow their leader? It's one thing for a few 'high-fliers' in the party to stab him in the neck, but 172 MPs voted against him. There are also a disturbing number of councillors who reported that they came under pressure to drop Corbyn or convince him to step down. Some who were listed on letters of No Confidence have since claimed that they were never aware of a letter or that they never agreed to sign it.
Cards on the table: There is a reason why Labour was unelectable for twenty years during Thatcher, and why Blair moved the party to the middle. Let the Tories occupy the middle and they will win landslide after landslide. But it seems like no centrist leader can take power in this climate. It will either be a shift to the left or the right. The fact that people who are demonstrably unelectable – David Miliband, Ed "Ed Balls" Balls and Neil Kinnock to name but a few – keep telling the party that Corbyn is unelectable seems disingenuous, at least. It also turns out when party pariahs such as Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair tell Corbyn supporters to get a heart transplant, it doesn't work out well. Who knew? However, when all other politicians seem to be crumbling under the referendum, and despite having journalists camped outside his house 24/7 and a questionable campaign of negativity against him, the fact he is still leader is pretty remarkable.
It's arguably a moot point, anyway; the party can't survive the installation of a right-wing candidate against the will of its members. Another plus point for Corbyn is that he seems to court the youth vote. There's many more young people than old in the UK, but you wouldn't believe it from the votes.
 Controversial stances
Corbyn has stated that the militantly anti-Zionist and arguably anti-semitic organizations Hezbollah and Hamas must be engaged if the peace process in the Middle East is to move forward. In one particularly misguided statement (which he later walked back from), he used the term "friends" when discussing Hezbollah and Hamas; his justification (as he said in a particularly heated discussion with Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4 News) for using that term was that he was using in a collective sense, and that he wanted these organisations to be a part of the debate on the Middle East in Parliament. He has also been supportive of – and attended – al Quds day rallies, which many Israel-activists claim support antisemitism, incitement to racial hatred and support of terrorist organisations. On the other hand, many Arab activists see al-Quds Day - which has been held yearly since 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the first al Quds day in Tehran - as a worldwide event in support of Arab rights in Jerusalem. During this event in 2012, Corbyn was photographed standing in front of a Hezbollah flag (a major PR blunder, to say the least) – the person who took the photograph was (and is) a supporter of Corbyn's who refused to sell his picture to the press and says it was "unfortunate" the photo was taken in front of the flag. Corbyn has also appeared on Iranian state network Press TV regarding the Gaza flotilla raid, in place of George Galloway. He has appeared on the channel 5 times in the years 2009–12, his final appearance being six weeks after the station had its broadcasting licence revoked by Ofcom by airing the forced confession of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari and received a fee of up to £5,000 for his appearances.
 Moar controversial stances
- He has also blamed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on NATO's expansion eastward. While he has stated that "I am not an admirer or supporter of Putin's foreign policy, or of Russian or anybody else's expansion". He also suggested NATO should agree not to include Ukraine as a member state in exchange for Putin removing his troops.
- Although he takes many admirable pro-science positions — in particular, unlike his brother Piers Corbyn he accepts global warming as a real and serious problem — his and his political allies' stance on homeopathy is dangerously close to dog whistles like "needs more study" or "haven't looked into it, but it sounds promising".
- Corbyn controversially advocated that evidence of rebel responsibility for the use of sarin gas in Syria be considered and felt that that evidence was stronger than evidence the government used it.
- Corbyn is against Trident (Britain's nuclear deterrent) and wants to scrap it. He has also said that if he were prime minister he would not press the nuclear button. 
- After years of pointedly going tieless, he sold out and started wearing one once he got the leader's job. Boo! Hiss!
Regardless of one's politics, the smear campaign against him is pretty hilarious. While Corbyn has stayed largely-silent as Labour leader (unless it's during Question Time, when he cuts David Cameron into fish food), The Scum, Times, Mail and Telegraph are in a total panic over Corbyn:
- being an Al-Qaeda supporter (two can play at that game)
- not singing the national anthem (She ain't no human being!), but still attending a memorial and standing up
- riding a "Mao-style bicycle" wherever possible
- growing his own fruit and vegetables on an allotment (a plot of public land made available for individual gardening or growing food plants), even more proof of his collectivist sympathies
- his refusal to bow deeply enough at the cenotaph for Remembrance Day Followed by doing a merry "dance". They knew it was libel. They knew it wouldn't pass muster and would have to be retracted. They weighed the options and posted it anyway, quickly removing the story after enough people saw it and confirmed their biases. At least we got one of the finest gifs of 2016 out of it.
It seems to have permeated the BBC as well. Less than a week into his leadership, they aired a piece on Corbyn's pick for Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell. In the 2 minute piece, they played a clip of McDonnell saying "assassinate Thatcher" and his suspension from the House of Commons while waving around a mace. The reason he was suspended is because he opposed the third runway at Heathrow and the displacement of people from their family homes/jobs. Looks like future of Britain's "free press" is weirdly... American.
A whistleblower who had worked for the UK's Metropolitan Police revealed that Corbyn and nine other Labour MPs had been targets of surveillance and the compilation of dossiers on their political activities. Corbyn has responded:
|I am a democratically elected person and it turns out I was put under surveillance for a long time because I campaigned on human rights issues and was involved in justice campaigns...At the Metropolitan Police somebody authorised this and I want to know who.|
 Who he's not
Also not Jeremy Corbyn, and his beard puts Jez's to shame.
Jeremy Corbyn, according to the Times, a once-respectable newspaper (and they do share a sinister like of bicycles).
 See also
- NewsThump would like to reliably inform you that Rupert Murdoch travels in a "Jimmy Savile-style car"
- ↑ Sam Haysom, "People Can't Stop Comparing Labour's New Leader to Obi-Wan Kenobi"
- ↑ Wilkinson, Michael, "Jeremy Corbyn will finally purge 'virus' of Tony Blair from Labour, union says", Telegraph (6/30/16 at 2:36PM BST).
- ↑ Pickard, Jim, "Jeremy Corbyn targets ‘ludicrous’ pay and Murdoch’s media empire", Financial Times (8/23/15 at 7:06 pm).
- ↑ Bodkin, Henry, "Jeremy Corbyn's overgrown garden reflects the man himself, Alan Titchmarsh says", Telegraph (6/29/16 at 1:11am). Or maybe, Alan, he's not that into gardening.
- ↑ "Voting Record for Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North (10133)". The Public Whip. 2015.
- ↑ Jeremy as 200–1 outsider:
- Joe Watts, Ramzy Alwakeel. "Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn storms to victory with nearly 60 per cent of first preference vote" Evening Standard. Saturday 12 September 2015 11:43 BST;
- "Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership contest and vows 'fightback'" BBC News. Saturday 12 September 2015;
- Tom Porter. "Jeremy Corbyn sweeps to landslide victory in Labour leadership contest" International Business Times. Saturday 12 September 2015 11:57 BST.
- ↑ Labour leadership race: Tories back Jeremy Corbyn in bid to damage party
- ↑ Rowena Mason, "Labour bans trade union head from voting in leadership election", The Guardian, Tuesday 25 August 2015
- ↑ http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/seaumus-milne-appointment#.eeNJDx6w2
- ↑ http://hurryupharry.org/2015/10/22/seumas-milne-and-hamas/
- ↑ "Saudi ambassador says Jeremy Corbyn 'lacks respect'". Daily Telegraph. 25 October 2015.
- ↑ "Hostile BBC Interview of a Saudi Loyalist Shows Prime Journalistic Duty: Scrutiny of One’s Own Side". The Intercept.
- ↑ "I wanted to believe in Jeremy Corbyn. But I can't believe in Seumas Milne". New Statesman.
- ↑ Gordon Rayner, "Jeremy Corbyn's millionaire spin doctor Seumas Milne sent his children to top grammar schools", Daily Telegraph, Friday 23 October 2015.
- ↑ Kevin Maguire. "Autumn Statement 2015: Jeremy Corbyn earns a famous victory in Tory tax credit cuts U-turn". Mirror.
- ↑ Patrick Butler. "Tory MPs cheer George Osborne's climbdown on tax credit cuts". The Guardian.
- ↑ Andrew Sparrow. "Labour's Jim McMahon wins Oldham byelection - as it happened". The Guardian.
- ↑ Heather Stewart and Anushka Asthana, "Jeremy Corbyn to urge 'warts and all' backing of European Union", Guardian (4/14/16 03.52 EDT). i.e. he didn't excite the press with wild hyperbole and outright lies.
- ↑ How the UK voted and why, Lord Ashcroft Polls, 24 June 2016
- ↑ Nicholas Cecil and Joe Murphy "Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn cronies blamed for sabotaging Labour’s Remain bid", Evening Standard 6.30.16.
- ↑ "EU referendum: Most London boroughs vote to remain", BBC 6.24.16. If Margaret Hodge - who submitted the no confidence vote - looked at her own constituency she would see it voted 62% for Leave.
- ↑ Foster, Alice, "Corbyn’s Eurosceptic past: What did he say before?" Daily Express (Updated 6/2/16 at 6:37 pm).
- ↑ McSmith, Andy, "Jeremy Corbyn supporter taunts Labour MPs over failed leadership coup", Independent 7.2.16..
- ↑ Eaton, James, "Jeremy Corbyn faces no confidence motion and leadership challenge", New Statesman 6.24.16.
- ↑ Elkes, Neil, "'I didn't call for Corbyn to go' says Birmingham councillor named on Labour website", Birmingham Mail (Updated 7/1/16 at 5:08 pm).
- ↑ Hopper, Joshua (1 December 2016). "Corbyn doesn't need "electability" lessons from Ed Balls". Revolitics.
- ↑ "Jeremy Corbyn wins vote on Labour leadership rules", BBC 7.12.16. The world's worst coup continues!
- ↑ Mortimer, Caroline, "Fury as new members barred from voting in fresh Labour leadership contest by NEC", Independent 7.12.16. 100,000 new members getting involved in politics shouldn't be told to get stuffed.
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 "I wanted Hamas to be part of the debate", Channel 4 News.
- ↑ Jeremy Corbyn on Hamas and Hezbollah
- ↑ Corbyn at odds with leadership rivals over Israel boycott at hustings, Jewish News Online.
- ↑ Selda, Hada. Islamic Human Rights Commission & Al Quds Day: Tip of the UK's Iranian support network iceberg, UK Media Watch (formerly CiF Watch) 14 August 2012
- ↑ What is Al Quds Day? Islamic Human Rights Commission (20 June 2015)
- ↑ "Name your Price": No, says Photographer to Agency Preparing to use Corbyn Photograph out of Context, 14 September 2015
- ↑ Press TV-Comment with Jeremy Corbyn-06-03-2010 (Part1), via Press TV's official YouTube channel.
- ↑ Payne, Adam. "Jeremy Corbyn was paid by an Iranian state TV station that was complicit in the forced confession of a tortured journalist". (2 July 2016). Business Insider.
- ↑ http://sputniknews.com/voiceofrussia_uk/news/2014_08_30/Ukraine-crisis-resolved-by-ending-NATO-s-expansionist-role-British-MP-1556/
- ↑ Nicholas Watt, "Jeremy Corbyn: 'We are not doing celebrity, personality or abusive politics - this is about hope'", The Guardian, Friday 7 August 2015
- ↑ House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 Feb 2015 (pt 0001)
- ↑ Watt, Nicholas (7 August 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn: 'We are not doing celebrity, personality or abusive politics – this is about hope'". The Guardian.
- ↑ Jeremy Corbyn: Where he stands on science and medicine
- ↑ http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/labours-new-shadow-health-minister-considers-backing-homeopa
- ↑ "Hard evidence of chemical weapons use 'does not solve Syrian issue'", RT - Interview with Jeremy Corbyn, 11 July 2013
- ↑ "Jeremy Corbyn row after 'I'd not fire nuclear weapons' comment", BBC News, Wednesday 30 September 2015
- ↑ "Jeremy Corbyn said Osama bin Laden should have been tried, not killed", Guardian (8/30/15 at 8:48 PM EDT).
- ↑ Rai, Shirin, "Why Corbyn’s silent stand through the anthem is a matter of national importance", The Conversation (9/16/15 at 1:24pm EDT).
- ↑ His 'Chairman Mao-like bicycle': Right-wing press loses the plot as Jeremy Corbyn hits out at 'poverty deniers'
- ↑ He doesn't, he owns a Trek 721 Multitrack, a rather boring American hybrid. (What?! Imperialist scum!)
- ↑ Who is Jeremy Corbyn?
- ↑ See , , , , , , , , , , , .
- ↑ Pontsford, Dominic, "Sun and Mail Online both take down stories claiming Jeremy Corbyn was 'dancing a jig' on way to Cenotaph", PressGazette 11.14.16.
- ↑ "Jeremy Corbyn unveils 'unifying' shadow cabinet team", BBC 9.14.15. Pandering more to the government to avoid cuts? Perish the thought.
- ↑ Rob Evans, "Police facing questions over covert monitoring of Jeremy Corbyn and other MPx", The Guardian, Friday 2 October 2015