| Ravishing guide to|
|God Save the Queen?|
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (1949–) is a
former Jedi Knight British socialist, old-fashioned Labour Party politician and former Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn, having been the MP for Islington North since 1983, has the sixth-longest record of continuous service in the Commons as of 2019, and became Leader of the Opposition following a month-long election in 2015. In the 2017 UK General Election, he did more to increase his party's vote share since Clement Attlee in 1945, before leading the party to its heaviest defeat since 1935 
Corbyn is fascinating if only for the universal hatred he garners, and his failure to win a general election, which is in part due to the people strongly disagreeing with him. Labour party officials sabotaging him may have also played a role. It depends on who you ask.
- 1 Background
- 2 Parliamentary career (1983–present)
- 3 Controversy within his own party
- 4 Controversial stances
- 5 Harassment
- 6 Weird trivia
- 7 Who he's not
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Corbyn was born in Wiltshire in southern England. His father, David, made a living as an electrical engineer, and his mother, Naomi, was a maths teacher. They met in a protest against Francisco Franco's fascist dictatorship in Spain. He became a member of Wrekin Constituency Young Socialists during his youth.  After leaving school, he served in the Labour Party as a supporter of Tony Benn during Benn's failed 1981 Labour 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 later emerged that the police extracted their confessions through torture, that these men were falsely accused, and they were released from prison in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Alongside this Corbyn has served in anti-war and anti-WMD organisations.
Parliamentary career (1983–present)
Corbyn is known as one of the Labour Party's 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 and 2010 (equating to 25% of all votes). So, it's not much of a surprise that he was kept on the sidelines during Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's New Labour government of 1997–2010.
Leader of the Opposition
Corbyn entered the Labour leadership election in the aftermath of the disastrous 2015 general election as a dark horse candidate, priced at 200 to 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 curb-stomped the other three contestants (Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall) on first preferences alone, making him far and away the membership's most desired candidate.
However, the election was not without problems: for example, 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 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 who is notable for using legitimate calls for Palestinian rights as a cover for support of terrorist organisation Hamas. Milne himself 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 United States 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 (such as The New Statesman) seem to have issues dealing with this appointment.
- In October 2015, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK denounced Corbyn for his leading role in scuttling a trade deal with Riyadh. The move is widely perceived to have resulted from Corbyn's lobbying against Saudi Arabia's crucifixion and beheading of a Shia protester, who was seventeen years old when he protested against the ruling Bin Saud 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 Saudi Arabia and both the UK Government and a compliant media—especially the BBC—typically
avoid like the proverbial plaguestay quiet about the Saudis' human rights abominations.
- He reached his first true victory by forcing George Osborne to back away from his £4,000,000,000 cut in benefits, which would've robbed 3,000,000 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 authorised a free vote on airstrikes in Syria within his party, allowing over 60 Labour MPs to vote in lockstep with the Tories and ignite the war drive; although Corbyn himself and much of his Shadow Cabinet voted against bombing the country. Seven Tories, including former Conservative Party chairman David Davis, also voted against air strikes at Syria.
- The first real test of Corbyn's electoral popularity was at a by-election in December 2015 at Oldham West and Royton in northwest England. 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 campaigned extensively for Remain despite his history of Euroscepticism, all too correctly gauged the opinion of the British public: lukewarm support either way. Sixty-three per cent of Labour voters chose Remain, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, Nicola Sturgeon (as first minister of Scotland) ran a high-profile Remain campaign, and 64% of SNP voters said they'd vote to Remain. The Leave campaign appealed massively to the poor, which should have been Corbyn's bag. As calls for a second referendum grew among his opponents in the years since the referendum, he was lukewarm to the idea, leading critics on the Blairite right and the pro-EU free-movement left to attack him for this position.
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, though this isn't actually supported by the facts of EU membership and is a common misconception on the left. But instead of taking advantage of the biggest opportunity to lay into the Tories in decades, Labour chose 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 out of 232 MPs voted against him. Additionally, a disturbingly large number of councillors 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 during Thatcher's 1980s, and why Blair moved the party to the centre. Let the Tories occupy the centre 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 were demonstrably unelectable—David Miliband, Ed Balls and Neil Kinnock to name but a few—kept telling the party that Corbyn was unelectable seems disingenuous, at least. It also turns out when party pariahs such as Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, and Tony Blair told Corbyn supporters to get a heart transplant, it didn't work out well. Who knew? However, when all other politicians seemed 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 remained 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 point in Corbyn's favour is that he seems to attract the youth vote. There're many more young people than old in the UK, but you wouldn't believe it from the votes.
June is the end of May
Conservative PM Theresa May made the miscalculation of calling a snap election for June 2017. In an election result that shocked everybody, Labour gained 30 seats, most of which were from Conservatives in seats that were deep blue for decades, and in one case, centuries. The youth turned out to vote in record numbers, and on the back of a progressive manifesto (including renationalisation and tuition fees being frozen for instance), Corbyn's Labour Party denied May a majority, giving her and the Tories the most humiliating pyrrhic victory in modern times; May was up by 24 points and called for a snap election to increase her majority, but ended up losing it.
Labour's 9.6% vote swing was its largest swing since 1945, when none other than Clement Attlee formed the first majority Labour government. This was the closest result in vote share between the two main parties since the February 1974 general election, and the highest vote share for an opposition party since the 1970 general election. Labour achieved its greatest share of the vote since 2001, and made a net gain of seats for the first time since 1997. Even the Blairites, or at least the Corbyn-skeptic liberals, started falling in line behind their leader. In July 2017, polls showed Corbyn's Labour with an eight-point lead over May’s Conservatives.
Destruction in December: The end of Corbyn as Opposition leader
In July 2019, Boris Johnson became prime minister after Theresa May announced her resignation due to the lack of confidence in the Conservative Party for her failure to gain a working majority in the 2017 general election and losses in the 2019 European Parliament election. Pretty much immediately, moderate Tories and the Corbyn-led Labour Party started blocking Johnson. Due to the impasse, Johnson called for a snap election, working in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP) to gain an outright majority of support for the measure. Corbyn, having not decided to take up the opportunity to force Johnson out as prime minister, was in a lose-lose situation. So, he and many in his party reluctantly agreed to support the call. The House of Commons passed the Early Parliamentary General Election Act for the election by a 438–20 vote, setting the election date for 12 December 2019.
During the campaign, Corbyn and Johnson presented very different views and set very different priorities. Johnson's message was simple: "Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain's Potential", and he pretty much ignored the rest. Corbyn and Labour drafted their manifesto "It's Time for Real Change" along the lines of moving the UK into a greater social democracy or into a democratic socialist state. This involved repealing university tuition fees, free child and elderly care, higher minimum wages, nationalisations of major industries and the railways, and moving 10% of corporate ownership into employees' hands. However, on the biggest issue of all, Brexit, Corbyn was a bit vague. Having once been a Leaver, Corbyn had to move to a more centrist position to appease the Remain base in the party. His proposal for Brexit was to work out a new deal and then put it to a referendum. Pointedly, however, he repeatedly refused to take a clear personal stance on the issue until backed into a corner at a debate, whereupon he finally declared ... neutrality.
The campaign was very bitter and downright depressing as Tories and Labour threw their vitriol at each other, both online and to the major leaders of the parties. The Tories and many of their allies in the media pushed night and day the narrative that Corbyn was an anti-Semite and that voting for Labour was a vote for Corbyn, which they made out to be the ultimate nightmare scenario. Admittedly, Corbyn didn't do the greatest job in handling the actual anti-Semites in his party and quelling the fears of the electorate, which many took as a lack of an apology - fuelled by his remarks that antisemitism was not rampant in his party. Many in the Jewish community, including the chief Rabbi of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, voiced their outrage and directly put the blame on Corbyn. At the final debate before the election, Corbyn gave a passionate speech about a hope for a change to benefit the many, not the few, and move the United Kingdom into a being a fairer and more equal society. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, sounded like Boris Johnson. Polls leading into election week were grim for Corbyn, showing a hefty Conservative lead.
The 2019 general election took place on 12 December. Exit polls from the night showed a gigantic lead for the Tories. The night unfolded into being the worst defeat Labour has seen since at least the Great Depression, losing a net 60 seats in Parliament to 202 and only 32.1% of the vote. The Tories accomplished a victory they had not since Thatcher's third win in 1987, winning 365 seats and having an outright majority that assured Boris Johnson that Brexit would get done under his terms. Labour was especially hit hard at their former "Red Wall" of the old industrialised northern England and the Midlands, many consistently by a double-digit swing. Almost immediately, Corbyn's critics pointed fingers at him for pushing too far to the Left (though keep in mind that many incumbent and challenging moderate Labour candidates and centrist Liberal Democrats were crushed as well) and for his perceived lack of effective response to antisemitism in the party. This loss has assured Tory rule for at least a decade. Corbyn made a statement saying that he would not lead Labour in future elections but would stay on as leader for the time being during a "period of reflection". Labour's historic 2019 defeat will most assuredly cause an internal war between leftists and those loyal to Corbyn and moderates to conservatives. Regardless of what factor or factors were most responsible for the loss, Corbyn missed many opportunities to prevent this.
Less than a year after the election defeat, Corbyn was "suspended from the party pending investigation". A report had found "serious failings" in dealing with anti-semitism, and that Corbyn's office had "politically interfered" with complaints. Corbyn responded to the accusations by saying they were "dramatically overstated". He was reinstated back into the party shortly afterwards.
Controversy within his own party
- Former Labour members came out as whistle blowers earlier in 2019, alleging that Jennie Formby (Labour's general secretary) was sweeping intra-party antisemitism allegations under the rug.
- Seven Labour MPs left the party to undertake the failed Change UK political experiment: the main reason cited was antisemitism.
- Notable activist against antisemitism and now former Labour MP for Bassetlaw, John Mann, quit the party to become the Government's Antisemitism Tsar at the next election.
Attempted overthrow of Tom Watson
- The now-former deputy leader is a controversial figure and a person with arguably poor judgement.
- The Corbyn wing of the party (not necessarily Corbyn himself) don't like him for many reasons, but mostly because they feel he undermines Corbyn's leadership.
- On 20 September 2019, there was an attempt to get rid of Tom Watson by removing the deputy leadership. However this was entirely binned soon after because Corbyn shot it down, preserving "party unity" at a time of great turmoil in British politics. Ended up being fairly pointless, since Watson stood down both as deputy leader and as a Member of Parliament on 6 November 2019 on good terms, unfortunately for people hoping for a catfight.
- Corbyn has stated that the militantly anti-Zionist and at that time explicitly 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 it 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 support antisemitism, incitement to racial hatred, and support of terrorist organisations.
- Jeremy has also spoken at Al Quds Day events. In the 2012 speech he made allusions to Israel having Nazi-style prison camps for dissident Palestinians, basically calling Israeli occupation a police state with "checkpoints and watch towers". At the same time, 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.
- On the other hand, many Arab activists see al-Quds Day—which has been held annually since 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the first al Quds day in Tehran—as a worldwide event in support of Arab rights in Jerusalem.
- Corbyn has also appeared on Iranian news channel Press TV regarding the Gaza flotilla raid, in place of George Galloway.
- He has appeared on the Iranian news channel five times in the years 2009–12, his final appearance being six weeks after the station had its UK broadcasting licence revoked by Ofcom for airing the forced confession of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari and received a fee of up to £5,000 for his appearances.
Anne Applebaum, a Polish-American journalist and critic of Vladimir Putin, has described Corbyn as the latest "in a long line of [Russia's] useful idiots." The reasons for this include the following:
- Corbyn controversially argued that evidence of rebel responsibility for the use of sarin gas in Syria was stronger than evidence the Syrian government (who are allied with Russia) were the perpetrators.
- 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. Corbyn's views on NATO's expansion are similar to those of Harvard professor Stephen Walt.
- Corbyn has said he would rather the UK were not a member of NATO. He has suggested closing it down and said it should have been disbanded in 1990. He is the first Labour leader to not support the military alliance. Ben Judah said that taking the UK out of NATO would "pointlessly destabilise Europe" and strengthen Russia.
- He is consistently opposed to military interventions on principle. He was the chair of the Stop the War Coalition from 2011 until his election as Labour leader in September 2015, and continues to support the group. Stop the War has refused to criticise Russia, supports their point of view, and consistently blames the West for Russian aggression.
- Corbyn supports and recommends the Russian propaganda outlet RT. He has also appeared as a guest on RT.
More controversial stances
- 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 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. However, there is a good case to be made that any nuclear strike in the modern world would most definitely not be the last, and that being the first person to hit the nuclear button doesn't do much except make the other nation want to retaliate.
- In August 2015, Corbyn received criticism in relation to the idea of women-only train carriages, despite him never outright advocating for the idea as a concrete policy. He only said he would "consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome."
- In November 2016, he praised the achievements of the recently deceased former Cuban president Fidel Castro. Corbyn said "he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice." He highlighted Castro's achievements such as "building a world class health and education system." He did somewhat acknowledge Castro's flaws by saying "there were problems and there are problems of excesses by all regimes" but failed to mention the systematic human rights abuses of the Cuban government. Corbyn has also been a long-time supporter of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
- Although most people would agree that he isn't anti-Semitic, anti-Semitism has flourished in the Labour Party leading some critics to conclude that he is soft on anti-Semitism. He also hasn't exactly helped matters by defending an anti-Semitic mural that was due to be taken down.
- After years of pointedly going tieless, he sold out and started wearing one once he got the leader's job. Boo! Hiss!
“”But Mr Corbyn appeared bemused as he was led across the grass, and on being handed the microphone he started speaking while facing away from the cameraman. The ludicrous situation was only remedied when a desperate aide leapt into shot and pulled him round to address the TV crew. Labour has been trying to make a virtue of Mr Corbyn's ham-fisted presentation — saying the amateurishness shows he is authentic.
|—Corbyn speaking towards the audience rather than the cameras, as reported by the Mail|
Regardless of one's politics, the smear campaign against him was pretty hilarious. While Corbyn was largely silent as Labour leader (except during Question Time, when he cut David Cameron into fish food and The Submarine into her spare parts), The Scum, Times, Mail and Telegraph were in a total panic over Corbyn:
- Being an Al-Qaeda supporter (two can play at that game)
- Having a great-great-grandfather who was a 'despotic' master of a workhouse
- Silently munching noodles at Labour meetings (no, not The Onion)
- 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 of farm produce), 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.
- 'Pointing fingers' at rich people with 'a relish and vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks'
- Not watching the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day, presumably because he's a filthy republican too busy being plotting the Queen's demise at the homeless shelters he goes to
- Not cleaning his house???
It seems to have permeated the BBC as well. Less than a week into his leadership, they aired a piece on Corbyn's shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell. In the two-minute piece, they played a clip of McDonnell saying "assassinate Thatcher" and his suspension from the House of Commons while waving around a mace. He was suspended due to his opposing the third runway at Heathrow and the displacement of people from their family homes and jobs. Looks like the 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.
- He's the brother of British climate change denier Piers Corbyn, about as far from Jeremy as you can get. Piers Corbyn also appeared on The Alex Jones Show of all places.  Even more confusingly he used to be a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, along with their late older brother, Andrew. Who knows what happened to make him go on Alex Jones, have some standards.
- It has been claimed that he was in a relationship with former shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott in the late 1970s
Who he's not
Not Jeremy Corbyn. But close.
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).
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- Seumas Milne and Hamas
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- Heather Stewart and Anushka Asthana, "Jeremy Corbyn to urge 'warts and all' backing of European Union", Guardian (14 April 2016 03.52 EDT). In other words, he didn't excite the press with wild hyperbole and outright lies.
- How the UK voted and why, Lord Ashcroft Polls, 24 June 2016.
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- "Jeremy Corbyn wins vote on Labour leadership rules", BBC 12 July 2016. The world's worst coup continues!
- Mortimer, Caroline, "Fury as new members barred from voting in fresh Labour leadership contest by NEC", Independent 12 July 2016. A hundred thousand new members getting involved in politics shouldn't be told to get stuffed.
- It's Time for Real Change
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- Guardian News (10th of July 2019). Whistle Blowers Come Forward
- Labour MPs Quit
- John Mann Stands Down
- Tom Accidently Gave Weight to False Pedo Allegations Done by Actual Pedophile Carl Beach
- Opinion of Prominent Labour Activist Rachael Swindon
- Labour conference: Move to abolish deputy post ditched Via the BBC.
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- Al Quds Is Antisemitic
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- House of Commons Hansard Debates for 10 Feb 2015 (pt 0001)
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- If Stop The War wants peace, why does it indulge Russia's wars?, The New Statesman, 12 October 2016
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- "Cuba's repressive machinery". Human Rights Watch. 1999.
- "World Report 2009: Cuba". Human Rights Watch. 2009.
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- 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 MPs", The Guardian, Friday 2 October 2015
- Piers Corbyn on The Alex Jones Channel
- Why Jeremy Corbyn epitomises the essence of posh radicalism 7 June 2017,via Tatler.
- Dianne and Jeremy were lovers"