The conservative British pundit Peter Hitchens disagrees with nearly everything the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stands for, but he’s delighted by Corbyn’s winning leadership of the party. Excerpt:
If (like me) you have attended any of Mr Corbyn’s overflowing campaign meetings, you will have seen the hunger – among the under-30s and the over-50s especially – for principled, grown-up politics instead of public relations pap.
Mr Corbyn reminds mature people of the days when the big parties really differed. He impresses the young because he doesn’t patronise them, and obviously believes what he says. This desire for real politics isn’t just confined to the Left. Ken Livingstone is right to call Mr Corbyn Labour’s Nigel Farage. Ukip appeals to a similar impulse.
Millions are weary of being smarmed and lied to by people who actually are not that competent or impressive, and who have been picked because they look good on TV rather than because they have ideas or character.
Indeed, ideas or character are a disadvantage. Anything resembling a clear opinion is seized upon by the media’s inquisitors, and turned in to a ‘gaffe’ or an outrage.
Hitchens goes on to say that all thoughtful Brits ought to be at least a little bit happy that the professional image makers of UK politics were knocked on their butts by “a bearded old bicyclist.” I can agree with him there! Read the whole thing.
There is no one on the American Right to compare to the rumpled Corbyn, a veteran legislator from his party’s hard-left fringe. But in a way, the Summer of Trump is a form of sticking it to the GOP elites. I think Trump is a highly unprincipled demagogue (vs. Corbyn, who has strong principles, but the wrong ones, and is the opposite of a demagogue), and a disaster for the Republicans, and I will be very happy when his campaign flames out. But I can’t help taking a bit of Schadenfreudian pleasure in the way he’s vexing the campaigns of all the professional Republicans, and I have a grudging admiration for the way he makes “gaffes” all the time, but nothing sticks to him. Even though I’m usually appalled by this or that gaffe of his, it is at times weirdly pleasant to see a politician say something that freaks out the tut-tutters (like me!), and get away with it.
And by the way, Bernie Sanders is the US left’s version of Jeremy Corbyn, and I’m very pleased to see him sticking it to the Clinton machine.