I don’t follow British politics too closely, but was happy for Jeremy Corbyn after his party’s unexpected resurgence in last week’s election. In the last few years, the poor guy has endured treasonous white-anting from within his own party and some of the most viciously partisan coverage from the right wing press, who loudly proclaimed him an unelectable terrorist sympathiser.
Through it all the unfashionable Corbyn has doggedly continued to argue for policies that seemed positively outlandish juxtaposed against the neoliberal paradigm that has been forced on the public has had forced for the past decade. He also also appears to speak with remarkable honesty and candour when questioned on politically dangerous topics. I wrote last year that Bill Shorten’s election strategy of embracing deficit spending in order to fund policies that helped disadvantaged Australians was risky (arguably more so because of the effect of compulsory voting in Australian elections) but Shorten is still closer to Malcolm Turnbull than he is to Jeremy Corbyn.
The Conservative Party’s total vote was not actually diminished, so it would be wrong to say voters are deserting them. Corbyn’s success came from energising disinterested voters who wouldn’t have voted at all previously. While you can’t put a number on it, it is hard to overstate the impact of the Brexit referendum and even the Election of Donald Trump had on this. It seems the British public may have learned that voter apathy is dangerous and sometimes even the lesser of two evils is a lot better than the alternative.