Joseph Stiglitz, in this Guardian article, via Dr Alf, says that he is “un-surprised” at the fact that the original “Dave Spart” of Private Eye, Jeremy Corbyn, is a Labour leadership contender because of rising antipathy to austerity in populations in America,Europe and Britain.
I am also not surprised at the rise and rise of this bearded throwback from another age but for different reasons:
1) People have very short memories in the UK.
The period of the 1970’s was one in which we had the brain drain and the IMF financial crisis, after which Margaret Thatcher had to go cap in hand to the Sultan of Brunei to bail the UK out.
Afterwards, she said, “We owe you a debt of gratitude for life” but of course the great unwashed forget that, perhaps remembering the days when Trades Unions represented them, ate sandwiches in Downing Street and were described in glowing terms by Jim Callaghan as great beasts when he went on to say “We are prostrate at your feet”.
At that time, the UK was a laughing-stock, losing swathes of traditional industries, like shipbuilding, car-making, furniture-making and electronics to competitors from the Far East and people were criticizing people like my late father for saving money, working overtime and buying and renovating dilapidated houses and then renting them out.
Jeremy Corbyn was part of the policy-making process which allowed the country to get into that state but young people unaware of this history, which happened long before they were born, are of course flocking to him for easy answers to their problems.
2) The Socialist Workers Party, people who might have voted for UKIP, and people who felt unable to vote for the SNP are now registering themselves in droves for Jeremy Corbyn, along with Trade Unionists who recognize that the Labour Party is going to be out of power for at least 5 years and probably much longer, given the poor quality of all the current candidates for the Labour leadership.
They see protest and “direct action” as the way to bring down the Government, as did the NUM and the coal-miners in the 1970s and early 1980s.
3) People drawn from a small but growing vociferous minority) imagine that because the country has not paid its way since 1981 (the date when our £3 billion gbp a month trade gap started), that we can go on spending, as if at the last-minute we were going to have a certain part of our anatomy pulled out of the fire.
4) Other people have failed to look at Jeremy Corbyn’s credentials, in that he is a man who has never run a business even as large as a whelk stall, is economically illiterate and thinks that Karl Marx has “things to teach us”.