Goodbye Mr. Corbyn

Goodbye Mr. Corbyn

by Venu Gopal Narayanan - Dec 14, 2019 09:56 AM +05:30 IST
Goodbye Mr. CorbynUnited Kingdom’s rabid Left leader Jeremy Corbyn is now a political nobody. 
  • Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour party too far down the path of Islamist appeasement.

    In August, Corbyn was chiding India on abrogation of Article 370. Today, Corbyn has resigned, and India’s Kashmir policy remains unchanged.

Usually, most Indians couldn’t care less about what happens in Britain. Once in a while we ask for the return of the Kohinoor diamond, which the British politely refuse; other than that, as long as the Lords’ pitch plays true, and student visas get converted to work visas, the two nations get along fairly well.

However, the recently-concluded British general elections raised a rare and mighty buzz in the subcontinent. More Indians cheered the thumping mandate handed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and his Conservative party, than all the soccer fans in England.


This was largely due to the intemperate remarks of one Mr. Jeremy Corbyn – leader of the Opposition Labour Party, which were made in August 2019, against the Indian government’s decision to abrogate Article 370. Many were incensed. How dare he cross established diplomatic norms, they asked, to comment on the internal affairs of India?

One answer was provided by Swarajya, elementary vote bank politics, desi style. As per that analysis, the Labour Party had become so ‘secular’, that the top 30 wins by margin, in the 2017 British general elections, were all by Labour – overwhelmingly, in seats with significant minority voters.

Another answer was provided by the British electorate, who handed Labour one of their worst defeats in nearly a century. But guess what?

Even if Labour lost 59 seats and 8 per cent of the vote share, it was the desi formula which spared them the blushes. As the table below shows, while there was a strong, ‘secular’ (no pun intended) swing away from Labour in many constituencies, their ‘core’ vote base stood fast valiantly at the ramparts, to prevent this disaster from reaching apocalyptic proportions.

Goodbye Mr. Corbyn
Goodbye Mr. Corbyn

Now we may understand one of the reasons why, in the run up to the polls, Mr. Corbyn repeatedly refused to apologise for his allegedly anti-Semitic comments.

On the face of it, it was baffling that Mr. Corbyn would first dare to make derogatory statements of a racial nature, and then, even more bewilderingly, bluntly refuse to apologise.

However, we may now infer, cautiously, that in an electoral environment where a 3 per cent vote swing means the difference between euphoria and disaster, it wasn’t anti-Semitism, as much as it was political rhetoric, furiously employed to hold on to the minority vote.

Curiously, an inadvertent echo of such strident efforts was heard in the moans of Mr. Mehdi Hasan, a British journalist, employed by Al Jazeera, with an overcooked tendency to tilt aggressively at windmills: his first, instinctive, atavistic response was a coarse, four-lettered exclamation on Twitter.

He followed this with a plaintive lament, bemoaning the relegation of his community to political obscurity. “Dark day for minorities in the UK. Especially for British Muslims…”, he wrote.

But the election results are out. Britain has moved on, finally. This election was about leaving the European Union – Brexit, and Brexit will be done. It was not about Mr. Hasan’s imagined electoral slights against his community, or its illusory sidelining.

At least now, votaries of identity politics must learn that excessive remonstrations of imagined victimhood are counterproductive, especially on social media, since they only invite Burnol-laced condolence messages, dripping with sarcasm.

So, as Jeremy Corbyn walks reluctantly away into an ignominious sunset, we may ask: Can the Labour Party afford to remain effete in the profits of vote-banking?

Does Corbyn leave Labour as a parody of a party, which once gave Britain great Prime Ministers like Ramsay MacDonald and Harold Wilson? Short answer: probably not.

Self-preservation will, in all probability, force the Labour party to politely heave Mr. Corbyn (and his politics) out on his ear.

Whatever the answer though, the sweet irony is that while the Conservative Party cheers its marvelous victory in Britain, and the knives come out for Mr. Corbyn, it is India which will be having the last laugh. Thus is life!

Venu Gopal Narayanan is an independent upstream petroleum consultant who focuses on energy, geopolitics, current affairs and electoral arithmetic. He tweets at @ideorogue.
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