Originally published on tmrw at: tmrwmagazine.com/is-jeremy-corbyn-as-close-to-a-revolution-as-britain-will-get/
Instead of burning down parliament and throwing out david cameron, there is something quintessentially British about Jeremy Corbyn’s revolution. It’s about not going to a VIP dinner, skipping out on seeing the queen, and a lot of eye rolls in PMQs. Not exactly a revolution is it? Though it’s properly as close as britain will ever get.
It seems incredible that what would be seen as something new and different in politics is a recognised human rights campaigner as leader. With the current debate surrounding the Snoopers Charter and questions over whether the Tories will withdraw us from the European Court of Human Rights, Borbyn’s background strongly contrasts to the direction the Conservatives plan on taking us. His background also differs to our previous prime ministers, not having gone to Oxbridge and being the son of an electrical engineer and a maths teacher. Is the fact Corbyn is seen as a revolutionary leader showing something about the state of Britain? It is seen as unusual to have a man who actually reflects british citizens as a possible future prime minister. But even despite Corbyn’s differences to Cameron, he still went to a fee-paying prep school, indicating that even in this ‘revolutionary’ leader, elitism is still present.
Many of his policies were unsuccessfully tried in the 1980s, suggesting his political ideas may not be robust. Instead, his style of politics seems to have shaken up the Tories. Though his strategies place ideas over what is actually possible, it is ideas that revolutions are triggered by. But the revolution here is not Corbynmania. Seeing Corbyn in contrast to our current and previous governments has only emphasised concerns about the state of politics in Britain. It seems it is the time for something new. perhaps it will soon be that a leader without an Oxbridge background or high class family will no longer be a rarity.
This is not a burning all bridges revolution, but a chance for government to change to become truly about the people again. Our political system just means governments have to please citizens enough to get elected, only for us to find they were empty promises once they are in parliament (child tax credits anyone?). Corbyn choosing to give voters a direct voice in PMQs greatly contrasts to Cameron, who ducks questions and jeers like a school boy. Yes, a change is definitely needed. A revolution can be about how politics is done, as well as about policies.
On Remembrance Sunday, Corbyn reportedly missed a VIP lunch other politicians attended to stay back and speak to veterans. The praise for Corbyn’s decision has been widespread, but why is this seen as something unusual? Corbyn’s attitude should not be revolutionary; this is the norm we should be demanding from our politicians. This revolution Corbyn has started may be as close to one as Britain gets, but it is no doubt a needed one.
Though I may not be the biggest fan of Corbynmania, Jeremy Corbyn has shaken up a tired old system, raising questions about what our government should be doing. And if the alternative is Boris Johnson parading round Downing Street, Corbyn might actually end up the safer bet for our country.