Jeremy Corbyn after being elected leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday.
By STEPHEN CASTLE
September 12, 2015
LONDON — After three decades as a political outsider and clarion of the left, Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday won the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party with an emphatic victory and a program that includes expanding the economy, scrapping nuclear missiles, and unpicking the centrist policies of his predecessors, including Tony Blair.
Mr. Corbyn, 66, won the Labour leadership overwhelmingly and with the backing of thousands of newly recruited supporters, and in doing so delivered one of the biggest upsets in modern British politics.
His success underlines the extent to which European political structures have been destabilized by the aftershocks of the financial crisis in 2008, with voters increasingly attracted away from the political center ground, either to the socialist left or the nationalist right.
However, Mr. Corbyn’s program, which includes nationalizing energy and rail companies, has shallow support among fellow Labour lawmakers, a fact that suggests he may struggle to unite his party. Several senior party figures, including Emma Reynolds and Tristram Hunt, have already announced that they would not be serving in Mr. Corbyn’s team, though another, Hilary Benn, promised to support him.
On Saturday there were jubilant scenes after the release of results showing that Mr. Corbyn had won almost 60 percent of the vote, crushing his three opponents, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.
“We don’t have to be unequal, it doesn’t have to be unfair, poverty isn’t inevitable.” Mr. Corbyn told a cheering audience in a short acceptance speech.
“Things can change and they will change,” he added, decrying “grotesque” levels of inequality, and blaming the migration crisis currently sweeping Europe on the bitter legacy of going to war. One of his first acts, Mr. Corbyn said, would be to attend a demonstration in London to highlight the plight of refugees.
Mr. Corbyn’s perceived integrity and his willingness to speak his mind have struck a chord in a party in which many supporters were left disillusioned by the leadership of Mr. Blair, whose decision to join George W. Bush in invading Iraq poisoned his legacy. Yet Mr. Blair is one of only a handful of Labour leaders who has ever won a general election, and Mr. Corbyn’ …Read More