Less Midas, more Canute

Just a few, short months have passed since the unpredictable maelstrom that was General Election 2017.

Jeremy Corbyn, once accused as being “the death of the Labour Party” and who had a -34 approval rating in November 2016, truly found his feet. The chaos in the Conservative Party – the launch of a truly abysmal manifesto and the dire performance of Theresa May being just two examples – gave him exactly the platform he needed. He was the common man’s “working class hero”, a socialist dream, many things to many people, and a figurehead for a movement that formed as backlash to a Brexit that 48% of the electorate didn’t want.

The results of GE17 serve only to prove the strength of that movement. The Conservatives, in power since 2010, lost the majority they had fought hard to gain over the years since the days of coalition with the LibDems. His approval rating soared, reaching the fabled 0 score in the days just after the election – a result that meant he was viewed favourably by a majority of those polled.

Indeed, to the ire of many, the only thing that prevented Jeremy Corbyn from forming a minority government was the timely intervention of the DUP, who secured a highly controversial “supply and demand” deal with Theresa May at the eleventh hour, ensuring the return of a Conservative government, albeit in the minority.

At that moment, the Corbyn-led movement reached its peak. His supporters were furious, seemingly having been denied all that was promised – the scrapping of tuition fees, nationalised industries, a soft Brexit, and more.

You need only look to events in Scotland post-IndyRef to see what would inevitably happen next. While movements such as Corbyn’s and Pro-Independence are truly powerful juggernauts in their duration, it is only a matter of time before they inevitably begin to collapse under their own weight – as we saw with the SNP in GE17, who returned to normality after the unprecedented victory in 56 out of 59 available seats in 2015.

In the few short months that have followed, we have seen the true face of a Corbyn-led Labour.

They abstained on voting through an amendment by Chuka Umunna, which would have secured Single Market and Customs Union membership, and sacked Shadow Cabinet members who didn’t abstain:

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He then revealed how he felt about immigration in a bizarrely xenophobic statement on the Andrew Marr Show:

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They back-tracked on the abolition of tuition fees, reducing it from a pledge to an “ambition”:

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Indeed, the Labour-led Welsh Assembly have actually *increased* tuition fees:

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And in Scotland, the Labour party is even more divided.

Instead of representing their constituents, the new MPs are more interested in political coups that reek of nepotism:

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Alex Rowley being Danielle Rowley’s father.

And instead of focusing on Conservative seats, he is targeting those of the SNP in Scotland, on the back of a borderline-xenophobic video released by pro-Corbyn group Momentum regarding ScotRail’s operation by Abellio, a Dutch company – despite the Scottish Government not having the power to submit a public sector bid the last time the contract came up for renewal.

And what has this deviation from his pre-election stance gained him? Does the movement power on regardless? The latest figures would suggest otherwise:

When the movement began, Corbyn was seen as a socialist Midas, the Man with the Golden Touch, who offered a better vision of the future than the Conservatives under Theresa May.

To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson:

“It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era – the kind of peak that never comes again […] And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. […] We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.”

And now, just a few months later, Corbyn is little more than Canute, screaming at the sea, while those of us who look upon the ruins of his promises “can almost see the high water mark – that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.”

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