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Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge to expectations

December 11, 2019

The polls are not favorable to the Labor leader, but his career reveals his ability to challenge conventions


Jeremy Corbyn (1949) challenges this Thursday not only to history, but to the expectations of a Labor Party that has resigned itself to a veteran who for decades had exercised as the free verse of the British left to try again as a candidate in the elections that will decide not only who pilots Brexit, but even if the United Kingdom reconsiders its departure from the European Union.

As in 2017, the Labor leader has once again demonstrated that his natural terrain is the active campaign. After complicated months of internal dissension, defections and a crisis of anti-Semitism that has generated a severe derision in the street, the most rebellious deputy of Westminster for decades, the same that had challenged internal orders more than 500 times, is in the ironic attitude of having to impose discipline in their ranks.

Voice of the critical conscience in the thirteen years that Labor held power, in the four years it has been leading it has experienced a deep progression, gaining confidence, but also increasing a balance of contradictions that its rivals consider an easy flank.

The surveys consider that the fourth consecutive defeat for Labor is heading, the second for him, an outcome that, if it took place, could open the transition into a training in institutional exile for almost a decade. Although if something Corbyn has shown is his ability to surprise, this time the challenge is such that his arrival at Downing Street would be unprecedented in British history.

All in all, yours is a trajectory that has always challenged expectations and conventions. If neither his own party, nor the press, always takes it seriously, Corbyn demonstrates an impregnable coherence and campaigning amazes his ability to generate illusion, even in a context in which he has found it especially difficult to justify his neutrality in matters of Brexit: to achieve power, he insists that he would not take sides in the referendum he has promised to convene.


Son of pacifists who met in a demonstration of support for the Spanish Republican side during the Civil War, his strong sense of political affiliation was forged within a deeply ideological family. His brother was a well-known leader of the 'squatter' movement in London in the 1960s, although both disagree on the issue of climate change, since Piers Corbyn, a meteorologist, refuses to be the product of man's intervention.

His deep convictions made him for years an outsider in his own formation. In fact, when in 2015 he decided to attend the race to relieve Ed Miliband, he did so with the sole purpose of introducing an anti-austerity profile into the debate.

His options were residual, but something in his speech back to the socialist roots touched fiber not only among the bases, but among thousands of disenchanted with politics, who decided to join Labor to vote for a veteran known for his frugality, vegetarian, Arsenal fan and close to controversial causes, such as support for IRA prisoners.

The change of rules to give more weight to the militancy, introduced by its predecessor, did the rest and Corbyn became the head of the opposition with less support among its deputies in modern times. Many did not forgive his denial of the merits of New Labor, the movement that put the party in power for the first and only time since the 1970s, but the leader was convinced that he had received a clear mandate to impose an agenda away from the ideology of Tony Blair

His style as head of the opposition, oblivious to the combative rhetoric that dominated in recent years an increasingly tense British policy, increased suspicion of his training for a position that, north of the English Channel, has institutional rank . Avoidable strategic errors and, once again, his lukewarmness before the Brexit debate even exhausted the patience of his parliamentary group, which in the summer of 2016 attempted a frustrated 'assassination'.


The battle for their survival resulted in an even more overwhelming victory than the first, with the support of six out of ten militants, which reinforced their legitimacy to claim their return to socialist essences, their defense of social equity and a predicament anti-elites bearing the hallmark of those who have worked for more than 30 years as a free verse of British politics.

Moreover, the electoral defeat of 2017, paradoxically, reinforced his leadership, since he recovered votes that had been lost in the two previous elections and settled the idea that, if the campaign had lasted two more weeks, the result could have been different . In the current one, it is true that his message is reinforced every day and that his opponent 's obsession with Brexit has generated disgust, but neither the perception of those who aspire to a seat, nor the polls, anticipate a turnaround.

Married on three occasions, if something cannot be criticized is his lack of coherence, both in politics and personally: it is said that his second divorce was at the insistence of his then wife for sending his son to a private center and his program for June 8 is directly inspired by his ideological DNA, with approaches Blair had relegated to the memory drawer for considering them flammable electoral material.

Although expensive, their electoral promises include a hopeful bet towards a more egalitarian society and, in the face of anticipated humiliation, their campaign has energized a battle for Number 10 that was considered settled. According to him, this evolution proves his ability to challenge forecasts, a luck he hopes will be repeated this Thursday, when he hopes his proposal will prove to have the same pull on the British electorate as among his legion of followers.