ANALYSIS: Corbyn surge UK version of Le Pen phenomenon

Despite the Conservative 'victory' in the UK election, the big story is that the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn -- a barely reconstructed Marxist who has befriended Islamist terror groups -- did so well. As in continental Europe, democracy as we have known it in Britain now faces a real and worrying challenge

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There are differences and similarities
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the commentator
On 9 June 2017 07:43

Nothing in British politics is exactly as it is in Europe. In important respects, that is a good thing. One of them is that Britain has largely avoided in recent years the rise of continental European style anti-democratic and neo-fascist parties, such as the Front National in France led by Marine Le Pen.

Thursday's general election changes that, but it does so in a very British way.

To recap, the Conservative Party has just about won enough votes to lead the next government, probably in a coalition of one sort or another with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland.

But despite the Conservative 'victory', the big story is that the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn -- a barely reconstructed Marxist who has in the past befriended Islamist terror groups -- did so well.

Labour surged from 30.5 percent at the 2015 general election, when it was led by the centre-Left Ed Miliband, to around 40 percent. When one considers the kinds of things Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with throughout his political career, and juxtaposes this with the fact that he wasn't punished for it at the polls, this is deeply concerning.

Corbyn has been a friend of Islamist terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. He was also a grovelling apologist for the political aims of the IRA, and associated with them while they were still a functioning terrorist outfit.

Speaking of grovelling apologists, Corbyn has also been a leading light in CND, the effectively pro-Soviet 'peace movement' that wanted the West to disarm unilaterally during the Cold War, and thus lose that Cold War to totalitarianism.

His version of political history in a nutshell is that the West has been an ugly force for bad in the world, and that it must therefore be undermined at every turn.

Corbyn, of course, is not a neo-fascist, nor is he a racist, though, to repeat, he has been a friend of viciously anti-Semitic Islamist groups. He will not play on the kind of national chauvinism that we have seen from populist parties in Europe.

What Corbyn represents is the protest against Western liberal democratic capitalism mounted by a rump ideological Left that lost its way after the demise of communism but never really let go of its pro-totalitarian leanings.

Younger voters today, many of whom voted Labour at this election, have no real memory of communism but do have powerful memories of the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis. Understandably, they feel very little allegiance to the political classes which presided over those two disastrous milestones in recent political history.

Neither the Conservative Party nor the previously moderate Labour Party seemed to be the appropriate place to register a significant protest at the politics of the last decade and a half. Corbyn's Labour did. Hence his extraordinary performance.

Jeremy Corbyn is not the British version of Marine Le Pen in the sense that they share the same political ideals. But he does fit in with the same spirit of rejectionism of status quo political economy that put Le Pen in the run off for the French presidency, and has boosted populist parties across Europe.

The good news is that both Le Pen and Corbyn lost. The bad news is that unless mainstream parties are willing and able to rethink the way our politics is structured, the political architecture of Britain and Europe a decade hence could look much more dangerous than it does even today.

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