Forever blowing bubbles: why Corbyn won Labour and how he can change Britain

Aside Posted on

The radical left has grown from a few tiny bubbles into a network capable of winning the Labour leadership. To win the country, it must keep expanding.

There’s an article I’ve written about four times since the general election. It’s changed again and again as the future has showed up, looking as surprised as me. Each time, the examples I’ve given have been a little different. But each time, the core point has been the same. It goes something like this.

Considering May’s SNP surge and Labour dirge; examining the detail of Corbyn mania versus Kendall’s failure; think back through elections throughout British history, and one thing seems to explain them all better than any other: it’s ultimately institutions and the cultures they create that matter.

Much of the debate in politics over the summer – and for the last wee while – has been about positioning on a left-right spectrum. Put the term “Overton Window” into Twitter’s search box, and you’ll see an idea once only discussed in university politics departments is the latest craze of the left Twitterati. There’s endless discussion of triangulation, out-flanking and positioning.

Of course, all of these things are important. Those who say the terms “left” and “right” are meaningless are wrong. Corbyn’s election has opened that Overton Window, expanding the acceptable terrain of political debate. Twenty years of triangulating into the ever receding middle ground was responsible for the sense that people didn’t know what Labour stood for anymore.

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