What the Corbynistas have done to Labour, Labour will do to Britain.
If Britian is now on a track that may see its democracy endangered, an outbreak of carelessness, complacency and quite astounding stupidity in the summer of 2015 will bear much of the blame. In the general election held in May that year, David Cameron, a Conservative who had led a coalition government for five years, won the Tories a surprising absolute majority. It was not large, but it meant he could not use the excuse of coalition to renege on his promise of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
That was a drama for later. What mattered that summer was that Labour leader Ed Miliband had stood down. His successor was a bolt from the red: Jeremy Corbyn, an extreme (in all senses of the word) representative of what Orwell called that “dreary tribe of…sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.” Naturally, the bearded Corbyn has been spotted in sandals, and drinks very little or, possibly, no alcohol (“my secret is apple juice or coconut water”).
But back to Miliband: the most interesting thing about him is that he was ruthless enough to beat his brother David, a former foreign minister and the favorite for the job, in the previous contest for the Labour leadership. Nevertheless, he was a consequential leader in two key respects. The first was the mere fact of his election. ‘Red Ed’s’ Caining of his more Blairite brother accelerated Labour’s move away from the legacy of its electorally most successful prime minister.