The FT “few question Mr Corbyn’s seriousness and integrity”; Boris Johnson’s verdict: thoughtful, caring and principled
Extracts from an article by George Parker, the FT’s political editor:
Mr Parker said that, in a Europe where anti-austerity parties are on the march, Jeremy Corbyn offers a more radical approach, capturing some of the leftwing anger of Syriza or Podemos: “I have been in Greece, I have been in Spain. It’s very interesting that social democratic parties that accept the austerity agenda and end up implementing it end up losing a lot of members and a lot of support.” He continued:
“He often turned out to be right in the causes he pursued though it did not always feel that way:
- He backed the jailed Nelson Mandela;
- spoke up for the people wrongly convicted of the 1974 IRA pub bombings in the UK; opposed Mr Blair’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003
- and engaged with “friends” in Hamas and Hizbollah in pursuit of Middle East peace.
At the time he ‘earned criticism’ but, Parker adds an accolade, “few question Mr Corbyn’s seriousness and integrity . . . he offers ideological certainty” – in other words he knows his mind and speaks the truth – a rare commodity in today’s politics.
Boris Johnson would say that wouldn’t he?
Writing in the Sun Boris Johnson, London mayor, says: “Of course, he won’t actually win this leadership election. His ideas would be economically ruinous and would impose huge new taxes on working people”.
He may well be quite wrong: Corbyn may win this leadership election; his implemented policies could lead to increased employment and higher taxes on those who can afford them may well be used constructively.
Johnson says that the reason Jeremy Corbyn strikes such a chord with the electorate can be summed up in one word: Authenticity: “Whatever you say about the veteran MP for Islington, he has thought about his positions. He cares. And he puts his principles into practice” and asks: “Can you really say he has been as eccentric as all that?
- He spent decades campaigning for higher minimum wages for workers.
- Yes, he was one of the early campaigners against apartheid. Quite right, too — these days Mandela is regarded as a kind of modern saint.
- Yes, he was in favour of bringing the IRA to the negotiating table, a view treated as semi-treacherous at the time.
- These days he looks prescient — Martin McGuinness meets the Queen and no one bats an eyelid. Yes, he abominated the Iraq war and rebelled countless times against the government of Tony Blair.
- But these days you look at what is happening in Iraq and Syria — the almost daily bombings and massacres — and you have to respect his judgment.
“The reason he is doing so well is that by comparison with the other Labour leadership candidates — a bunch of relatively anaemic, gelatinous and vacillating opportunists — Jeremy Corbyn looks passionate and principled. And that has lessons for everyone in politics”.
Not convinced? Watch him on Newsnight:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02y2ffn
Britain’s last best hope
Deplored: once again Britain’s senior politicians – pre-election – seek to reaffirm ‘friendship’ with those who – after subverting and overturning South American democracies, created or acquiesced in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and destabilised the Middle East by supporting Iraq – then illegally invading that country.
US president Barack Obama lavished praise on David Cameron during his recent visit to UK prime minister to Washington, calling him a great friend and “one of my closest and most trusted partners in the world”.
But he has little to offer compared with Germany, said to be seen as America’s main ally in Europe, following doubts over Britain’s membership of the EU – Brexit [British exit].
Philip Stephens noted recently in the FT: “the Tory election manifesto leaves the US administration at best incredulous and sometimes scathing. Why on earth, the president has been heard to ask, would any British leader flirt with the idea of pulling up the drawbridge against the EU?”
He continues: “Stripped of diplomatic niceties, the American view of Europe is that, since Germany pays most of Europe’s bills, Chancellor Angela Merkel more or less runs the show”.
US officials question whether UK will continue to be a reliable military ally
Mr Cameron has agreed to supply a further 1,000 UK troops to NATO exercises in eastern Europe over the next year countering Russian military involvement in the region and to provide more drones to help with surveillance missions against Islamist militants fighting in northern Iraq, but the American government has other concerns:
- the precedent set by parliamentary votes limiting British participation in the coalition against the Islamist extremists in Syria and Iraq;
- the UK’s increasingly limited naval power – not even one aircraft carrier until 2017 so is unable to deploy and recover aircraft, act as seagoing airbase and no effective maritime patrol aircraft – more diplomatically: Jane, “UK’s maritime patrol capability gap;
- Britain can offer only a few ageing Tornado bombers to assist with aerial bombardment.
Some see the Swiss model is a favoured alternative, minus its safe haven banking practices.