Monday 25 January 2016


It’s difficult to think of two more different people than Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn, yet their success and probable downfall is the result of the same phenomenon: speaking for the disillusioned masses, who feel politicians in no way represent their views.

Both men embody the essence of their nation’s social culture. After making his outrageous fortune as an industrialist, Trump added fame to his quiver by fronting the US TV version of The Apprentice

He’s the archetype of the American Dream, proudly declaring he needs nuttin’ from nobody else. 

It’s easy for Europeans to see America’s social culture as selfish and uncaring, but thanks to one of my best friends out there, I grew to better understand the American way. 

With the blond hair, cheekbones and body of a Norse god, Erik explained what he wanted:

"I'm going to build my own house and work my butt off to cover my nut. If I achieve that dream without help, why should I have to pay for an illegal Mexican immigrant to go see the doctor?"

Although we see the term ‘Frontier Spirit’ as old-fashioned and anachronistic, it exists still at the core of every American. Whether Democrat, Republican, rich or poor, nobody will tolerate criticism of the American Way. 

Trump personifies these ideals, while Jeremy Corbyn’s social policies incorporate the core values of our culture. If the USA has an individualist society where ‘I’ is king, Europeans prefer the word ‘We.’

We believe that happiness comes through living in a compassionate society; feeling if not proud then at least comfortable with the notion of being a human being.

Jeremy Corbyn believes that you cannot claim to have a civilised society until you prioritise health, housing and education for all.

The confounding world of politics has forced out of me many differing emotions over the years, but rarely has it made me feel sad. Yet ever since his Labour leadership victory, Corbyn has been the victim of such constant ridicule and assault, from so many different directions, I have had to dip my chin and sigh.

Not prone to believing in conspiracy theories, I’m scrupulous when I sniff one of my own, but a couple of days ago I heard a Guardian columnist on Newstalk comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Chauncey Gardiner, the naive simpleton superbly portrayed by Peter Sellers in the film ‘Being There.’

For me this was something of a last straw. Such a comparison is ignorant and inexcusable.

Granted, the man is not a charismatic leader. He has neither the shiny polish of Blair, nor the domineering authority of Thatcher, so when the other leadership Blair-lite candidates were voted into the oblivion of mediocrity whence they came, it was clearly the will of the people. They wanted a man of substance.

Corbyn might not be a skilled performer, but to suggest he is a simpleton is ridiculous in the extreme. Doubtless he never expected to be a leader, but as one he has stuck to his principles and his desire to offer a new kind of politics.

The Labour Party is and always has been formed of people who would rather pay for schoolbooks than missiles. They’d rather tax the rich than have to choose between dialysis machines and heart transplants.

After years of austerity people all over the EU are voting for parties that promise to prioritise people over profit. After the rise of Syriza, Podemos, the SNP and Sinn Fein, it came as no surprise to me that Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership contest with a massive mandate. 

People are crying out for compassion, for something completely different to what has gone before, but evidently Corbyn’s victory upset many in high places.

Given his success representing his own constituency for over 30 years and his massive recent mandate, it’s clear that Corbyn is eminently electable, so why have Labour MPs thrown themselves into an agonised cauldron of confusion, declaring Corbyn an electoral liability?

True to form, Britain’s red top tabloids have attacked Corbyn with trashy irksome scandalmongering, while supposedly respectable institutions such as the BBC have poured scorn on his efforts.

Ever since Laura Kuenssberg replaced Nick Robinson as the BBC’s political editor,
she has been on a mission to patronise, ridicule and diminish Corbyn's efforts to break the bad mad mould of old.

On the BBC Six O’Clock news, Kuenssberg summed up what was admittedly a protracted shadow cabinet reshuffle as

“… a damaging pantomime.” 

When journalists use that language they are being instructive, not informative. She continued by sharing further personal insight:

“It's hard to see how they're going to be able to present anything convincing to the general public.”

When Corbyn invited his party to debate differing views on his policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament, he was presented as a madman surrounded by rabid dissenters.

On the very same day, when Prime Minister Cameron announced that his own cabinet would be allowed to offer diverse opinions on his EU Referendum, there came no jokes about inadequate powers of persuasion. Instead Cameron’s decision was universally portrayed as sign of strength.

That's how it works when the media is in your side.

Given he’s endured so much ridicule from several divisions of the British establishment, it makes me wonder: do they really fear Corbyn? Do they realise he might win a General Election and fundamentally change their comfy status quo?

I don’t think Corbyn has all the answers but what he does have is the support of millions of people who feel so ignored they wouldn’t bother voting for more conventional candidates.
Sadly I suspect he will not survive for long.

As for Trump, clearly the American people’s choice, Republican Party representatives know he’s not a viable world leader, so extra funds will be found for the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Mind you, history shows the dangers of underestimating the popular vote. Should we ever face the reality of President Trump, I’d feel a whole lot safer if his crazed aggression was tempered by the considered pacifism of Prime Minister Corbyn.

©Charlie Adley


Anonymous said...

youe got it in one charlie. ive lived in corbyns ares of london and know where he is comming from and agree wholeheartedly about his views on the useless trident. as regards the eegit, trump, ive also lived in california and took especial interest [ as an irishman would ] in building construction and road works, the only people i ever saw doing manual labour were mexicans and other if banned from enteing, the whole economy would collapse eventually. the usa was built on slave labour and exploitation of poor people. shame on it.

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks Anonymous
Probably best not to give Trump's asinine policies the respect of analysis, but I couldn't agree more. Thanks for reading the piece and for the feedback.