Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Shallow Jem

What is Jeremy Corbyn’s great weakness as a political leader? It is easy enough to dismiss him as useless, doctrinaire or whatever, but the basic question remains. Why is he so useless? Outside the political bubble I imagine he manages his affairs and is personable enough even if he persists in wearing his virtue on his sleeve. So what goes wrong when he steps into the official party leader’s trousers every morning?

The first thing to be explained is that millions of voters would vote for him if there were to be a general election in the near future. Yet Corbyn obviously doesn’t know how to govern a country such as the UK. He doesn’t even know how it is governed now, let alone how it might be more effectively governed in the future. He doesn't know anyone who knows either, yet millions would still vote for him.

This says something vitally important about human nature – it says we are shallow in our political allegiances. It can't be restricted to Labour voters and it isn't. To my mind this is also Corbyn’s basic problem - he is shallow. What you see is what you get.

Not a shattering conclusion, but here’s the rub – we are all equally shallow. Theresa May is just as shallow as Corbyn. She has no idea how to manage Brexit and it is mainly Corbyn’s absurdly inept handling of political opposition that keeps her afloat. It may even allow her to manage what probably should be politically unmanageable.

We are all shallow but we expect the political classes to hide it and we moan like hell when they don’t. Ed Miliband is as shallow as they come. He had no idea that his meddling with the election process for Labour leader would be such a disaster because it is so easily subverted.

What Corbyn illustrates is uncomfortable for anyone who cares to cast a bleak eye over what his antics tell us about human behaviour. We cannot personally measure up to political expectations and we cannot find people who do measure up and vote for them. It is only by calling on a wide range of outside expertise and experience that politicians ever manage to maintain the facade of modest competence.

When too much reliance is placed on a political class which has never done anything else but play political games then the shallowness of human behaviour becomes more and more obvious. An old aristocracy had certain advantages in that some of its members were trained to rule, trained to use outside expertise as it should be used and trained to disguise their own shallowness more effectively than people such as Corbyn and May. More importantly they had lives outside politics and that is something we could learn from and emulate. 


Sam Vega said...

"It is only by calling on a wide range of outside expertise and experience that politicians ever manage to maintain the facade of modest competence."

This is an important aspect of what has gone wrong in Corbyn's case. Governments can call upon civil servants, and a huge range of people outside of politics who will help out with info and expertise in exchange for legislative and regulative favours and promises. This is especially the case with the Conservatives, as powerful economic lobbies will always play ball. May's temporary difficulty is that the traditional allies of Conservatives are split over Europe, and some are disinclined to help.

Corbyn, however, has a very narrow base indeed. No civil service. No heads of powerful business and interest groups, very few of who support him. And having alienated most of his Parliamentary Party, there are very few who can tell him how the system works. He is reliant upon fellow ideologues like Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone, and a few Union Leaders. They are not stupid people in themselves, but his sources of knowledge are massively outnumbered by those offering mere opinion and theory.

wiggiatlarge said...

When too much reliance is placed on a political class which has never done anything else but play political games then the shallowness of human behaviour becomes more and more obvious.

This is what has largely brought about the change in public perception and the resultant Brexit and Trump victories, for years politicians have spouted their mendacious promises and got away with it, the result more of the same.
Fortunately an increasing number of the electorate have said enough, having a further layer but unelected parliament in Brussels doing exactly the same thing has also helped bring all this to a head, and still they carry on hoping what has happened will go away so they can resume their shallow lives untouched by "popular" thinking, popular being a word that has joined racist Islamophobic and far right as having been so overused as to be meaningless.

Corbyn has been as shallow as any, which takes some doing after Cameron, yet despite his down with proles stance he has thrown overboard most of his life long held beliefs for the sake of a party that has been infiltrated by unelectable people with Marxist tendencies, a belief that has been shown to have failed in every form throughout the world were it has been practised, you can't get much more shallow, and in his case any more out of his depth.

James Higham said...

Loony Jem?

Anonymous said...

In a way Jeb is the right man at the right time, a man to sit uselessly on the sidelines while the country is wrecked by the worst of the right wing. No sane person would want the job and the Brexit mess will last well past Corbyn's time. Jeb will be long forgotten by the time the political wheel turns full circle.

But in time a new politics may emerge with new leaders and a newly fertile political landscape. Another twenty years should be just about enough. Until then let Rees-Mogg reign the country.

Demetrius said...

Today Islington, tomorrow The World, or perhaps only The World's End pub at Camden along the road from where Karl Marx used to live. He would go there from The Angel in Islington by taxpayer funded limousine, of course.

A K Haart said...

Sam, Wiggia and James - it's as if Corbyn and his circle don't see the need for outside input. They certainly don't seem to understand that the lack of it diminishes them. If anything they seem to think it works the other way round and that viewpoint is tinged with madness.

Roger - to my mind Brexit presented Labour with an opportunity, but they don't have the people or networks to take advantage of it. You may be right and a new politics may emerge, but in my view tribal voting behaviour would have to become more fickle and informed.

Demetrius - I see him with an organic orange juice engaged in endless discussions with a few cronies. He comes across as that kind of guy.