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There's Something To This Jeremy Corbyn

18/08/2015 14:25 BST | Updated 16/08/2016 10:59 BST

"While undeniably brilliant... at times has seemed unnecessarily shrill and preachy."

The Milwaukee Journal, 9 July 1978, William Tuohy on the then Leader of the Opposition Margaret Thatcher.

Much has been said about Mr. Corbyn's electability, by the Blairite wing in particular, but I think we can draw a lesson from history here. Before 1979 Mrs. Thatcher was called an unelectable Tory housewife; by 1990 she had won three successive elections. I'm not saying that Mr. Corbyn is the next Margaret Thatcher (I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate that comparison) but we can certainly see similarities in this radical candidate fighting the establishment.

Labour has been rattled by the SNP up north and by UKIP in England. Many who support Jeremy Corbyn are looking for a left-wing reconciling, but others enjoy the purposefulness of his convictions (much more so than the polished David Cameron and other Conservatives). You can see Mr. Corbyn in action at the Oxford Union, Socialism Does Work. It's heartening to see a real Labour candidate. The other challengers are the most interchangeable and contemptuous clones on Earth. It's so hard to tell the difference between them it might as well be a two-candidate race, one being pro-Corbyn and the other being anti-Corbyn. I find it hilarious that retired New Labour grandees, such as Dame Margaret Beckett, tried to make the race less monochromatic, so nominated Mr. Corbyn as the token lefty, only to run from their decisions immediately after. Let them reap what they have sown.

This is by no means a support for the awful, and sometimes terrifying, beliefs of Jeremy Corbyn (with friends like Ken Livingston and rumoured lizard George Galloway I do get worried). Any despot, no matter how cruel, they believe, must be supported if he labels himself a socialist. Recently Mr. Corbyn expressed this in three early day parliamentary motions, in 06/03/13 in 06/03/13 and in 17/04/13, offering condolences for the death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. A South American autocrat who oversaw the erosion of human rights in Venezuela and has been criticised by many such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In further astonishing ignorance he supported the construction of a statue to Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square, a racist fundamentalist who opposed Indian industrialisation. And not to forget there's the time Mr. Corbyn used the Fukushima nuclear accident to promote his antiscientific and antinuclear views. He blames America for the war in Ukraine and not the expansionist and authoritarian Vladimir Putin. Mr. Corbyn has some dangerous views (and we haven't even gotten onto the IRA or Hamas and Hezbollah).

I dislike nearly everything Jeremy Corbyn stands for, but I find him respectable, he has principles and stands by them. This will come as a shock to a revitalised Conservative Party election machine when they realise they have to stand for something other than winning (especially after the Tories-for-Corbyn incident). Mr. Corbyn's shadow cabinet promises to be no less interesting when he announced he would bring back elections to the shadow cabinet. A Blairite cabinet with a Bennite leader promises to be no less contentious or weighted than Margaret Thatcher was in her time. There is no doubt that Mr. Corbyn is a good man, his competitors certainly are no better, and Labour have a hard choice facing them now. Do they choose between some New Labour drone or a hard-line man with a touch of dignity, honour, and passion? I certainly don't think that he is as unelectable as people say, or that he will split the party. He believes what he says, but the problem is that he believes so many bad things. Jeremy Corbyn offers something no Kendall, Cooper, or Burnham can offer, real change, but the question is: is it change for the better?