Jeremy Corbyn's landslide 59.5% victory in winning the Labour leadership election in which his mandate was bigger than that of even Tony Blair's, has left the media and political establishment open-mouthed - both its right-wing Tory cheerleaders, and more 'serious' 'weightier' news media.
Corbyn's completely unexpected rise and election as Leader of the Opposition began to seem more and more like a real possibility over the course of the summer, and sure enough the Labour Party's own none-too-distant efforts to revamp its internal electoral process meant the membership elected an outsider very much at odds with the faltering party machine, but very much in tune with the membership, and indeed electorate.
That faltering party machine was still largely a New Labour vehicle despite that project being dead for 5 years. As such, Labour has so far been running on empty: Ed Miliband's best efforts to try to offer something new and in some senses noticeably a break with the past notwithstanding, so following the general election defeat and Miliband's resignation and the leadership election declared, the other lacklustre leadership contenders offered only hesitant post-Blairite sound bite and little else.
Corbyn was elected by such a landslide because party members new and old were sick and tired of managerial 'post-politics', in which 'Blue Labour' has competed - unsuccessfully - with David Cameron's Tories in offering essentially the same thing. Magnanimous in victory, Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson have been noticeable by their team's preparedness to work with those not obviously in or even that near to their camp and the Daily Mail's fevered fantasies of 'left wingers taking over' are really best left in the 70s where they belong.
It is as yet far too early to say what will now happen in parliament or where this will lead, but there are certainly some interesting issues to consider. The opposition might well actually oppose the incumbent Tory government - that being to block and disrupt its attempts to pass legislation concerned only with imposing a version of 'Thatcherism redux' on the UK aka less-than-subtle waging of class war from above, and perhaps offer an alternative. Examples of political and legislative class war waged from above are too numerous to mention, but include: the Bedroom Tax to the 'right to buy' what little remains of social housing, the selloff of the NHS, to mass workfare and mass 'sanctioning' of claimants, the latter due to be extended to those in work should the failing DWP white elephant, 'universal credit' ever launch.
The Tory government it should be remembered, has a wafer thin majority smaller than the one lost through by-election defeats and defections by John Major in the 90s, and won a total of 11,300,303 votes in May. Contrast that with Labour's 9,347,304, the SNP's 1,454,436, the Greens' 1,157,613, Plaid Cymru's 181,694, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)'s 36,327, and the NHS campaign National Health Action Party's 20,210, and we have a combined opposition of 11,957,291.
This totaling up of six parties all explicitly opposed to Cameron and the Tories gives an insight into just how non-existent a 'mandate' of 26% of the electorate actually is. It is however, only parliamentary politics; 'politics' happening everywhere all of the time in daily life and not simply reducible to voting in elections for interchangeable parties periodically competing for management of the state. 'Party politics' itself has been reminded of this fact by protests and direct action but also online petitions and other participatory means in which professional politicians speaking in sound bite supposedly 'delivering' for a passive and inert apolitical swing demographic, are simply left open-mouthed.
Perhaps the most alarming point in Corbyn's sweeping victory for post-political hacks has been the fact that it is part of something far bigger than just the Labour Party. The blander-than-bland post-political centrism of New Labour and the floundering post-Blairites, in which 'the centre' was itself well to the right of any earlier party political manifestation, Labour, Tory or otherwise, appears to be being redefined and not on the terms of any of those who previously took it as given.
Beyond the UK, Syriza's own strong showing in Greece's latest elections no less than Podemos having done similar in Spain, are also definite signs of the realignment of politics beyond the control of 'business-as-usual' party politics. Indeed in the US another outsider is currently taking the Democrat presidential nominations by storm, Bernie Sanders incredibly actually looking to remain on course to clinch it. Should he fail, a seismic shock will still have been felt in US politics.
Back to the UK the fact that Labour's membership now dwarfs that of the Tories, Liberal Democrats and even the SNP, and Green Party combined, can be seen of further evidence that there are tectonic changes taking place in and around what is called 'politics', the understanding of what amounts to, who it exists for, and what it must be: 'business-as-usual' is no longer on the agenda.