So Jeremy Corbyn is the new Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal opposition. What should we make of this? The first, and perhaps obvious, point to make is that the vast majority of comment emerges from those whose experience of politics focuses almost exclusively on the views of those within the Westminster elite. It is entirely predictable that they will predict disaster.
They may be right, but equally we have to remember that none of them predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would be elected when he scraped together enough nominations to get onto the ballot. So their predictions of disaster may be a touch premature.
In all my dealings with Jeremy Corbyn I was impressed by how polite, dedicated and principled he was. I may not have agreed with him on a number of key policy areas (but I suspect far less that he assumed) but he has always been the human face of the left of the Labour Party.
It seems to me that the future shape of politics is unpredictable for three reasons.
First, the leader of the opposition broadly sets the political agenda. The opposition largely chooses the areas from which to hold the government to account, the areas where the government's failures should be most publicised and uses the power of opposition to highlight those areas where the government is least successful. The traditional conservative approach to poverty and inequality has been that it is both inevitable and, to an extent and in order to incentivise hard work, desirable. That approach has manifested itself in the welfare reforms which have forced thousands off state provided welfare benefits and into low-paid employment. The many casualties of this process could be seen as collateral damage in a war on the dependency culture.
A Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn will hold the government far more effectively to account on behalf of the casualties of welfare reform. He is free of the retort that this process was started by Labour in government and that all the Tories are doing is carrying on the same processes because he opposed the far more timid versions which Labour proposed.
This is one example where the disaffected, the marginalised, the poor, those with mental health conditions, new arrivals from overseas struggling with our culture and language and all the other people for whom a liberal market delivers little will genuinely have someone fighting their corner. That will be a significant change in British politics and will hold the government far more effectively to account than a pro-market "social democracy-lite" party that secretly wishes to shrink the size of the state.
Secondly, the election of Jeremy Corbyn is a disaster for a Conservative Prime Minister with a tiny Conservative majority. Prime Ministers with small majorities desperately need an opposition who is feared by their backbenchers in order to retain party unity. Backbench Conservative MPs will see this result is giving them a green light to pursue their hobby horses because they will assume the next General Election is in the bag. Self-restraint will disappear and the Eurosceptics, the free market ideologues and a host of other groups promoting special interests will see little reason not to campaign against their own government when they do not get the policy outcomes they want.
Thirdly, Jeremy's election will reduce the powers of the press because everyone will expect the press to attack him remorselessly, dig up his past associations in pejorative reporting and ridicule his appearance. The predictability of these attacks will blunt their effectiveness. There will be no honeymoon period for the new leader of the Labour Party but the London based media may have problems understanding how he could have attracted a significant following in the country. Jeremy is different from normal politicians. Boris is also different, albeit in a wholly different way but the same media rules will apply. The conventional media attacks on Boris are largely ineffectual as far as the public are concerned because Teflon-Boris laughs them off. It seems likely that the new leader of the Labour Party will not engage with attacks, take little if any notice of the tabloids, thus deprive them of much of their power.
Politics as we know it has changed. I did not vote for Jeremy but I recognise the reasons he achieved a 59% vote, winning in every category. Whilst my head commends caution, my heart applauds the fact that we have a leader of a major political party whose primary interest is how the apparatus of the state treats the most vulnerable members of our society.