In a stunning victory, the far left “Old Labour” (contra the “New Labour” of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown) candidate Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party.
The British people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality,” Corbyn said. “The media and many of us, simply didn’t understand the views of young people in our country. They were turned off by the way politics was being conducted. We have to and must change that. The fightback gathers speed and gathers pace.”
Much of the opposition party establishment has expressed ambivalence or outright disdain for Corbyn’s more radical positions—according to the New York Times, he has proposed nationalizing British energy and rail companies—generally coded in concern that if the party moves further to the left it will be unelectable in the general election. Several senior party officials have gone so far as to say they will not serve in his shadow cabinet.
Teen sensation and former Labour leader Ed Miliband congratulated Corbyn on his win: “Jeremy has won a very clear victory. I hope also... that Jeremy reaches out to all parts of the party, because he has a big job to do to seek to unite the party and I believe he does intend to do that, and I hope he does.”
Corbyn, a lawmaker of 30 years, has never held government office, the Associated Press reports. He ran on a platform of higher corporate taxes and greater wealth redistribution. Tony Blair, who led Labour to three consecutive victories in the general election, warned that the party faced “annihilation” under its new leader.