Q&A: How Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader has already shaken up British politics

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo Credit: Jasn via Flickr / Creative Commons)

An outspoken member of British parliament won the post to lead the Labour Party in a surprising landslide victory over the weekend. As Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is now has a position to eventually assume the role of Prime Minister should his party win a majority in parliament next general election. On Monday, he announced his “shadow cabinet” which included some Labour Party mainstays, but also a staunch leftist shadow chancellor. Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader is not only a major upset in UK politics, but it has also given the long-marginalized political opposition a new surge of hope. For more on the implications of a Corbyn-led Labour Party, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with British journalist Oliver Tickell, editor of The Ecologist.

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FSRN: Can you describe to listeners primarily based in the U.S. just how substantive Jeremy Corbyn’s election to the helm of the Labor Party is for British politics? Does it really represent a major shift or is it more window dressing?

Oliver Tickell: I think it’s a very deep and profound shift. In fact, it’s hard to overestimate the changes that this will cause in British politics, indeed is already causing. One way of looking at it is that for a long time – and we’re talking some decades now – between Labour and the Conservative there have been a broad base of agreement, much – actually as you’ve probably seen in America between Republicans and Democracts. There’s been a broad base of agreement about what one could loosely call the general neoliberal world order; belief in markets, privatization, membership of the NATO military alliance, nuclear power, nuclear bombs, the idea that climate change sort of matters, but that you don’t really have to do a lot about it. Actually, in American the Republicans haven’t got that, but here there’s general agreement that yes it matters and you make a noise about it but you don’t really do anything. Now, Corbyn comes along and he’s just completely shaken that up…

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Oliver Tickell – is Editor at The Ecologist, a British publication that’s been around since 1970. He Spoke to Shannon Young from Oxford, England.

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