An interesting reaction of the UK political establishment to the Corbyn phenomenon has been to try discredit Corbyn and his supporters by suggesting that Corbynism is part of the same phenomenon that has given rise to Donald Trump in the USA, Marie Le Penn in France, Golden Dawn in Greece and UKIP in the UK.
The narrative goes like this: The so-calledcentre-ground of UK politics, represented by the professional politicians of the Conservatives, Lib Dems and ‘New’ Labour, are sensible, rational and pragmatic and any opposition to them, wherever it comes from, must therefore, by definition, be coming from irrational, extremist ideologues. And the rise of Stalinism and Nazism in the middle of the 20th Century demonstrated to all that extremes of left and right are ‘as bad as each other’, so much so that the very concept of ‘ideology’ itself is viewed as extreme and dangerous. The story is that ignorant voters are ‘disaffected’ by ‘politics’ and are being ‘brainwashed’ by loonies on the right and the left, and that all ‘right thinking’ people must reject these ‘extremist’ lunatics.
And so in discussion programmes like The Sunday Politics, we increasingly see professional commentators trying to assert that the success of Corbyn in the UK is effectively ‘the same’ as the rise of the Tea Party and now Donald Trump in the USA, and that the sane, rational and moderates of the political establishment must try to protect us from these ‘nutters’.
And because Trump and Palin and the rest are so obviously nutters, this could be a very neat way of discrediting Corbyn by association. But that is all it is – an attempt to discredit by association.
Because to compare Corbyn with Trump is ludicrous. Corbyn is the opposite of Trump both in manner and politics. Corbyn is educated, thoughtful, calm, measured and respectful; Trump is laughable, ignorant, volatile and offensive, and scarily fits the model of 20th century fascist leaders particularly Hitler and Mussolini. Trump IS an extremist, and indeed his extremism is his appeal. To his supporters his ‘courage’ in saying out loud the nasty, secret things that can only be thought not said, is the basis of his appeal. Trump, Farage and Marie Le Penn in France, are part of the growth of right-wing extremism that always occurs in times of economic crisis and in the 20th Century mutated into catastrophic fascism.
But Corbynism is NOT a left-wing mirror of Trump and Farage’s right wing extremism. In fact Corbyn is not a left-wing ‘extremist’ at all. His values and policies are mainstream Labour Party values. Corbyn isn’t a revolutionary communist, he’s a reformist parliamentarian. Perhaps the historical figure Corbyn most resembles is US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a quiet man of principle who used progressive Keynsian economics to lead the USA out of the depression caused by the 1929 financial crash. Today it is Corbyn who is the voice of that moderate, humane, Keynesian reformism, that in the 20th century and across the Western world, undertook progressive measures to counteract the worst excesses of crisis torn capitalism, fought and defeated fascism in WW2, went on to rebuild Europe after the war with 30 years of unprecedented economic growth and ultimately saw off Stalinism as well.
Corbynism is not extremism, it is the only moderate, rational and sane response to a broken, crisis-torn, global capitalism and the resulting instability and right-wing extremism. Ironically, just as with Roosevelt’s New Deal in the ’30’s, Corbynism is not a threat to capitalism, it is actually the only hope we have of saving the capitalist system.
 By the ‘political establishment’ I mean all those who make a living from the current system, so I include professional politicians, professional advisors and consultants, paid staff of think tanks, lobbyists, paid staff of the political parties
 ‘So-called’, because I don’t believe it is the centre of the political spectrum at all, but definitely to the right.
 Or more accurately of course ideologies that do not agree with the ‘moderate’ pro-capitalist, anti-union, hegemonic, ideology universally supported by the three main political parties.