My glib take on the Corbyn victory is here, along with thousands of other glib takes. Subsequent to writing that someone on twitter linked to this, a UK Labour member (a sociologist, natch) who voted for one of Corbyn’s rivals but is withering about the incompetence of their leadership campaigns, especially compared to Corbyn’s, about which he had this to say:
Putting aside Corbynmania, putting aside the tens of thousands who’ve listened to him speak at almost 100 rallies, and putting aside his utter dominance of both the leadership contest and the media, his campaign’s been fine and dandy. No, in fact, his campaign has been brilliant. Considering that his opponents arrogate to themselves the title of election-winning specialists, Jeremy’s leadership campaign has been the best organised I’ve ever seen. When you think about it, what it has accomplished is something of a miracle. The pitch has been very policy heavy and, actually, quite technocratic. There is a lot to like here, and what it did was give the anti-austerity message some proper substance and heft. Married to this was a hopeful message and a vision of a better life that activated large numbers of people outside the purview of established politics.
Organisationally, the Corbyn campaign was spot on. Jon Lansman and Simon Fletcher have taken a machine that didn’t exist four months ago and broke the mould of British politics. Everything was properly gridded. Jeremy got his main policy statements out near the beginning of the campaign, and has not been pushed into any panicky announcements to try and match the changing mood. The organisation of the volunteer base, facilitated by supportive trade unions, has been professional – none of the slapdash nonsense usually characteristic of the Labour left. Team Jez were, after all, the only ones who put the link to sign up three quid supporters on their website. And there were even proper scripts and prompts as the campaign wore on.
Being good at politics counts for a lot in politics. Eventually. Left-wing political parties have transformed themselves into institutions in which it is possible to rise, through patronage and factional scheming into an MP and eventually a senior member of caucus without ever displaying any aptitude for democratic politics, even though campaigning and winning votes for the party is supposed to be a core function of an MP. This relentlessly internal focus is why it didn’t seem to occur to Corbyn’s opponents to recruit new members to vote for them, or, even if they attempted this, what they could say to actual members of the public to try and win their votes. New Zealand’s left-wing parties have the same flaw.