Jeremy Corbyn: Radical Chic for Those Who Can Afford It

The Labour Party leader’s purist brand of leftism is a luxury good for those who can afford perpetual Tory rule.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a conference of European socialist parties in Paris, France, July 8
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a conference of European socialist parties in Paris, France, July 8 (PES)

Sarah Ditum explains in the New Statesman why Jeremy Corbyn is a risk only middle-class voters can take.

“I want Labour to have power,” she writes. Under Corbyn, it never will. His purist, “heirloom leftism,” as Ditum puts it, is simply not appealing to voters. It is a “luxury good” for those can afford life under perpetual Tory government.

It is no coincidence many of Corbyn’s supporters are students or recent graduates.

Ditum calls it “a Labour of the herbivores, headed up by a grammar-school boy, flanked by his Winchester-educated press-strategy man.”

They like to imagine they’re pioneering a new type of politics, but it’s more like the radical chic of the 1960s and 70s: left-wing intellectuals with no immediate stake in the economic prosperity of the nation calling for policies that could leave the very workers they claim to represent worse off.

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