The left-winger Jeremy Corbyn today won Labour’s leadership election by a landslide, taking the party’s top job outright in the first round with 59.5 per cent of the vote. The victory—greeted in the hall by cheers from most of the audience and chants of “yes we did,”—was widely expected, but still marks a remarkable moment in British political history, with Corbyn easily the most left-wing leader of a mainstream British party for decades.
There is much news still to come, not least who Corbyn will place in his Shadow Cabinet—former Work and Pensions shadow Rachel Reeves, Education Secretary Tristram Hunt and others have said they will not serve under Corbyn, and other similar announcements may follow. But today’s result followed a long and eventful campaign, which has taught us much not just about the candidates for the leadership, but about the party they sought to lead. Here are seven things we’ve learned.
The great leap leftwards
While Corbyn and most of his supporters are not the rabid Trots of Tory caricature, it’s undeniable that—contrary to post-election expectations—the party has shifted once again to the left. Yesterday’s London mayoral selection was meant to be a close run between the “soft left” Sadiq Khan and the Blairite Tessa Jowell. In the event Khan won by a landslide, taking the party’s nomination in the fifth round with 58.9 per cent of the vote to Jowell’s 41.1 per cent. Behind the scenes, one if its most important economic influences is left-wing tax campaigner Richard Murphy, described as the architect of Corbyn’s anti-austerity “Corbynomics” programme, who has called in the past for HMRC to employ at least 20,000 more staff. It should be noted that Labour’s fully paid-up members were the only group among whom Corbyn did not win 50 per cent in the first round—49.5 per cent of them voted him in.
Don’t shoot the deputy
Labour’s Deputy Leadership, occupied relatively quietly but competently for the past eight years by Harriet Harman, is…