Corbyn has opened the door; but today’s progressive revival is coming first and foremost from the grassroots, as a diversity of citizens connect with each other and start daring to believe in changeby Paul Hilder / June 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
The week the snap election was called, I was in Madrid with leaders of Podemos, top Bernie Sanders organisers, and British campaigners including Owen Jones and Momentum. Theresa May’s Conservatives had surged to a 25 point lead in the polls, her slogans were rampant across the airwaves, and the expert consensus was that—absent a miracle—Labour MPs were about to be scythed down like fields of hapless wheat.
What happened next wasn’t a miracle: it was a chaotic and delightful case study in democracy. In the last few weeks, a new chapter of political revolution has been written here in the UK. In its own way this outcome is as big a shock as the victories of Trump and Brexit. But now it is left-populist insurgents making all the running, and a right-wing establishment’s decay that is being exposed to sunlight.
How did the mighty fall? All the tricks of the old politics were swiftly marshalled by their Svengali, Lynton Crosby. The campaign centred on the personality of May as the only trustworthy leader. Crosby hammered home slogans like “strong and stable,” whipping up fear about “threats” like Corbyn and Europe, while claiming that only May could offer security. Former Ukip voters were offered a firm Brexit, while Labour’s base was romanced with triangulating rhetoric.
Crosby’s dream team included Obama strategist turned gun-for-hire Jim Messina. Targeting data informed their expensive full-spectrum advertising campaign, from wraparounds in local newspapers to the anti-Corbyn mudslinging in countless millions of “dark ad…