Corbyn: a benign and prescient overview by a ‘smart Tory’

A reader (with scientific background), after receiving a link to an article about Ecomodernists, replied: “I am aghast. Are these people Tories?”

ecomodernist2 headerBrief online searches revealed that this group is American-based and only one article was found by a contributor with a recognised name, the long deplored Viscount Matt Ridley (Northern Rock, Climate change sceptic, GMO advocate, who certainly is Conservative.

Warm words

Though I don’t personally know a Conservative who would join a cross-party group evaluating Corbynomics – which is on my wish-list – the internet brings news of warm words from MP Andrew Mitchell, who told The Times: “We are rather fond of Jeremy Corbyn in the Mitchell household . . . my wife Sharon practises (medicine in his constituency). She says he’s an outstandingly effective member of parliament. He’s sharp, he ran a brilliant campaign. Now he’s got to translate that into being leader of the opposition.”

Julian-Lewis_1404618cIn 2014 a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) was jointly sponsored by Jeremy Corbyn and Julian Lewis – a Conservative MP (left) – who wrote: “I am always happy to support him when he applies for debates such as this, just as he is always happy to support me when I apply for debates about nuclear deterrence. The reason why we are happy to support each other, despite taking entirely opposite views, is that we both feel that we have a good case to make”.

In July, the Guardian’s Matthew D’Ancona shed further light. As a former editor of The Spectator and deputy editor for The Daily Telegraph he will have moved in Conservative circles – so may be seen as reliable on this point. He wrote, before Corbyn was elected:

‘This colossus’

“In an age when authenticity is increasingly valued by voters, he walks tall”: the tribute was paid by Andrew Mitchell, former cabinet minister and Conservative whip, one-time director at Lazard and officer in the Royal Tank Regiment. But who is this colossus of whom he speaks? Jeremy Corbyn, that’s who.


“Mitchell’s admiration for Corbyn is genuine. They have been friends for many years, and, along with David Davis and Andy Slaughter, went to Washington DC in May to lobby for the immediate release of Shaker Aamer, a British resident – and detainee at Guantánamo Bay since 2002. Above: members of the Shaker Aamer Parliamentary Group at a meeting in February 2015.

“Even if Corbyn loses, he will remain a force in his party – and beyond.

“Conservatives who think intelligently and strategically – and there are more of them than you think – fret that a bearded 66-year-old socialist has ignited political debate in a way that absolutely nobody in the mainstream predicted. He has stormed through the crash barriers of contemporary politics as if they weren’t there, presenting the ideals of the left as if they were brand new and absolutely tailored to the needs of our age. He has shown that party modernisation of the sort that Blair championed for 13 years is as brittle as balsa.

“What message does that have for Cameron, whose modernisation strategy has been much less consistent and committed than Blair’s?

“But what if the rules have changed? What if Corbyn’s moment in the sun is more than an anomaly, a quirk, an exception that proves the rule? The smart politician allows for such possibilities. Which is why smart Tories, far from gloating, are asking themselves if this is the start of something; and if so, of what?”


Posted on September 25, 2015, in Defence, Democracy, Environment, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party, Politics, Security, Watershed and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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