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Odd man out: Jeremy Corbyn and rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

The political theatre accompanying Jeremy Corbyn seizing power naturally captures interest, even among the ranks of society who rarely vote. But the excitement of a political coup, on the lines of Mrs Thatcher’s capturing of the Tory party back in 1975, shouldn’t distract from the issue that will come to dominate the rest of my political life and beyond. In my judgment we’ve seen nothing yet in respect to the mass movement of people fleeing terror. Or, much more importantly, of economic migrants using this mass movement of refugees as a cover for their natural wish to move and seek a radically better life in the West.

On this great emerging agenda neither the government nor Jeremy Corbyn has much to say. Ironically it is the government which is more likely to be saved by the crisis. It will be forced into action to defend our borders so that well before the next election events will have ensured that it is saying and, more importantly, doing much of what the electorate demands. If it doesn’t, I believe the political forces demanding effective border controls will be strong enough to break up Europe’s governing parties.

The pressure to act that naturally falls on the government will not be exerted on the Labour party, whose leader will naturally stick to the internationalist stance he has always espoused. The phrases will sound good to the activists who are understandably celebrating Jeremy’s success. But they will sound increasingly hollow to voters, who will be reminded every time they switch on the news that Europe’s borders are under attack as never before in our history.

Which brings me back to the Corbyn putsch and the comparison with the advent of Mrs Thatcher as Tory leader in 1975. There are crucial differences between these two takeovers, namely how Jeremy’s coup will impact on the events that have only just begun to engulf and will ultimately overturn British politics as we have known it.

On the purely local aspect of the leadership election outcome, British politics will be shaken up on a similar scale that followed Mrs Thatcher’s hijacking of the Tory party. Once in control Mrs T threw overboard the crew and headed the Tory ship into a new direction. 

Jeremy’s victory in the Labour party is of similarly breath-taking proportions. But here a crucial difference emerges. Mrs T sailed her ship into a political ocean that was favourable to her. Not so with Jeremy. His direction takes us into a huge ocean of hostile voters.

Mrs T had luck on her side. Her newly installed crew’s views were ones that had widespread support in the country, although not among the metropolitan elite. Jeremy’s crew members are similarly enthusiastic in the task before them. But their views are not ones that are shared widely enough to win an election, even in our broken electoral system that is overwhelmingly weighted towards the two main parties.

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October 17th, 2015
6:10 PM
The analysis is spot on. The answer is join UKIP.

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