They laughed, they mocked, they guffawed. I must admit, I too was sceptical. Not because I didn't want it to be true – I'd just been hurt too many times before…Real fight starts now. Over next two years Labour will use every opportunity to ensure Brexit protects jobs, living standards & the economy.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 8, 2017
Fast forward. The common sense of both national and party establishments has been well and truly routed. The cadaverous plodding of throwback-Blairism has had its unbeating heart irreversibly staked.
Young people turned out – turns out they just needed something to vote for.
On a personal note (being still, if only in electoral terms, a young person), I was 11 years old when New Labour swept to power in 1997 and 17 when the Iraq War of 2003 kicked off. Gains in things like the minimum wage and being basically better than the Tories notwithstanding, for most of my adult life, Labour has been the party of hubris, capitulation and shame.
This is the first election in my life that I could vote for something, with hope.
Okay, in 2015 I hoped that the Labour of Ed Miliband might sneak in. He always seemed to be a basically decent guy, with his heart in the right place. However, in retrospect, his tenure was the end of an era, not the beginning.#GE2017 The first election in my memory where Labour have set their own agenda, not just hedged 5% to left of Tories. Politics seems reborn!— Philip Conway (@PhilipRConway) June 5, 2017
He might not have been a New Labourite at heart (even if he had been in career). Nevertheless, his was still a politics of tracking 'public opinion' as though it were some transcendent, external force and then tacking opportunistically this way or that.
After Corbyn, we we can expect more. We can set the agenda.
Of course, we must also keep things in perspective. This is, at most, Act II of the drama. Party deal-making is underway and Labour has a long way to go as regards its own pool of parliamentary talent. Brexit looms, the inscrutable harbinger of who-knows-what. We do not know, at this stage, who will be the next PM or even how long this Parliament will last.
Nevertheless, considering the avalanche of lies and bile spewed from every orifice of the media-plutocrat-parliamentary complex, this stalemate constitutes a remarkable victory. What could have been a noble defeat has turned out to be a noble draw – and that is not damning by faint praise.
Whether or not Corbyn is a future PM, the Labour of his leadership have created the conditions for rebuilding a new kind of politics in this country.
But what's good is not yet good enough. The real fight starts now.