The prophet and the rusting lady
Corbyn, brutally caricatured by Britain’s bullying popular press as unelectable, proved them all wrong
By far and away the most engaging read on the British election was written by The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane, who chose to render the event as a biblical parable.
This is what he said about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: "And there came from the same country a prophet, whose name was Jeremy. His beard was as the pelt of beasts, and his raiments were not of the finest. And he cried aloud in the wilderness and said, ‘Behold, I bring you hope.’
"And suddenly there was with him a host of young people. And he said unto them, ‘Ye shall study and grow wise in all things, and I shall not ask ye for gold. And the sick shall be made well, and they also will heal freely.’ And he promised unto them all manner of goodly things."
We all know how the story ends. The prophet Corbyn, though not victorious in the election, was its biggest winner.
Brutally caricatured by Britain’s bullying popular press as unelectable and as the death knell of the Labour Party, Corbyn proved them all wrong.
Labour gained 27 seats at the expense of Theresa May’s Conservatives, and a further eight from other parties. By the time the result had been tallied, May had lost her party its majority.
So what led to Corbyn’s unexpected windfall?
Freed from the confines of Labour’s internal bickering, Corbyn proved a surprisingly effective campaigner. When May misstepped — removing benefits from the elderly; opting for "hard" Brexit — he quickly mobilised opinion against her.
And then there was his "grassroots campaign", which was mocked by the aforesaid popular press. It turned out Corbyn was more effective in mobilising new, younger voters to turn out on election day than his severe, arrogant opponent.
Back to Lane in The New Yorker: "And there was great rejoicing amid the multitude of the young. And they took strong wine, and did feast among themselves. And there were 12 baskets left over.
"And of the pollsters, there was no sign."