By Dr. MICHAEL BONNER
THE OUTCOME of the recent British election offers major warnings about hubris and the rise of left-wing extremism.
First, it’s a warning against political arrogance.
Prime Minister Theresa May believed a snap election would increase the Conservative majority. She was wrong. She campaigned as though she couldn’t lose and it cost her.
The Tories were returned to Parliament with 13 fewer seats and they’ve formed a governing coalition with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. That’s not at all the outcome the Tories expected.
But there was a big boost to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Corbyn gained an astonishing 32 seats. How did he do it?
Analysis so far suggests Corbyn mobilized student and youth turnout. In this election cycle, the divide between older and younger Britons was more pronounced than ever. The younger generation is usually thought of as left-wing but support for Corbyn represents a major ideological shift.
Here lies the second warning, about the growth of left-wing extremism.
Corbyn is a Marxist ideologue of the old-school. He’s notorious for his anti-Americanism, his hostility to NATO, his tax-and-spend socialism and his cozying up to Hamas. Corbyn comes from the Cold War school of leftism that imagined Soviet communism to be morally superior to American or European capitalism and democracy. Perhaps worst of all, Corbyn belongs to the kind of leftism that adopts anti-Semitic posturing whenever it seems useful.
Mainstream British politics hasn’t done enough to purge itself of left-wing extremism. Embracing Marxism is a serious intellectual failure amongst British youth
Corbyn identifies Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends.” He called the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden a “tragedy” (he said he preferred that the al-Quaeda leader be captured and put on trial). Corbyn defended a deranged Anglican vicar who was reprimanded for taking to social media and blaming 9/11 on the Jews. He has claimed that the Soviet Union was not a serious threat and he can’t bring himself to call North Korea a rogue state.
In fact, Corbyn has stated that the most serious problem on the Korean peninsula is the threat that free-market capitalism might spread northward. Recent pro-Corbyn rallies often featured the old hammer-and-sickle flag, and Internet memes often associate Corbyn with old Soviet propaganda.
Sadly, Corbyn’s younger supporters have been deluded.
The old-guard International Left had almost the entire 20th century to demonstrate that it had something beneficial to offer. The Soviet Union claimed to represent an alternative world system that was superior to trans-Atlantic capitalism and democracy.
But it was a total failure.
The Soviet and Maoist tyrannies killed nearly 100 million people and forced a comparable number to live in joyless, oppressive societies without freedom of any kind. Soviet policies produced some of the worst environmental disasters in human history, such as the destruction of the Aral Sea. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 revealed a dysfunctional, corrupt and bankrupt system. Modern Russian democracy is still tainted with a thick residue of totalitarianism.
Do Britain’s youth not know these facts? Or do they not care?
Either way, mainstream British politics hasn’t done enough to purge itself of left-wing extremism. And the apparent comfort with Marxism is a serious intellectual failure amongst British youth. The blame for this may lie with teachers and academics, most of whom still identify as Marxists.
If a supposedly mainstream British party drew inspiration from the Third Reich, the outrage would be enormous. But apparently it’s once again fashionable to be a communist.
Dr. Michael Bonner is a political adviser based in Toronto. He has advised legislators at both the federal and provincial levels of Canadian politics. He holds a master’s and doctorate in Iranian history from the University of Oxford, and is the author of two books on pre-Islamic Iran.
© 2017 Distributed by Troy Media