“We have grown enormously; we have grown enormously because of the hopes of so many ordinary people for a different Britain, a better Britain, a more equal Britain, a more decent Britain.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the newly-elected Labour leader gave a passionate victory speech after winning an overwhelming 59.5 percent of votes in the election for the British party’s top spot.
But while the figures may appear to speak volumes, opinions on the win are mixed.
Nicknamed ‘Corbynomics’, his own particular brand of left-wing politics has provoked both support and concern from both sides of the political spectrum. Fears include the lack of women in so-called ‘top positions’ in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, his alleged views on al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas and a more general fear that he may be unelectable as prime minister in Britain’s next general election.
Here’s a quick overview of his position on a few key points from a European perspective…
Corbyn argues that the migration situation Europe is currently facing is not a drain on the UK’s economy. He has campaigned in support of asylum seekers and particularly the need to help those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
“One of my first acts as the leader of the party will be to go to the demonstrations this afternoon to show support for the way refugees must be treated and should be treated in this country,” he said in his victory speech.
“They are human beings just like you, just like me. Let’s deal with the refugee crisis with humanity, with support, with help, with compassion, to try to help people who are trying to get to a place of safety. “
If Labour is victorious in the next general election, Corbyn says he will withdraw the UK from NATO.
He joins Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon in opposing renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent, pushing instead for a “radically different international policy,” based on “political and not military solutions.”
Corbyn also advocates cutting off financial support and arms supplies to ISIL, rather than taking part in air strikes on Syria.
Corbyn, at least in part, appears to blame NATO and the west for the conflict in Ukraine and has, controversially, hinted that the UK should aim for stronger diplomatic relations with Russia.
While acknowledging that Russia has “gone way beyond its legal powers to use bases in the Crimea,” he says “the hypocrisy of the West remains unbelievable.”
“NATO has sought to expand since the end of the Cold War. It has increased its military capability and expenditure. It operates way beyond its original 1948 area and its attempt to encircle Russia is one of the big threats of our time.”
Yes to Europe?
With a referendum on European Union membership looming, Corbyn hasn’t given a definitive position on whether he would campaign in favour of the UK staying in or leaving Europe.
“We cannot be content with the state of the EU as it stands. But that does not mean walking away, but staying to fight together for a better Europe,” he said.
Corbyn’s plan to introduce a “people’s quantitative easing” would enable the Bank of England to print money to invest in a number of large-scale projects. This would be done, partially, through a national investment bank funded by cutting the “tax gap” and putting a stop to tax relief for businesses.
Strongly opposed to austerity, he aims to reduce the deficit by growing the economy and taxing the wealthy.
A new direction for Labour?
“So, the fight back now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace,” Corbyn told supporters.
“This election campaign is, as we see here, about shaping our future. Our party is going to, I hope, become more inclusive, more involved, more democratic and we are going to shape the future of everyone in this country in a way that I think will be remembered as something that is good for everyone, that brings about the justice that we all crave. That is what brought us into this wonderful party and this wonderful movement ourselves.”