“Though there have now been a number of books published about Jeremy Corbyn’s election as the leader of the Labour Party, including Richard Seymour’s impressive Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics (reviewed in PN 2596-2597), The Candidate is arguably the definitive account of those exciting days.
As the political correspondent of Red Pepper magazine, Alex Nunns is perfectly placed to chart Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign, writing a detailed, journalistic and engrossing account. He ends with a short afterword about the 2016 coup attempt and second leadership election – in which, amazingly, Corbyn increased his vote share to 62 percent.
All this feels a long way from Labour’s defeat in the May 2015 general election. With the Labour left believing itself to be in an extremely weak position – journalist Owen Jones didn’t think the left should run a candidate because they would likely be ‘crushed’ – Corbyn’s candidacy was initially given 200-1 odds by Ladbrokes, the bookmakers. However, as Nunns explains, three large political forces came together to create the mass movement Corbyn rode to victory: the shift to the left by Labour Party members; the trade unions’ rejection of New Labour; and grassroots campaigners like the anti-war movement and Occupy.”
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