British politics has been moving at a staggering pace in the last few weeks. As if the resignation of David Cameron, swiftly followed by arguably the weirdest leadership election in Conservative Party history weren’t dramatic enough, a section of Labour Party MPs chose this extraordinary moment to attempt to topple Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. Led by members of the shadow cabinet, they instigated a planned coup attempt against him, beginning with a strategic series of resignations from people who by and large had never supported the leadership. Once it became clear that this was not going to force Corbyn to resign, Angela Eagle launched a formal leadership bid, quickly followed by Owen Smith, who eventually knocked Eagle out of the race. As we enter a fresh leadership election, it is worth considering the question: what is at stake here?
Corbyn: Against All Odds presents a new essay from Richard Seymour, in which he examines this bizarre, and thus-far unsuccessful, coup attempt, and attempts to outline Corbyn’s prospects in such unpredictable and turbulent times, alongside an extract from his new book Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics.
“Strong and stable!” is Theresa May’s slogan for the upcoming election, empty words for most considering the current Tory landscape of soaring cuts, poverty and inequality.
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Sophie Wahnich's reflection on the first round of the French presidential election was first published in L’Obs on 27 April.
What I take from the campaign and the result on 23 April is French people’s increasingly powerful desire for a leader. The three figures who dominated the debates expressed this same aspiration: Marine Le Pen, of course, but also Emmanuel Macron, acting solo against the parties, and finally Jean-Luc Mélenchon, even if he claims not to be doing so.
This aspiration to be led by a powerful incarnating figure is a worrying one. For the people crying out for this are often the same ones who often refuse themselves to engage in the invention of the society of tomorrow. The desire for a leader often goes hand-in-hand with a refusal to take responsibility. Certainly, the presidential election encourages this. In my view, this desire is a symptom of the present day world, and is not specific to France.