Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!: Left Wing Populism in Contemporary Britain?

Room: 
Assembly Room
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 14:15 - 15:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Andy Knott (University of Brighton)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Jake Watts (University of Sussex)
  • Dr Marina Prentoulis (University of East Anglia)
  • Dr Lasse Thomassen (Queen Mary, University of London)
  • Dr Bice Maiguashca (University of Exeter)
  • Dr Jonathan Dean (University of Leeds)
  • Dr Dan Keith (University of York)
  • Professor Luke March (University of Edinburgh)

In the snap election of June 8th, 2017, the results shocked the political commentariat when the Labour party successfully challenged the Conservatives and stripped them of their parliamentary majority. Although the Conservatives picked up seats in Scotland and managed to secure an understanding with the ideologically socially-conservative Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, and thus remain in power, there are many questions to be asked about the rise of the Labour party, and the role of populism therein. Jeremy Corbyn has as a controversial leader brought the party leftwards, and unapologetically put forward a range of policy proposals reminiscent of a more traditional continental social democratic party, unseen in the British Labour party since the arrival of Blairism. On the other hand, there are also debates as to whether Corbyn has employed populist strategies in order to incite the electorate, and in particular the youth. In this panel, we are contributing to this wide-ranging debate. Topics include the place of ‘the People’ and of the antagonism between “the Many” and “the Few” in Corbyn’s discourse, the multi-national dimensions of populism throughout the UK, the role of Momentum in involving the grassroots in the electoral campaign, the conflict between Corbyn and the Parliamentary Labour party, the tensions within the party in differing nations within the UK and tensions within the party in England, especially on national versus regional issues, and the voting patterns of BREXIT supporters, as well as discursive strategies on social media and in youth culture.