You may have heard the conservative media hyperventilating about the fact that the Brits just elected a socialist leader for the Labour Party (Britain’s main opposition party). How did the British left celebrate their victory? They pranked the front-runner of the American-right, Donald Trump — and he fell for it.
Twitter user @HamishP95 tweeted Trump a picture of newly-victorious Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying: “My Dad is thinking of voting for the first time ever for you.”Trump, known for his fairly well-inflated sense of self more than his grasp of foreign policy detail, merrily shared the tweet as evidence of his ever-growing popularity.
As if this wasn’t hilarious enough, @Hamishp95 pointed out an earlier tweet from Trump claiming he never falls for pranks.
The Brits are laughing their asses off. The story was picked up across the national press in the U.K., from The Guardian on the left, to The Telegraph on the right. In short, Trump is a laughing stock with the nation’s closest ally.
Corbyn’s victory in the U.K. should give some hope to Bernie Sanders fans in the U.S. This victory came out of nowhere. Corbyn barely scraped together the necessary nominations to stand in the U.K. equivalent of the primaries. But the conservative government and the Labour Party themselves were caught out by a sudden and huge grassroots movement to make Corbyn leader.
For years, the British public has endured a neoliberal consensus in politics which study after study has shown to be at odds with the majority social democratic views of the wider public. Frustration grew, and voter turnout dropped off the charts, particularly among the working class.
Then came Jeremy Corbyn, a humble, collegiate social democrat who has actually voted against his own party almost 500 times in efforts to stand for Labour Party values when the party leadership didn’t.
He has since put together his opposition team, and it is clear that the U.K.’s next general election in 2020 will be the first genuine contest between left and right for 30 years.
While Trump doesn’t know who Jeremy Corbyn — very possibly the next British Prime Minister — is, Sanders responded to the news of his victory with glee. The Democratic hopeful wrote in an email statement to The Huffington Post on Saturday:
“At a time of mass income and wealth inequality throughout the world, I am delighted to see that the British Labour Party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader. We need leadership in every country in the world which tells the billionaire class that they cannot have it all. We need economies that work for working families, not just the people on top.”
Corbyn’s election, and the rising popularity of the Sanders campaign, raise the previously unthinkable prospect of socialist leaders in the U.K. and the U.S., at the same time. This could be the progressive version of Reagan and Thatcher, and bring an end to this era of bi-lateral belligerence on the world stage. Imagine the foreign policy imperatives of these two strong nations shaped by values of social democracy, cooperation, peace and equality. Now, it’s possible.