Natalie Bennett: rise of Corbyn marks “shift to a new political era”

31 July 2015

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has spoken about the rising popularity of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn for the first time, describing his rise as part of a “shift to a new political era” marked by the Green Surge and the growth of the SNP.

Speaking at the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Environment Awards in Leeds last night, Bennett said Corbyn’s popularity comes as “no surprise” as Thatcherism begins to decline.

Bennett said:

“The ‘surprise’ success of Jeremy Corbyn has been much less of a surprise outside the Westminster bubble.

“It was no surprise at all to the 1,000 people who turned out on a rain-drenched day in Swansea at an anti-austerity march or those who turned out in the constituency of Peter Lilley for Hitchin’s first-ever anti-austerity rally.

“It was no surprise at all to the Generation Rent campaigners who’ve built a whole campaign in months that’s doing a great job of highlighting just how much we’re making our young pay for the greed and fraud of the bankers, and the featherbedding of private landlords.

“It was no surprise at all to the signatories rushing in recent days to oppose the government’s dreadful decision on subverting a European ban on bee-threatening chemicals and to sign a fast-growing petition opposing fracking.

“The Thatcherism that has dominated our politics for decades has clearly hit the buffers, and has failed in its own terms.

“The country is ready for a real political landscape, massive political change. Just as the rise of Thatcher marked the end of a political era, the combination of the “Green surge” (Green Party membership more than treble what it was a year ago), the rise of the SNP and the support for Corbyn mark the start of a shift to a new political era.

“Commentators trapped in the Westminster bubble, many politicians who somehow – despite the SNP landslide in Scotland and the 1.1 million Green Party votes – think politics will continue as before, are surprised by the Corbyn phenomenon. I think historians will come to regard it as very unsurprising.”

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