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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Tale of Two New Political Leaders: Malcolm Turnbull and Jeremy Corbyn

In case you haven't noticed, (and it's not unlikely for many Americans, for example), just this past week the political landscape of the English speaking world underwent a major shift, with the election of two party leaders, Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister of Australia, and Jeremy Corbyn as opposition leader of the UK.

The election of Turnbull is a triumph for moderatism and liberalism. His predecessor Tony Abbott was widely seen as too conservative for Australia, out of touch on major social issues like marriage equality and climate change. This was seen as major reason for his continued poor polling, ultimately leading to his party replacing him with Turnbull. It's a lesson that you cannot force your beliefs onto the electorate, and that democracy works, after all. People want leaders who can unite, not leaders who are divisive.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, is anything but a triumph for moderatism and liberalism. Corbyn is a committed socialist, and is seen as far too left wing for the UK. He received great support from members of the Labour Party, but it does not look like the rest of the UK would feel the same way. Already, people are predicting Corbyn to lose the next election badly. But even if he wins, if the story of Tony Abbott is any guide, he is likely to struggle to unite his country.

In the end, no country benefits from having a divisive government, and therefore the majority of people would not want one. We all have our passionate beliefs, but we need to respect the wide range of cultural feelings out there too. The Abbotts and Corbyns of this world may have passionate support from their base, but this is unlikely to ever result in a happy ending for all. This should be something we need to keep in mind, when championing any cause.