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"There is a clear choice: to accept the Tories' race to the bottom on cuts or to set out a vision of a modern, innovative country," Corbyn says at his website. "We cannot cut our way to prosperity." (Photo: Reuters)

As Anti-Austerity Candidate Surges, 'Corbynomics' Catches Fire in UK

A recent poll has socialist Jeremy Corbyn 32 points ahead of his closest rival for the Labour leadership post, up from a 17-point lead three weeks ago.

Deirdre Fulton

New polling shows longtime left-wing lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn, a leading anti-war and anti-austerity voice in the UK, surging toward victory in his quest to become leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party.

Or, as Stephen Bush put it Tuesday at the New Statesman, "Is there anyone now who honestly believes that Jeremy Corbyn isn't on course to win the Labour leadership election?"

A YouGov poll conducted for London's Sunday Times has Corbyn 32 points ahead of his closest rival, up from a 17-point lead three weeks ago.

Corbyn, 66, has sparked an enthusiasm in the UK that has garnered comparisons to Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, and the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders in the U.S.

"He has pushed an anti-austerity agenda into the heart of political debate, forced his rivals to halt their shift to the right, and brought tens of thousands of young people into active politics," Guardian columnist and associate editor Seumas Milne wrote earlier this month.

"Where the Corbyn campaign parts company with the dominant economic thinking of both the Conservative government and the other Labour leadership candidates is that we don’t believe that the vast majority of middle- and low-income earners who didn’t cause the economic crisis should have to pay for it through cuts in tax credits, pay freezes, and cuts in essential services," MP John McDonnell, chair of the socialist campaign group of Labour MPs, wrote at the Guardian on Tuesday.

"Instead," McDonnell continued, "we believe we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to the very rich and to corporations, by making sure they pay their taxes, and by investing in the housing and infrastructure a modern country needs to get people back to work in good jobs."

Such "Corbynomics" have led establishment politicians and media to downplay or outright dismiss Corbyn's candidacy. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spokesperson, has warned Labour risks "driving itself off a cliff" if Corbyn is elected.

Voting opens Friday, by mail or online, and continues for about a month. Dues-paying party members are eligible to cast ballots, along with members of affiliated organizations and anyone who wants to pay a £3 ($4.70) fee. The results of the contest will be announced September 12.


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