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The general election of 2017 can surely count as accident number five. No prime minister under normal circumstances would have called it. Mrs May had an overall majority of 12. She did not have to go to the country for another three years. Anyone would have told her: sit tight. But no, she thought she was so popular that her majority would increase. Hubris! She lost her majority. She would have made a somewhat better show but for accident number six. After a lot of uncertainty about the Labour manifesto, Corbyn struck on the brightest idea he ever had: “Abolish university fees,” he said. “The cost is immaterial.”

Let’s make a quick calculation. There were 1.76 million students in higher education in 2016-2017, each paying £9,000 per year. That comes to £16 billion. Some Labour members engaged in drafting the manifesto must have thought such a promise unrealistic. The electorate would not believe that a Corbyn administration would be able to finance it. Corbyn insisted and he was right. Whereas in the 2015 election the young vote was about evenly divided, in 2017 two-thirds of voters in the 18-24 age bracket voted Labour.

Overall, Labour gained 32 seats. The Conservatives won the election but lost their majority. Corbyn claimed victory, and he was right in a sense. There is such a thing as momentum in human affairs. If you made good progress once (32 seats counts as good progress), it is likely that you will make further progress next time. Thus, in spite of everything, in spite of being an accidental man, Corbyn might become the next prime minister. What will it be like to live under Corbyn? How will he govern?

All political movements have principles. So do the extreme Left and the extreme Right. They do not share all their outlook on life (e.g. racial purity is no concern to the Left) but the following three things are representative:

(i) You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. (There is also a very similar Russian version attributed to Lenin: “If you chop down a forest, splinters will fly.”)

(ii) Love, friendship and respect do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something or somebody.

(iii) The opposition is not only wrong, it is morally wrong.

None of these were invented by modern politicians. The first is an old English proverb, the second is attributed to Chekhov, and the third has been famously upheld by most religions over centuries. So what do these three principles imply in practice?

In the first one, “breaking eggs” obviously refers to violence. It means that to achieve your noble aim, violence is not only permissible but necessary. The second provides a recipe of what to do if you want to unite people. Choose some hate subjects. What will be Corbyn’s choice? Bankers, ex-colonial powers, the State of Israel and possibly the EU. Who will be his friends? Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, China, Turkey, Hamas, Hezbollah.
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