Radical leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday won the crown of Britain’s main opposition Labour party in a landslide victory, becoming the nation’s most left-wing political leader for over 30 years.
The 66-year-old socialist, whose policies have been compared to those of Greece’s Syriza and Spain’s Podemos, was named leader after clinching 59.5 percent of the 422,664 votes cast by Labour party members and supporters.
The newly-elected leader condemned “grotesque levels of inequality” and “an unfair welfare system” in his victory speech to party members in central London.
The veteran campaigner also called for Britain’s Conservative government to show more “compassion” in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis and said he would attend a demonstration planned in London later on Saturday.
He said Labour was “united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all”.
North Islington MP Corbyn has electrified Labour’s leadership race, which was triggered by the resignation of Ed Miliband after he lost May’s general election to David Cameron’s right-wing pro-austerity Conservatives.
“The fightback now of our party gathers speed and gathers pace,” Corbyn added in his speech.
– ‘Jez we did’ –
The veteran MP comfortably beat the three other more centrist candidates in the race — Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall — who all had far stronger support from fellow Labour MPs.
“Jez we did!” his delighted supporters chanted in the conference room in reaction to the decisive outcome.
Corbyn has spent a total of 32 years on Labour’s backbenches and only won a handful of votes from his own MPs — but was swept to victory on a wave of enthusiasm from Labour supporters following the end of the Miliband era.
The stunning result has however sparked talk of a deep split within Labour — which was thrown into turmoil by Cameron’s shock election win in May.
Corbyn’s triumph echoed anti-austerity sentiment across Europe because of his rhetoric about ending austerity cuts and taxing the rich.
His policies include spending more on public services like schools and hospitals, scrapping nuclear weapons, renationalising industries like the railways and involving Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah in Middle East peace talks.
“Jeremy Corbyn has won more than 50 percent of the votes in this round and I am therefore delighted to declare Jeremy Corbyn elected as leader of the Labour party,” said Jim Kennedy, chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee, unveiling the result.
Cheering supporters welcomed the news wearing red “Team Corbyn” T-shirts reading and waving signs saying “I Voted For A New Kind of Politics”.
Corbyn drew strong support from students who had never voted before to older people disillusioned with Labour since it moved to the centre-ground of British politics under Tony Blair in the 1990s and led the country into the controversial 2003 Iraq war.
The result was widely anticipated with bookmakers having slashed the odds of a Corbyn victory from 100/1 outsider to 1/7 favourite.
The bearded, grey-haired vegetarian has crammed in 99 campaign appearances, eschewing soundbites and usually wearing sandals and carrying a cup of tea.
The MP was plastered over Saturday’s newspapers wearing a stripey cream T-shirt and navy blue shorts, alongside trainers and socks.
In a positive omen for Corbyn, lawmaker Sadiq Khan — who nominated the veteran left-winger for the Labour leadership — was elected as the party’s 2016 London mayoral candidate on Friday.
Khan, who did not actually vote for Corbyn, comfortably beat Blairite former Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, boosting media speculation over a landslide for the Islington North MP.
– Back to 1980s? –
Popular right-wing tabloid The Sun described Khan’s “shock victory” as part of the “Jeremy Corbyn revolution” — but warned the victory could spark a deep split in the party ousted from power in 2010.
“A victory threatens to plunge Labour back to the 1980s, given his hard-left views on nationalisation, nuclear weapons, tax and business,” it wrote.
The left-wing Guardian also warned that some frontbenchers were unlikely to serve on Corbyn’s team due to “fundamental” differences that would “destabilise Labour policies”.
But former mayor of London Ken Livingstone described Corbyn as a “consensual” politician who wanted proper discussions about the direction of the Labour party on key issues ahead of the next general election in 2020.
“It will work if Jeremy starts to connect with people,” Livingstone said.
Despite the “Corbynmania” of his grassroots campaign, Tony Blair — Labour’s most electorally successful leader who is now deeply unpopular over Iraq — has warned that his victory would split Labour and consign the party to electoral oblivion.
APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.
In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.
“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.
“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”
To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.
The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.
WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.
Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.
Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.
He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.
Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer
A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.
This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.
A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.
However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.
It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.
The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
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