My dear Kacvey,

Your poli sci students must be elated in their study of contemporary British politics with today’s landslide victory and arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as the new Labour Party leader. 5 months have elapsed after the resignation of the previous leader, Ed Miliband, who led the party towards a disastrous failure and defeat at the May 2015 parliamentary elections.

How Corbyn will dauntingly lead Labour is an exclusive issue for British labourites, but how Corbyn came to lead Labour is an exercise that honors not only democracy in its fullest meaning, but also an example of how British labourites chose their leader through a revised democratic and competitive process and consider that the party does not belong to any particular person or group of persons as at-large party members are sovereign to choose and elect their leader. What can be learned from the chain of Labour leadership history from 1997 to today is that:

  • no leader is made of stone and unmovable,
  • no leader is irreplaceable,
  • party leadership is not a monopoly, a private property or ownership, and
  • party is a collective entity with members responsibly sharing the same political ideology, conviction and aspiration and serving a national and common cause.

It also carries the following scenario: Blair out, Brown in; Brown out, Miliband in; Miliband out, Corbyn in.

If later on, it turns out that Corbyn’s leadership is a failure, there will no doubt be that British labourites will show him the door and elect a new leader. As Abraham Lincoln said: “No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.”

Kacvey, you might well recall our correspondence dated 10 May 2015 on what preceded today’s event in the British Labour Party:

Please do not tell your students to copy the British model in their debates on Khmer political parties, but rather suggest them to find out why, since 1953, Khmer political parties regardless of their size and shape:

  • have always been a party of “a man” but never of idea, ideology or principle, and therefore are not grassroot driven?
  • can never sustain survival after their defeat or departure of their original founder? and
  • are created as a disguised enterprise to deceive the innocent and honest Khmer people and to benefit the party leaders and their friends and relatives in their quest for personal fame and fortune?

By the way, Kacvey, the news from Canberra – where members of the Khmer ruling and opposition parties go to very often – could also be used by your students in the same debates, as in just over two years, Australia has seen four prime ministers, one after another being swiftly removed or ousted by the members of their own party: Kevin Rudd out, Julia Gillard in; Julia Gillard out, Tony Abbott in; Tony Abbott out, Malcolm Turnbull in.

An American satirist, Henry Louis Mencken, once said: “No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man.”


Update – 19 October 2015

In Canada, the Liberal Party (Justin Trudeau) won a landslide over the Conservative Party (Stephen Harper) who, at the concession speech said:  “The people are never wrong”; he further added: “The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone.” Then he stepped down as Conservative Party leader.

Could Cambodian politicians learn about “change” and that “political seats” in parliament are not private properties!