Predictions, Pollification, and Pol Profs: the ‘Corbyn Problem’ beyond Corbyn

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Series Details Volume 91, Number 1, Pages 80-88
Publication Date January-March 2020
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It has been noted that UK political punditry has a ‘Corbyn problem’: an underlying hostility to the Corbyn project and its supporters. As the Corbyn era draws to a close, we take stock and argue that the Corbyn problem was never fully ‘about’ Corbyn. Instead, it was the outward manifestation of a conjunction of tendencies present in contemporary UK politics: the prominence of a relatively small group of ‘intensely involved’ individuals driving dominant political discourse; the inability of traditional purveyors of broadcast media coverage to adapt to contemporary political currents and an unwillingness to self‐reflect on possible biases in their approach; and the ‘pollification’ of election campaign coverage, aided by mainstream political scientists stereotyped in the figure of the ‘Pol Prof’.

Combined, these tendencies are hostile to left‐wing political actors and movements. They will not disappear with Corbyn and may even intensify as their structural underpinnings strengthen further.

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