Owen Jones: Labour’s shift has been vindicated. The public is tired of austerity | Owen Jones

Two years ago, Jeremy Corbyn challenged political orthodoxy by not attacking benefits claimants. Now public opinion has aligned with his stance

Do you resign yourself to public opinion as it is now, or do you attempt to change it? That is a question that has long divided Britain’s left and produced two competing strategies. The “centrist” approach is one that amounts to resignation. Voters are where they are, and it is largely futile to campaign to change minds when Labour is in opposition. It will simply render the party out of touch. A longstanding centrist argument was that the public believes austerity is unfortunate but necessary, and so economic credibility is defined by signing up to spending cuts. Labour’s left, on the other hand, refutes this pessimism. Public opinion can change – and dramatically so – if the counter-arguments to rightwing orthodoxy are heard loudly and forcefully.

Related: Dear Andrea Leadsom, shrinking the state is the opposite of patriotism | Polly Toynbee

Related: Clinging to austerity will kill this government – the small-state dream has evaporated | Paul Mason

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