Political parties - especially those that position themselves to the left of centre - in countries like ours will watch with interest what happens to the British Labour Party's new leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
He looks, speaks and acts like a conventional member of the left-wing intelligentsia and, for that reason, is a most unconventional leader of a modern-day mainstream political party. If he can lift Labour out of the doldrums of its latest electoral defeat and make it competitive again, he will have defied the current conventional guidebook for political success.
His first week as Opposition leader has been interesting. His failure to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain commemoration was noticed and made headlines such as "Corb snubs the Queen" and, from the more sympathetic, "Is there a spin doctor in the house?". By the week's end, there was. His people first pointed out Mr Corbyn's republicanism was well known and he would have been accused of hypocrisy had he sung. Later, his office explained he had been overcome by the occasion and would sing the anthem in future.
His other notable act was more successful. At Prime Minister's Questions on his first day as leader he put questions to David Cameron that came from the public after an online invitation. They were delivered in Mr Corbyn's quiet, reasonable speech and Mr Cameron answered them as carefully and politely as if they had been put to him in a public meeting. It made a change from the usual cut and thrust of question time in Parliament, but it is probably not a tactic his MPs will want him to repeat too often. They need some cut and thrust.
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Mr Corbyn was not the choice of most Labour MPs but his election was not simply engineered by affiliated unions and the party's left wing. By all accounts, his candidacy attracted people into the party who wanted to vote for someone they saw as refreshingly true to himself. In that sense, his election may be not so different from the support Americans are giving to a man of diametrically opposed views - Donald Trump.
But it is one thing to flirt with a political outsider who is willing to say what he thinks, offend the pundits and defy the political guidebook when he is seeking a party's nomination for a nation's highest office. Mr Corbyn is now effectively Labour's nominee for Prime Minister. It is hard to see him in that role. It is easier to see Mr Corbyn leading Labour to a fringe of political life where anti-Americanism is rife, business and markets are considered evil, punitive tax rates are favoured and public spending has no limit.
A healthy democracy needs two competitive parties but the old employment-based divide that gave birth to Labour parties has largely disappeared. Labour everywhere has to come to terms with modern living standards and aspirations. Labour in this country has done so and British Labour did it successfully under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but then lost its way. It has now elected a leader more like a dusty scholar than a polished politician. It might even work - but don't bet on it.