London CNN  — 

In 2015, an obscure and rebellious backbencher named Jeremy Corbyn stunned the political establishment when his anti-imperialist, uncompromisingly socialist worldview lit a fire under the British left.

Suddenly, a man who wanted to dismantle NATO, nationalize British industry and called designated terrorist organizations “friends,” was elected party leader by a grassroots caucus.

In the years since, Corbyn, who was already wildly popular in his own north London constituency, has developed a cult-like following among Labour members, with allegations of extremism, opposition to dissent and unelectability brushed aside by “Corbynista” acolytes. Now they hope that in two weeks’ time he could be elected as prime minister in Britain’s snap general election.

To those supporters, Corbyn is the remedy to political norms that have driven inequality and made the world less safe. Dawn Foster, a pro-Corbyn political commentator, says the Labour leader has “set himself apart from other politicians by saying things he believes in that might not be popular with the entire public.”

But some Labour members believe their own party’s leader is unfit to become prime minister. “Jeremy is instinctively opposed to all that has made our country great. From the Atlantic alliance that has kept the UK free to the competitive markets that have made us wealthy,” says John McTernan, who worked for former Labour PM Tony Blair.

Onlookers may find it strange that a man who appears to hold views so at odds with the UK’s status as a wealthy nuclear power could get anywhere near Downing Street.

However, since the Brexit vote of 2016, the UK is no longer a country that nods along to the status quo. And Corbyn’s anti-capitalist ideas chime with many aching for something different.

“I think what lots of people have seen in Jeremy Corbyn is an authenticity that has been lacking in mainstream politics,” says Wes Streeting, a Labour candidate running for reelection. A decade after the financial crisis, many in the UK are done with establishment politicians who they believe let bankers off the ho