Mario-Balotelli_3266736

So it has all come to a frustrating and ultimately disappointing end. Finally Mario says arrivederci to the Kop . For Liverpool the latest episode of the Balotelli show began with hope, excitement and promises. We are told that upon signing Mario gave undertakings to put his wild past behind him and knuckle down. Alas these were promises that the player failed to keep. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight it all seems so predictable, but that’s not how most of us felt when we signed the mercurial Italian.

Many Reds, myself included, embraced the signing of Mario Balotelli last summer. Even those who questioned the move had to concede that, if he could just learn to use his powers for good instead of evil, at £16 million he represented a gamble worth taking. Liverpool fans love a flawed genius. They recognise that the gap between madness and utter brilliance  can often be infinitesimally small.

This is why we still love Luis Suarez. When watching in awe as he destroyed defenders, pulled off impossible nutmegs and scored sublime goals, you always knew that lurking deep within him were demons fighting to take control. It was only a matter of time before they would surface and all hell would break loose. We didn’t mind too much, because the presence of ‘el pistolero’ in the first eleven elevated Liverpool way beyond their station.

Sadly with Mario there are no devils lurking within. There is no Mr Hyde waiting to take him over. In Mario’s case the monsters are always at the surface and he is perennially possessed by Hyde. To be fair to him there were signs very early on that he was prepared to embrace yet another ‘last chance’ at a big club. The game against Tottenham last season showed that, when paired with Sturridge, he could help deliver the goals we so desperately missed following the departure of Suarez.

genius banner

Frustratingly Sturridge broke down and spent the season on the sidelines; condemning us all to a lifetime of ‘what ifs’. Many complained that Rodgers then chose to persist with Mario as a lone striker; a position for which he was wholly unsuited. Why didn’t Brendan partner him with Borini or Lambert? I count myself amongst the perplexed on this score. Mario seemed to come to life on those rare occasion when his manager provided him with a strike partner.

There was a great deal of sympathy for the striker’s plight. Seemingly disrespected by his manager, he was seen as a world-class talent languishing on the bench. Worse still he sometimes didn’t even merit a place in the squad at all. We all desperately wanted to see him marauding around Anfield and pitches up and down the country. Instead he spent most of his energy creating cryptic posts on Instagram. It all seems such a terrible waste.

Of course we were all waiting for the ‘real Mario’ to step forward. We were convinced that there was a ‘fantastico’ waiting to break free. If only Rodgers would let loose the chains. We didn’t realise that the boss and many of Balotelli’s Liverpool team-mates had already seen the real Mario at Melwood and it was far from ‘magnifico’. At some point the manager decided enough was enough, but should he or could he have seen this coming?

It has always interested me that, just a matter of days before Balotelli became a Red, Brendan emphatically stated that he would not. Was the player signed against Brendan’s wishes? Or was this a last resort signing? Faced with missing out on all of his preferred targets, did Brendan allow himself to be persuaded to take a chance on Mario against his better judgement?

Judging by snippets in the local press, probably gleaned from club briefings, it would seem that the latter was the most likely explanation. We have been treated to a surprising amount of detail about the player’s transgressions during training sessions at Melwood.  It seems Brendan was onto a loser from the start.

If Rodgers did back his own man-management skills to get the best out of a serial underachiever like Balotelli, he certainly finds himself in good company. Many have tried and failed. Mourinho, Allegri and Mancini all described him as potentially one of the best talents in world football. Sadly they all almost went hairless trying to coach that prodigious talent into his game. Each of them were forced to let him go after failing to get the player to see he was wasting his gifts.

This for me is one of the most astonishing aspects of Mario’s career to date. The fact that so many top managers and clubs have been willing to take a chance on him and in the case of AC Milan twice! To be fair taking him on loan, with the Reds covering a proportion of his wages limits their exposure, but he surely represents a risk; if only in terms of team spirit. Apparently this is “absolutely Mario’s last chance”. He’s heard that before though.

I hope he does finally prove what a great player he really is, if only to maximise any potential fee Liverpool may eventually receive for him. I’m not optimistic though. For us we have no choice but to move on. We chalk yet another failed transfer gamble up to experience and hope that this time we actually learn from it.

This article by me was originally published on http://www.thisisanfield.com on 26th August 2015

migrant

Imagine just for a moment that your world is crashing down around you. Everything you once looked to for safety is gone. You’re home, job, parents, children ripped from you in an instant. The very fabric of the society you have spent your whole life in has now been taken away. You are terrified, vulnerable and desperate. Maybe there’s been a war or an invasion by some outside force. Perhaps an environmental catastrophe has robbed you of your peace and security. Whatever it is just think about that for a moment or two. Now ask yourself what would I do? Where would I turn for help?

It’s a truly horrible thought isn’t it? In all likelihood you’re struggling to comprehend the enormity of such a situation. You may be unable to contemplate how you would react. After all you have never had to face such a hopeless set of circumstances.

Maybe some of you would stay and fight against impossible odds to restore your life to some semblance of normality. Or, more likely you would try with every fibre of your being to move yourself and any surviving family members to a safer place. Anywhere would do, so long as you could feed your children and give them shelter. You would risk anything to get your loved-ones to a safe haven; wouldn’t you? Perhaps once you got there you could earn a little money and send it back to those who didn’t get out.

You would hope, even believe that if against all odds you made it to safety, that others would recognise your plight and offer assistance. After all none of this is your fault, why wouldn’t they help you? All sounds like a fairly reasonable human response doesn’t it? Now imagine that the opposite happened. Instead of shelter and basic human decency you were met with razor wire and tear gas. Instead of holding out a hand the authorities greeted you with truncheons and water cannon.

Even worse what if politicians and governments attempted to demonize you, referring to you and your kin as a swarm? You’re no longer a mother, father, son or daughter – you are a problem or a threat. I suspect you’d be incredulous, even furious. How could they push you back into the sea? How could they so callously ignore your cries for help. How could they sit and watch TV as you and your children drown?

Of course this is all happening to millions of human beings right now and we are seeing exactly the responses described. There are those who have tried to counter the wave of anti-immigrant propaganda by pointing out that Britain receives very few asylum applications relative to its European partners. Others have hi-lighted the positive contribution to society made by migrants throughout history, both economically and culturally. Cities like Liverpool have been built and populated by such people.

Scratch beneath the skin of any Britain today and you will find the blood of immigrants coursing through their veins. But even this misses the point. These arguments, while necessary and just don’t deal with the central issue; which is that we are talking about human beings here, not numbers. These people are no different to you or I and they are only trying to do what any of us would do in similar circumstances. To suggest that they are feral or in some way inferior and not worthy of the same basic rights as us, as some commentators have, is criminal and inhumane in my view.

I am reminded of a quote by Ghandi. On a visit to the west he was asked what he thought of western civilisation. He replied “I think it would be a good idea.” We like to call ourselves civilised. It allows us to feel comfortable and for some, superior. However, I believe the true mark of a civilised society is how it responds to those in the most desperate of need. In fact I would argue it is the only measure. Sadly western ‘civilisation’ is currently falling way short of this benchmark.

It is time Europe joined forces to offer these people safe passage and refuge. We cannot tolerate people who have already suffered the most unimaginable degradation to be beaten, abused and in some cases left to die. We have a duty as human beings to first walk in their shoes before passing judgement. To hold out our hands in solidarity and support instead of greeting them with hate and bigotry. Only when we respond in this way, with empathy and compassion, can we call ourselves a civilisation.

demo

Earlier this week Liverpool’s Mayor revealed a hate filled letter he had received from the self styled ‘National Action’ group. In it they promised the biggest Neo-Nazi march in decades. They threatened to burn the city down and commit hate crimes if he tried to ban it. In the end they failed to get out of Lime Street station. Their 25 strong ‘movement’ spent the day cowering behind shutters in the lost luggage room. Humiliated, they cancelled their own march. It seems the city of Liverpool will not be cowed by threats from the far right.

There are some who have invoked freedom of speech to suggest the march should have been allowed to go ahead unmolested. I respect this point of view. I support wholeheartedly the ‘Human Rights Act’ of 1998. However, incitements to racial hatred are not in keeping with the spirit of this act, nor do they fit with principles of democracy and freedom.

Freedom of speech is not absolute in law. There is no right to incite hate crimes. Libel and slander are also illegal. As a society we are rightly prepared to draw the line in terms of what is acceptable free speech and what constitutes bigotry and hatred. Despite this Theresa May, the only person in law who could have banned the march, declined to do so. It was therefore left to the people of Liverpool to exercise their right to say no to the fascists.

Liverpool is an ethnically diverse city and proudly so. It was built by hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Ireland, Africa, China and Asia. In the Spanish civil war Liverpudlians volunteered to fight Franco and this city suffered as much as any at the hands of Hitler’s Reich. There is a strong radical tradition here of rejecting narrow nationalism in favour of solidarity and internationalism.

liverpoolimmigrants

Today marked the tenth anniversary of the horrific death of Anthony Walker, a young black boy murdered by racist thugs in the city; a crime met with revulsion across the city. Many attended a festival in his honour at the same time ‘National Action’ were arriving for their march. Frankly these bigots couldn’t have picked a worse time or place for their obscene posturing.

Or maybe that was the point. Their leaflets and pamphlets boasted that they were ‘Commie’ busters; a reference to the fact that they see Liverpool as a left-wing city. I think it is, but I’d be guilty of stereotyping if I assumed that all Scousers identify themselves that way. The reality is that the population here is politically and culturally diverse. There are those who don’t see themselves as ‘lefties’ but they are strongly opposed to injustice and believe passionately in fairness and equality just the same.

‘National Action’ felt the full force of this today. Many came from far and wide to stand in the way of the racists, but they were joined by a strong and determined Scouse contingent. Their accents can be heard on viral videos shared on social media. Mixing anger with humour, they chanted “master race , you’re having a laugh,” as a forlorn looking bunch of thugs, heads bowed, stared at their jack-boots.

There is no place for Nazi’s in Liverpool. It’s been thirty five years since their last attempt to take on the city. They failed then, just as they have now. I am proud of my city today. I’m glad I live in a place where people won’t tolerate such hatred and where fascists are humiliated and driven from our streets.

No Pasaran

A once in a generation opportunity

Posted: August 12, 2015 in Ramblings

Originally posted on Jeff Goulding:

corbyn

A terrible affliction has beset he parliamentary Labour Party. They are possessed with fear and loathing. Demons haunt their dreams and consume their waking moments. They are so beside themselves with rage and resentment that their veil of respectability has slipped, revealing many of them as they truly are; career politicians for whom electability is a virtue that trumps all big ideas and talk of principles.

So, what is it that has driven right of the Party into such a feverish state. Is it rising use of food-banks? No. Is it the growing funding crisis in the National Health Service? No. Is it the fact that students are being rewarded with crippling debts upon graduation or the dehumanisation of desperate people fleeing war and persecution? No.

It seems that none of these evils invokes as much anger and righteous indignation among Labour’s elite than a 66 year old campaign veteran…

View original 1,398 more words

corbyn

A terrible affliction has beset he parliamentary Labour Party. They are possessed with fear and loathing. Demons haunt their dreams and consume their waking moments. They are so beside themselves with rage and resentment that their veil of respectability has slipped, revealing many of them as they truly are; career politicians for whom electability is a virtue that trumps all big ideas and talk of principles.

So, what is it that has driven right of the Party into such a feverish state. Is it rising use of food-banks? No. Is it the growing funding crisis in the National Health Service? No. Is it the fact that students are being rewarded with crippling debts upon graduation or the dehumanisation of desperate people fleeing war and persecution? No.

It seems that none of these evils invokes as much anger and righteous indignation among Labour’s elite than a 66 year old campaign veteran who has dared to say that there’s another way. So tight has their grip on the party been, that even a whiff of dissent is met with ferocious attacks.

Corbynism is the new scourge. It’s supporters and even those who are simply prepared to listen to it’s ideas are branded ‘hard-left’, ‘entryists with malign purposes’ or even those old bogeymen; the ‘Trotskyists’. I doubt any of Labours right-wing even know who Trotsky was or what he stood for. That doesn’t matter though. If you say the word with enough venom and bile in your throat you’ll convince enough people that it’s a terrible insult.

They have been taken completely by surprise. To them, the left was dead. The old ideological battle between socialism and capitalism had been fought to its bitter conclusion and the free market reigns supreme. The electorate has been transformed and modernised. Gone are the working-class, replaced with upwardly mobile conservative thinking individuals, who all aspire to be rich. The old ways of thinking just don’t work any more. Or so the story goes.

Trouble is none of that is true. The numbers of working poor continues to rise and inequality is rampant. Ordinary people have aspirations, but for many that stretches to being able to pay your bills or put food on the table. The aspiration to own your own home is a distant fantasy. House prices and rents are out of reach for many. Those who work hard at university can look forward to a lifetime of debt. This is a deeply unjust society with wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the few.

Instead of living in a post cold-war free-market paradise, we live in a world where bankers and speculators can trigger a global financial collapse, while the rest of us are required to pick up the tab. All over the world capitalist economies are beset with homelessness, unemployment and social inequality. In Greece there is a growing humanitarian crisis caused by the intransigence of the banks and the European Union.

This is not a world the vast majority of us want to live in. There is a yearning for someone to offer a critique of the status-quo. Young people in particular are facing the prospect of a dystopian nightmare. Homelessness, unemployment, war, poverty and environmental catastrophe fill the newspapers; and politicians tell them there is no alternative. It’s no wonder a third of the electorate don’t vote, many of them young people. Who would they vote for? What difference wiould it make?

Following the Tory victory in the May General Election I wrote a piece, in which I reasoned that Labour failed to regain power from the Coalition precisely because it failed to inspire this very constituency. However, I had no faith that they would come to the same conclusion and I was right. My fear that they would contemplate and even greater shift to the right has been borne out.

The right’s analysis that they had lost because Milliband was too ‘left-wing’ flies in the face of reality. By no sensible measure could Ed be classed as a left winger. Those that suggest he was need to explain which specific policies they are basing that analysis on. Even his much vaunted attack on ‘non-dom’ status has been embraced by the Tories and his minimum wage pledge has been gazumped too.

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The truth is the Labour Party led by Milliband was so afraid of saying anything that might not poll well; it actually ended up saying very little at all. The same cannot be said for the Scottish Nationalists, who campaigned on a shamelessly left-wing manifesto. They cleaned up and it was Labour who paid the price.

So, for me and many others it is hard to see the logic in proposing a further move away from the left. Surely the electorate are demonstrating that they are utterly fed up with the same old manufactured sound-bites. They clearly want something radically different. Only 24% of those eligible to vote actually cast it in favour of the current regime; yet Labour are proposing we chase those same voters by offering a slightly different version of pro-market, pro austerity conservatism.

In truth in the wake of that catastrophic defeat, I felt like I was just shouting into a void. I never dreamed that such an alternative would ever be on offer. I really believed I was living through the historic demise of the Labour Party as a socialist voice representing working people’s interests. I’d even started formulating a blog to that effect; then along came Jeremy Corbyn.

In what is the most open, democratic and inclusive election in Labour’s history he seems to be on course to achieve a stunning and historic victory. He is packing out venues across the country. People have turned up in their droves to hear what he has to say and what’s more they seem to like what they are hearing. So much so in fact that over 150,000 have joined the party or registered as supporters. This is the biggest surge in membership since the end of the second world war.

No politician, other than Corbyn is pulling in theses numbers. No political party is attracting so many recruits. Labour is, and it’s because of the prospect of electing something radically new. You would think that this would be celebrated. Surely for people who crave popularity and cherish electability’ the sight of hundreds of thousands of people flooding into the party would grow their hearts two sizes too big.

Not so. It seems that the wrong sort of people are joining the party. The right wanted Corbyn on the ballot, but only to show that they were all democratic and open. They didn’t want anyone to actually vote for him. Of course they want people to join the Party, but only those who fit their very narrow view of the electorate. If so many people are joining to vote for something else, then they must all be members of the revolutionary left.

Partners in attack. Blair and Kinnock have led the right's fightback against Corbyn

Partners in attack. Blair and Kinnock have led the right’s fightback against Corbyn

Frankly this doesn’t even come close to being plausible. If the revolutionary left had 150,000 active members, we would have actually had a revolution by now. The reality is that the people have voted with their feet and the parliamentary Labour Party are terrified of them. It seems they have a profound disagreement with the electorate.

We now face the grotesque chaos of a Labour Party, a Labour Party desperately trying to  cancel an election that they organised, with rules they wrote, because they don’t like the way the members intend to vote. The BBC revealed today that 1200 people have been excluded from voting, including Ken Loach. They are losing the game and they want to take their ball home. This cannot be allowed to stand.

The current Labour leadership have revealed themselves to be thoroughly undemocratic. At every turn they have resorted to personal attacks and negative campaigning in an attempt to derail Corbyn’s campaign. By contrast he has steadfastly refused to play their game, preferring to speak of policies and ideas. We know what the right are against, but we have no idea what they are for. Corbyn is playing by the rules they made and now they want to change them.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to change politics in this country. We have a chance to turn Labour into a progressive mass movement capable of transforming the lives of millions of people. To achieve this we must not be complacent. We must make this a landslide for Corbyn in order to prevent the right from overturning the result or attempting a parliamentary coup. The result needs to be so convincing that they simply have to accept it.

We have until lunch-time tomorrow for people to join the party or register as a supporter and vote in this election. If you want to see a society where everyone looks after everyone else and people care for each other, where students are rewarded for aspiring to achieve a degree at University, where the NHS is funded properly and free for all at the point of access, where we look for peaceful solutions to problems rather than bombing people out of their homes; then please take this opportunity and join Labour. Vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

make-us-dream

Most football supporters liver for small moments of glory. Perhaps a rare triumph over an old foe or the occasional bonus of a local kid who comes good and transforms the fortunes of their team. For some survival provides a perverse form of success, but for a vanishingly small number of us there is the prospect of something tangible; a trophy at the end of the season.

It used to be that winning your league was the only true barometer of success. “First is first, second is no where” said Mr Shankly, brutally honest as always. He was right of course, but now there is so much money on offer for second, third and even fourth; that what constitutes success keeps on getting redefined. We have now reached the point that even winning the once treasured FA Cup is a distant second to finishing as the fourth best team in the league.

At the end of a season a lucky few will get to drink in the joy of victory and marvel at the glamour of a cup-final or league winners parade. For the rest it’s case of licking wounds and dreams of next year. The cpacity of supporters to keep coming back year after year with little or nothing to show for it says everything about the eternal appeal of the game and it’s why the money men and women are able to exploit us so efficiently.

As a Liverpool supporter I have been blessed. The Reds have won 63 trophies in their history. In my lifetime they amassed 48 of them. When people accuse me of being a deluded Scouser, I just point out this fact. Why wouldn’t I believe that next year is going to be our year? Since the day I was born it usually has been. I’ve seen things many supporters will never see. If you are a neutral that’s nothing to celebrate because it speaks to a deeply uneven playing field in the sport. There are teams out there that literally have no chance of success because of the power of the few.

In the seventies and eighties there were teams that dominated. We were obviously one of them. However, our success was built on great management, buying the right players and coaching them into a cohesive fighting machine united in a common purpose. It was not about outspending your rivals and monopolising all of the talent so nobody else could get a look-in.

Back then there was always a chance that someone could break through and win the league. I remember us going toe to toe with Bobby Robson’s Ipswich one year. Supporters of other teams could dream of winning the league. Nottingham Forest won it under Clough. They also won the European Cup as did Aston Villa. This proved if you assembled a decent team and employed the right manager you had at least a shot at real glory.

However, there is one glorious moment in every football supporters life. A moment when the decks are clear and there is everything to play for. The start of a new season in England is magical. It is a time when it is okay to be deluded. until the first ball is kicked nobody has been vanquished and all can dream of being winners. The sins of last season have been absolved and old mistakes forgiven.

stoke defeat

The foe may look mighty, but belief in miracles is never higher than at this time. Hope has yet to be beaten and chased from view. There are new players to worship and new villains to berate. Countless alcohol infused debates and unwise bets will be made. Children will wake early and make their way to train stations or coaches waiting to be transported to scenes of joy or despair. For many of us, whether the week ahead will be unbearable or a breeze will hinge on the fortunes of 22 men on the green grass of a football pitch. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the lucky few who have tickets this is our nirvana. Drenched in sunshine, we’ll walk among the badge sellers or take in the atmosphere around the ground. We’ll mingle together and share in the warmth that comes from being part of a tribe. Others will cram into pubs, the air filled with the smell of beer and chatter of dreams and aspirations, of belief and optimism. In English football there is no greater time to be a football supporter than at the beginning of a new season, when everyone can dare to dream. This, if nothing else, unites us all.

As Liverpool fans we have to wait another day. We don’t get to share in the Saturday rituals others will enjoy.Our season starts tomorrow. Thousands will make the journey to Stoke, the scene of our most recent humiliation. Despite this spirits will be high. Summer has healed the wound inflicted on that day. Reinforcements have arrived and there is a determination to set the record straight.

So as we prepare to do battle once more there can be no room for feint-hearts. The time for winging and sniping from the sidelines has passed. It will doubtless return as it always does at the first sign of failure, but for now it has no place among us. United Liverpool fans can achieve great things. When they hear our collective voice willing them on; our players can achieve miraculous things. This isn’t fantasy it is reality, as anyone who lived through Istanbul and the 2013-14 season can attest.

Whether you believe Brendan is the new Shankly or liken him to Hodgson you are surely united in the belief that if he succeeds we all succeed. Whether you would have sold the players he sold or not, they are gone. The new signings, whether inspired or not, deserve our utmost support the minute they cross that white line, because if they succeed – we all succeed. So we go again, under summer skies with dreams and songs to sing. Let’s write the next chapter with hearts full of hope.

This article by me was first published on http://www.thisisanfield.com

Corbyn

Standing on tip-toes, crammed into door-ways, desperate for the briefest of glimpses or to hear just a fragment of speech. This was how the people of Liverpool and Merseyside greeted the arrival of ragged trousered socialist, Jeremy Corbyn. He had come to town as part of his campaign for the Labour leadership and judging by the turnout he can count on the support of the Mersey branch of the movement

This was a meeting that invoked memories of movements past for me. I lifted my phone above heads trying to capture the scale of the meeting in a photo, so that I could upload it to social media. A voice next to me piped up “sorry mate, but what ‘hashtag’ are you using for this meeting?” Perhaps a reminder that while this campaign is rooted in timeless principles of social justice, its followers are of a very modern vintage.

Something special is happening in British Politics. Let’s give credit where it is due and acknowledge it’s origins as being in Scotland. In May the Scottish Nationalists, campaigning on an unashamedly left wing manifesto, swept a timid and vacuous Labour Party aside. We have only come to realise how far to the right ‘New Labour’ had gone when we heard people referring to Ed Milliband as “too left wing”.

Armed with this strange logic, it is maybe understandable that the Party decided it need to move even further to the right. Today’s labour spin teams are chasing an ever diminishing demographic who actually elect the government these days. Instead of going after the 76% who don’t actually subscribe to austerity, are totally disillusioned with politics and don’t bother to vote, they are are trying to convince a rump to choose between different shades of capitalism.

That’s not actually what the majority of us want. At the meeting last night there was thunderous applause as speaker after speaker called for Labour to once again become a genuine socialist movement that campaigns for an end to austerity, a Government that redistributes wealth and creates a fairer society. There were calls to end tuition fees, reverse the privatisation of the health service and for a real living wage.

I couldn’t actually get into the room and along with hundreds of others, I was trying to watch through the open doors at the rear of the room. Some, unable to hear what was being said from the platform were holding impromptu discussions of their own. “I never knew politics was like this.” Said a young lad behind me. “I’m 28 and I’ve never seen anything like it.” An older veteran smiled “It was like this all the time back in the 80’s lad and it’s right because we need to get rid of these Blairites.”

corbynadelphi

The room its self was packed, with every seat taken and people lining the walls three of four deep. The atmosphere was electric. I remembered similar meetings of the past, the sense of anticipation, the feeling of unity and common purpose and the belief you are part of something much bigger than yourself.

I recall that back then I believed we could change the world and last night I marvelled at how that old feeling was back again, just as powerful and magical as ever. Movements ebb and flow. Sometimes they are vanquished, but ideas never go away. They just lie in wait for their time to come again or for a leader to come along who is articulate enough to espouse them once more.

In Jeremy Corbyn we have found that leader and as he took to the platform a great roar filled the room. This was the man we had come to see. I get the sense that Corbyn is a modest man. He sees himself as a democratic leader. He listens and wants to encourage discussion and debate around ideas in the party. He believes passionately that the membership and the people have the answers; they just don’t realise it.

It is a refreshing change. Gone are lectures about ideas being unelectable. We are no longer being told that our aspirations are outdated or discredited. Instead we are being encouraged to discuss, explore and debate thoughts and ideas. At long last there is a voice within the movement who is setting out a vision for a just, more equal and fairer society, asking why not? and encouraging  us to think about how we can achieve it. No longer are we being told to accept the status-quo and it feels truly liberating.

Corbyn spoke passionately about his vision for Britain. On education, he argued it’s not an individual privilege that should be taxed. When schools produce doctors, engineers and teachers we all benefit. We should fund education as a right and that includes continuing adult education. He spoke of how students are being punished for working hard at University, only to be rewarded with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt and vowed to end tuition fees by raising corporation tax by 0.5% to pay for a return to grants.

In sharp contrast with Cameron’s response to the migrant crisis in Calais, Jeremy articulated a more humane vision. “When people are desperate they do desperate things, but they are human beings. Wouldn’t you rather live in a world where, instead of vilifying these people, we hold out our hands and help them.” Rapturous applause.

He spoke of his anger at a grotesquely unequal society that saw people sleeping rough, families depending on food banks while we spend billions on weapons of mass destruction and wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few. “I want a society where everyone helps everyone else and we all care for each other, That’s the whole point of the welfare state, that’s the vision behind the health service. Nobody should fall into destitution.” Cheers and more applause.

Moreover he argued, this is not about some ideological fantasy. A society based on peace and social justice is a happier, and more productive society “You can call it humanism, humanitarianism or anything you like. I call it socialism”. The room erupts in approval.

A new movement has been born. It started north of the border and found it’s expression in votes for the nationalists, but it has embraced the Labour movement north and south of the border now. Whatever the result of this election, the left has once again found its voice and is more confident than ever before. The party has been transformed and the Blairite entryists must take heed. The membership is growing and they will be heard.

To those on the sidelines, I can offer you some wise words. They’re not mine. They’re not even Jeremy Corbyn’s. Instead they belong to that wide eyed 28 ear old who stood with me last night and who had just joined the Labour Party so he could vote for Corbyn. “The only way to make this happen, the only way to influence things and create a better world is to get involved.” I couldn’t have put it any better. Join us.