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Forged in the fire of protest: A Prime Minister for the many

With every line on his face carved by a 34 year struggle for fairness and social justice, Jeremy Corbyn today delivered a speech that many feel transformed him from party leader to Prime Minister in-waiting. It was a masterful portrait of a Tory Britain that, as he passionately declared, is holding back the potential of the British people.

Few could argue he hadn’t captured the essence of a Conservative government that rules in the interests of the privileged. They are happy to carve out a Brexit for the few, to surrender our public services, he said, because they have a “get out of jail free card.”

Theresa May can slash and burn schools and hospitals, feed the greed of the super rich and watch as our infrastructure crumbles, because the people she serves will never pay the price. That is left to the rest of us.

To loud applause he called time on the housing crisis, under-funding of healthcare and a population weighed down by mountainous debt. With calm determination he set out an alternative future for all of us; one in which the aspirations of all people are heard by a government that would “bend over backwards to unleash their potential.”

His was a message aimed directly at the young, who will inherit the society Labour wants to build, and an appeal for them to claim their future by registering to vote. It will echo across the generations and resonate with their parents too. People like me, angry that my children have to borrow to achieve a university education; money they’ll spend the best years of their lives paying back, will be lifted up by his words.

I want my family to live in safety and security. I want them to grow old in a society that guarantees them and me dignity. I don’t want to see people sleeping rough, while houses lie empty and I deplore working people having to depend on charity to eat. Jeremy doesn’t need to draw out the fault lines for me. I see them every day.

Perhaps there are some though who have been distracted. Their gaze diverted and their attention fixated on minutia and matters only of interest to the chattering classes. For too long we’ve been fed an unremitting diet of analysis that only focuses on the editorial pot-of-gold they call “electability.”

It matters not what the message is. When you can paint a man, or a woman, as unelectable there is no need for further analysis. This is another of the Tory Party’s get out of jail free cards, ripped up by Corbyn today, as he pledged never to bow to a hostile media and an establishment that stifles free thought.

In truth, this is a man who has never doffed his cap to the powerful. Corbyn spoke of his decades long struggle against injustice. A career of resistance that had seen him arrested for protesting against the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa and in court for refusing to pay the hated poll-tax.

I’ve always believed that, if you want to know how someone will behave in the future, it’s useful to gaze into their past. If you want a Prime Minister who will stand by your side and fight tooth and nail for you, then you could only be heartened at the sight of a man who has stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of firefighters and junior doctors his whole life.

His is an epic journey from Trade Union organiser to Labour Councillor and from the backbenches of Parliament to leader of a movement of more than half a million people and growing. Today he finds himself in a position he didn’t ask for and few, himself included, thought he could ever secure.

His rise to prominence and passionate defence of the weak and the disadvantage has seen him vilified and abused, both personally and politically. In all of that he has never wavered, not even for a moment. His principles and values remain as strong today as they were more than forty years ago. Is this not the very definition of strong and stable leadership?

Jeremy Corbyn has spent decades observing others squander the immense opportunity presented to them by the privilege of leadership. He spoke of how weak leaders seek to bolster their position by asking us to give them more power. Is there a more accurate description of Theresa May’s appeal to the British electorate over Brexit?

Here is a Tory leader, so lacking a backbone, she has run from Corbyn and the electorate. How will she negotiate with Europe? Have no doubt May will surrender all of our rights in negotiations, if she is given a mandate on June 8th.

By contrast Corbyn painted a compelling portrait of the Prime Minister and leader he wanted to be. It could not be more different than anything that has gone before. His life, his mission has taught him that there is strength in collectivism. He will be a leader who creates the space for others to challenge and create.

Corbyn spoke of his respect for criticism, even of his own leadership, because he wanted to resist the “presidential bunker mentality” of the May government. He would be a Prime Minister of a Labour government of and for the many, not the few.

As I write this I am conscious that it is laden with emotion. I have deleted and then retyped sentences, striving to be more analytical, objective and unbiased. But why should I be. I have tears in my eyes as I pen this, precisely because I am moved by the vision set out today by Jeremy Corbyn for the country and for the style of leadership he offers us.

Two years ago today, the humble man from Islington’s epic journey took an unexpected turn. Like all hero’s journeys there has been adventure and intrigue along the way. He has stumbled, but never fallen and he has always had his eyes fixed squarely on the goal of a more just and equal society.

Has it been smooth and easy? Emphatically no! But, to paraphrase a great teller of epic journeys, J.R.R. Tolkien, it’s not an adventure worth having, if there aren’t a few dragons to slay along the way.

All I ask is that you peer through the veil the media has placed over your eyes. Listen to the man, hear the vision. If you are as inspired as I am, then register, share the message with your friends and vote Labour on the 8th June.

 

25 Comments »

  1. Utter drivel and nonsense, filled with the usual easily disprovable assertions about Corbyn that his silliest supporters persist with. It is you that looks at Corbyn through a veil; on June 8, the electorate will tear that away, and the lives of those who rely on a Labour government will be ruined by your crazed self-indulgence.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Have no doubt, it is an emotional time for all of us who believe in Jeremy Corbyn, and want desperately to live in his vision of how England can be. But you know what? The more I read posts like yours, the more I feel a swelling of optimism. I think it might just happen. I’m hearing about people who’ve voted Tory all their lives waking up and realising that austerity and the axing of public services isn’t right, and they’re coming round to our way of thinking, because of Jeremy but also because of the eloquence of his supporters. Keep fighting the good fight. We might just make a real difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this article Jeff. I have just returned from delivering leaflets and it encouraged me no end. The honesty and hope shine through in your writing. We need much more of it. Here’s to victory in June! (and 3 points on Monday.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your observations are excellent and many of us know that if we miss this chance to have Jeremy Corbyn as our PM we will never have another chance.

    Jeremy, please don’t throw away the golden opportunity which Theresa May has just handed us on a plate – the chance to get rid of her and Brexit.

    Because we now know that May wants to take us out of the Customs Union and the Single Market in an unforgivable act of self harm, we have the right and ability to say that if we win the election we would widen the franchise to sixteen year olds and give the people a choice to vote again in another referendum to see if they still want Brexit.

    There will undoubtedly be an almighty uproar from the right wing and some dubious Labour MPs but we must not let it constrain us from making the bold decision to give every voter the possibility to reflect upon the enormity of leaving the EU. If May can announce another General Election, Labour can certainly offer a new referendum. Given the new circumstances, any objection by the Tories or UKIP the other Tories is a denial of democracy.

    The first referendum was a sham, hardly anyone had a clear idea of the issues or the consequences of leaving the EU. Democracy was not served when the 92% right wing media were feeding lies and half truths to the public. We must not let our own misplaced sense of fairness to those who voted out, prevent us from the possibility of getting rid of the Tories. In another referendum, Labour supporters who voted out can still do the same again if they wish but they should ask themselves, what would they rather have Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn as PM?

    Since Theresa May’s decision, I along with others have been and will be, slogging the streets campaigning for Labour and been told by many who are going to vote Lib Dem that if Labour offered another referendum, they would switch to us. Time after time I have been told that “Labour has let us down over Brexit”. This view is being confirmed daily by vox pops on the various news channels and it is being milked for all it’s worth by Tim Farron. If Labour offered a new referendum it would take the Lib Dems out of the picture completely.

    Labour’s position at the moment to hold the Tories to account towards the END of the Brexit negotiations, even with a referendum, is both dangerous and illogical. It means that Labour, a REMAIN Party, could be putting pressure on the EU via the Tory negotiators to improve terms under which we LEAVE, it makes no sense. Why after Tory negotiations, should the EU improve their deal to us just because Labour presses the Tories? If we think Labour is the lever by which we can improve any deal, we are wrong. It is totally muddled thinking. We are making the same mistake we made in Scotland when we stood on the same platform as the Tories in support of their position on the Scottish referendum – the result was a wipe out for Labour. When leaving the EU hits the rocks as it surely will, it will be Labour who get the blame.

    Now is the chance to redeem ourselves, we cannot ride two horses, it signals weakness. We will never convince the 25% or so of committed right wingers out there but there are millions of others who would accept another referendum and we WITHOUT DOUBT should make the case boldly and with conviction. If the Tories get back with anything like a working majority and the Lib Dems gain more seats, we will kick ourselves that we should have offered a referendum. It is not too late to head off this possibility, we have zero to lose and everything to gain, in fact it would be the GAME CHANGER we so desperately need!

    I say this a little tongue in cheek but if Jeremy was to favour a new referendum, Tony Blair, who is desperate for us to remain in the EU would be obliged to support him!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    I loved every passionate word written in this post – we need more people to feel this way, as it will take slog, guts, and a ton of passionate belief in Jeremy Corbyn’s words, to push the nay-sayers and can’t-be-bothered’s, to one side – thus leaving Labour free to do what it can for the people of these divergent countries we call the UK 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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