I remember sitting in an A level Chemistry class in 2015 following election night. I should have been writing up an experiment we had done in the previous lesson but instead I kept sneakily looking at my phone to see the latest constituency results coming in. It was during this lesson that most ordinary and decent peoples nightmares became true as the Tories had just gained enough seats to officially say they had won the election.
I’d been optimistic about Ed, perhaps naive you could say. He seemed a decent enough guy with relatively sound policies but it was clear from the manifesto we were nowhere near radical enough or offering the change the country so desperately needed. Now we all know Cameron only really won that election on the promise of an EU referendum to stave off Herr Farage and UKIP but in reality a tory lite manifesto offering the same cuts and austerity was never going to wash with large sections of the party.
With us getting just 232 seats the only thing I was left to cheer about was the decimation of the Liberal Democrats who are now finished as a serious political party. For what it’s worth I have more respect for the Tories as I at least know they are evil and they proudly boast of this (just look at their record in government). The LibDems I just don’t know what they stand for aside from their Brexit policy.
The big task now for Labour was going to be to see who could withstand 5 years as leader of the opposition and leader of the labour party and who could take us to power in the next election in 2020 (as we thought would be the case).
The leadership election and how I became a socialist:
I’m going to be honest. It didn’t fill me with great hope seeing the leadership candidates getting nominated. I’d known and heard of Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham before. Not a very inspiring list. However, out of those three I would have voted for Andy. As a Scouser I felt at least a connection their even if he was only part of the soft left, his work with the Hillsborough families and fight for justice would have made me feel comfortable that he would have made a fine leader and provided decent opposition.
Then there is Jeremy. I have to admit before the leadership election I had never heard of Jeremy Corbyn. The first sight of him appearing in the leadership election presented a vision of someone who looked like; in my mind the stereotypical geography teacher (ironic considering that is what I’m training to be right now). Of course for Jeremy as we all know it wasn’t easy making it on the ballot. He was essentially only being given nominations by the PLP to widen debate. I don’t think anyone realistically thought he had any chance of winning. With needing 35 MPs to nominate a candidate Burnham and Cooper got there with relatively ease, Kendall slipped in and Jeremy, just with 36 nominations made it onto the ballot.
Now, those who did nominate him were called morons within the party as Jezza’s campaign gained momentum. I’d still thought I’d have voted for Burnham. It was a candidate I knew and had been comfortable with. I suppose the fear of the unknown was influencing my decision. But then, I remember the first debate and wow. It was clear then that this Jeremy wasn’t like the rest of the politicians I’d grown to know and hate. The fact he addressed “the elephant in the room” that was the illegal war conducted by then Prime Minister and war criminal Tony Blair showed he wasn’t afraid to take on the right of our party who, by the way, should not exist in a socialist party.
After the first couple of debates I thought I’d better do my due diligence and look at his voting record and some of the work he had done as an MP. I have to say I was shocked. I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of this person before. It was clear to me that this was the guy to radically change politics for the better and so, I suppose, that’s when I became a socialist.
Obviously we all know what happened next. Jeremy won that leadership election by a landslide and this was great news despite all the doom and gloom naysayers in the party. It was now charged to Jeremy to lead and shape our party the way the members wanted it to go. A fully socialist, environmentally aware, anti-austerity, pro nationalisation and pro-union movement.
Jeremy’s influence on the party and me:
I think society and lots in our party don’t appreciate the successes Jeremy Corbyn had within the party and within politics as a whole. They fail to recognise his influence has inspired millions and millions of people like me, often disengaged with politics, often young who now proudly call themselves a socialist.
I got to see a man leading the Labour party who was gentle, caring, kind, understanding of the need for social change and someone who really felt and understood people’s pain and sadness of having to deal with a corrupt, apathetic, unjust government. I try to model my own behaviours and values on what Jeremy bought to life and to the Labour party. I try to help people as often as I can; I stand against inequality and fight for justice. I feel more proactively engaged with politics and the need and want and feeling to fight for change.
This is all down to just one person, Jeremy. Jeremy is such an inspiration for me personally as a politician yes but first and most importantly as a good, decent human being. We must never forget those who tried to demonise the man time after time after time. Attacking him for not wearing a “proper suit” as David Cameron did (mate you fucked a pig, I wouldn’t be criticizing anyone), calling him a terrorist sympathiser (you again Dave), the media campaign against the man from the right wing MSM such as the Daily Heil and the Scum, even the less right wing media such as the Guardian and Independent time after time pushing the narrative that the man is unfit for office simply because he cared to give a damn about us plebs. The biggest smear of all was the anti-Semitism label. Anti-Semitism and racism of all kinds should be opposed fully by everyone. Jeremy is the embodiment of anti-racism and anti-discrimination. It was Jeremy who took to the streets to fight against racism, discrimination of all kinds whilst most MPs were probably at private dinners, shoving their faces with food and champagne whilst receiving backhanders to approve planning permission for building projects, “cough” Robert Jenrick “cough”. Weaponising anti-Semitism this way is sick beyond belief. Of course, there is a small percentage of anti-Semitism in the Labour party as there will be in every party, but Jeremy himself as former speaker of the House of commons, John Bercow stated is not an anti-Semite.
How ironic celebrity, blue tick twitter users label Jeremy anti-Semitic yet don’t use their platforms to call out the Islamophobic, racist, sexist Boris Johnson because he doesn’t threaten their wealth by asking them to pay a little bit more for the welfare of the nation as a whole. And still Jeremy never engaged in personal attacks. He never held grudges, instead, as testament to the man he held out an olive branch of peace.
This for me means Jeremy Corbyn will go down as one of the finest MP’s and public figures this country has ever had. Other than his personal qualities of being the soundest of all people he achieved so much during his near 5 years as leader of the Labour party. My personal highlights include:
- Saved our party from bankruptcy by inspiring thousands and thousands of members to join meaning we are now the largest political party by membership in Europe.
- Prevented a tory majority in 2017 by offering hope to millions of people seeing the biggest increase in Labour party vote share since 1945
- Despite being 20 off percentage points down in the polls and a media campaign against him Jeremy delivered Labours highest percentage share of the vote since 2001 improving on Eds 30.4% in 2015, Browns 29% in 2010 and war criminal Tony Blair’s 35.2% in 2005.
- Delaying the rollout of Universal credit in an opposition day motion defeating the government in a division by 299 votes in the HoC.
- Defeating Owen Smith MP in the coup leadership bid in 2016. Smith can do one with the rest of the blairites.
- Transforming the modern Labour party into a socialist one
- Radically transformed public perception and opinion of socialist policy such as nationalisation of rail, water, giving workers a place on the board of companies and taxing wealthy people in society more.
What would have happened if the coup never happened?
I truly believe without our own party sabotaging the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn we would currently be in power transforming Britain for the better. Somewhere, in an alternative universe Jeremy Corbyn is doing just that. He is leading a united socialist labour party against the Tories delivering nationalisation, starting the new green revolution and leading his country as a statesman with integrity, honesty and love.
The labour leaks report shows how party staffers actively wanted Corbyns demise and showed a culture of bullying and racism to predominantly female, black MPs. Diane Abbott suffered and still does horrific racism form society and seemingly her own party. I want to show my solidarity to her and every other MP and member who have always stood by Jeremy Corbyn.
For the ones who participated in the PLP coup of 2016 I wonder how they sleep at night knowing they helped prevent a labour government. Those involved should never be allowed to be in our party let alone lead it. Yet, one of those who resigned from shad cab now does lead our party. We face an uphill battle to regain control of the party and stop the leadership spiralling us down the road to centrism.
Thank you Jeremy Corbyn:
All that is left for me to say is thank you. Thank you so much for being an inspiration to millions of people throughout the country. Thank you for fighting for justice and standing by working class people. Thank you for always focussing on helping this party win power in spite of all those who challenged you and actively worked against you. To you, I owe my interest in politics and my determined belief in changing the world for the better. Without you I wouldn’t be a socialist today.
I spoke on my last blog about the power of poetry and how I like to use poetry to express thoughts and feelings and how important they can be in representing things. So here is a small poem dedicated to Jeremy:
Jeremy, you inspire me every single day,
With the words you write and the things you say,
Striving for justice, fairness and equality too,
Oh Jeremy Corbyn, I love you.
The mainstream media tried to attack,
But with peace and love you fought back,
The blairite centrists wanted rid,
Up came Owen with a leadership bid,
But the members chose you again,
To hold onto the leadership reign.
A man who always stood up for peace,
And membership he did dramatically increase,
I’ll never forget what you did for us,
Its right, about you, we make a big fuss,
So here’s to Jezza, our socialist star,
For the many, not the few, my hero you are.