Tuesday, 11 August 2015
So me and Techiecarer went to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak.
Even though we arrived early the hall was already packed. Asking for help we managed to get seated after someone had kindly offered their seat. Before the event had started the hall was filled with people spilling out of the doors and crowding around the entrance of the hall desperate to hear him speak. I obviously thought that this was likely as the same scenario seems to have been played out up and down the country. So arriving to a rapturous applause he began his speech.
He was the first politician I have ever heard to categorically state that those on welfare are not to blame for the UK’s problems, that we should be proud of the welfare state, that the NHS should be free from the point of use and that society has failed so many people in need of mental health treatment. That immigrants fleeing atrocities should be seen as people in need and not as swarms, as if they were non human. That we need to invest, tackle tax avoidance and increase public housing and pay. That we should have more public ownership, look after our environment and invest in education. That people should be able to learn what they want without worrying about fees at any point in their life. For the most part I agreed greatly with what he said even though I still have some questions on some of his policies.
After his talk he took random questions from the audience.
He then dashed around to talk and take selfies with everyone that wanted one. There were people at the event who were obviously struggling in their lives but he approached them with no less interest than anyone else and listened to what they had to say. Too often politicians seem awkward when talking to ordinary people and it was nice to see they were treated no differently.
Initially I didn’t think I would manage to grab a word with him, I was low on spoons and trying to ask something in a crowded room is not the easiest especially as I was sitting down. I thought I would only have a second as he was rushing to another event but he stopped and smiled. I spoke to him about how the disabled community felt especially about Labour’s actions and the discrimination faced due to the negative stereotypes portrayed in the media. He answered and when I mentioned my health asked about how I was managing. I also spoke to him about care leavers and he actively asked about my experiences.
Although he was in a rush I can honestly say there was not a moment where I felt he wanted to rush the conversation. I shook his hand and he reached to the side of me to shake Techiecarer’s hand, as well as the lad to the other side of me.
The main point that resounded with me from his speech is when he stated that no party has the automatic right to exist and that the public should play a part in helping shaping its policies.
I have supported the party in the past, as well as other parties but more recently like others I haven’t felt like I could. Labour's inaction to hold true to its roots has been infuriating. The election campaign was run on an attitude that voters must vote for Labour otherwise the Tories would get in and that voters must accept austerity light. That any disgruntled Labour voter who votes instead for another left wing party are allowing the Tories to get into power and obviously this attitude did nothing to win voters over. Throughout the Labour leadership campaign, the other Labour candidates and political commentators have stated that Labour lost the general election because it was too left wing. The fact that they state this shows how little they are listening to the public. Labour lost because it was offering austerity light. So people either decided not to vote or instead voted for other left wing parties. Instead of coming to the realisation that people were voting for other parties because they didn’t believe in Labour's policies, Labour decided to attack them stating how much their vote would be wasted. It is true that under the current electoral system for Westminster that these votes are more often than not “lost” but Labour did not understand that people wanted to vote for policies they believed in and I respect anyone holding on to what they believe in.
It is often stated that people do not care about politics any more but if that was truly the case why is this man packing halls up and down the country with people spilling out of the doors and jumping up to windows in the hope to hear what he wants to say?
Yes Corbyn could be like any other politician, this could be an act and he could totally change if he becomes leader or even prime minister but at the moment he seems to have been the most genuine politician that I have met. There is also no guarantee that the party, like any other might not backtrack on any election promises made. With how current opinion is within the Labour Party, there has been doubt cast on whether the party will allow him to lead if he gets elected as leader.
But you can not tell me that people aren't interested in politics, they just want policies they can believe in, an alternative whatever the party.