Right, that’s it, I’ve had enough. I’ve sat on my hands for long enough. I’ve spent months looking at conversations and threads on the internet about Jeremy Corbyn, about how he’s not a leader, about how all his supporters are lunatics, about how he’s the messiah and about why he’s unelectable. I still have no idea about what is truth and what is fiction from both sides of this really rather tedious debate.
In 20 days, Jeremy Corbyn will more than likely still be The Labour Party’s democratically elected leader. I like him, not because I think he’s a great public speaker or because he has all the answers I’m looking for.
Over the last ten years or so I’ve been to meetings. Committee meetings, business lunches, board meetings, political meetings, community meetings. Loads of them. At committee and community meetings, quite often there will be one guy that gets really picky, anal if you will. He’ll talk about really boring things, he’ll go off topic and get all fired up and outraged by stuff. At super important business meetings, you’ll quite often get one guy that comes in and knows his shit. He’ll listen to you, call you by your first name even, he is the man that tells you he’ll get stuff done. You shake hands, everything is great, you feel relieved and then the next day you get an email saying you’re fired.
I know which guy I’d rather have my back. Especially if it means life or death. So, in essence that is where I stand on Jeremy Corbyn. He’s the man that has an allotment, is out-raged by things, stumbles over his words sometimes and gets really narked about things like privatisation of public services and lack of affordable housing. No biggie. The other guy – in fact all of the other guys as far as I can see would smile and nod as you beg ‘Please sir, can I have some more?’ and then carry on about their day. But has there been some kind of poll about it, I hear Owen Smith say? No. But I have eyes and ears, and so do lots of other people, and whats more we have the means to communicate with each other, beyond the realms of the Daily Mail and The Guardian (Oh and while we’re here, what the actual fuck, The Guardian? We thought we knew you.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I am sick of hearing about all of this stuff, even writing about it is hard work. I like the guy, he’s fine, and so do loads of other people, increasingly. But this ‘movement’, this period in our history, these stirrings have categorically NOTHING TO DO WITH JEREMY. He just happens to be along for the ride, he’s brought his bike and is probably more surprised than anyone to be here.
I’m in my late 30’s. My parents came of age in the 60’s. When I was growing up my Dad would talk of revolution and Jimi Hendrix whilst simultaneously working for a bad-arse-fuck-the-little-guy computer company. He spent his youth on the Kings Road, selling the Socialist Worker and fighting racism with punk. My mum was a psychiatric nurse and a feminist, a strong northern lass who moved south. In the 80’s they did good, bought a house, got a car, moved to the home counties, life rumbled on. As the 80’s turned into the 90’s, ‘things could only get better’ according to Tony Blair. So, as my brother and I left school and looked to the wider world, for this better Britain that we were promised, it came as somewhat of a shock to find that it was all total bollocks. The path our parents had taken was no longer there. It had all been dug up, sold off and had a car park built on it.
We coped, we rented overpriced shit-holes from unscrupulous student letting agents. We worked shit jobs in call centres with no rights, minimum wage in shops, agency care assistants. Friends that were academic and probably much more sensible did the uni thing, bought houses around us and did things properly. Scrimping and saving tens of thousands to afford a deposit for a mortgage they would later not be able to pay. As the banking crisis happened, redundancy loomed like a tidal wave, sweeping aside years of hard work, all the saving and sacrifice, for nothing. There was no safety net. There was no bail out. Just nothing.
As the Tories came to power they said that years of hard work and sacrifice would get us all out of this mess, we’d have to save our pennies, tighten our belts and batten down the hatches. Sit tight people of Britain, lets do this!
So here we are, many years later. Our belts so tight we can’t breath, the pennies are gone and we have shoes to buy for our kids. There’s a hole in the roof and bailiffs at the door. We are not those people you read about. We aren’t smoking 60 fags a day and living off flat screens and Jeremy Kyle. We are you. We are writers and authors, artists, bankers, nurses, cleaners, shop assistants, mental health workers, mothers, fathers, the disabled, teachers and social workers.
We aren’t all trotskyist trolls or lunatics either. We are not the cult of Corbyn, he has had very little to do with any of this. He’s just the first person in a really fucking long time that hasn’t lied to us, he hasn’t patted us on the head and told us to be good and do as we’re told. He’s pissed and so are we. Party of protest? You’re fucking right it’s a protest! We aren’t the unwashed on a jaunt out on a rally. We are everyone, we are the people that tightened our belts, the people that are all in this together. Do you know what happens when people don’t speak up or protest, nothing. Nothing happens.
This isn’t reality TV, the consequences and outcomes are life or death for thousands of people. As I sit here, currently ill and unable to walk properly, propped up by insanely expensive medication, alive because of the NHS, I can’t help think of the looming junior doctors strike.
These people aren’t idiots, they are doctors, with loads of degrees, working on the front line of Tory Britain. Patching us up and sending us back into the world. What we need now is not person in a sharp suit, a slick PR campaign and a glistening smile. We need someone who will weather the storm with us, along side us, we need more than one person to stand up and say no. That is what this is about. More than one person.
These endless articles and rants about Jeremy Corbyn are dull. Is it just me that is a bit stunned at how some people just aren’t getting it? Will the Labour Party implode on itself if Jeremy wins? Maybe. The established way of doing things, the press releases and conferences, the leaked emails and twitter arguments, the dick swinging, it has to stop. These people are employed by us to make our lives collectively better.
I’m no Corbynista, I don’t have a Corbyn T shirt, and emails that start ‘Hi Comrade’ make me want to vomit. I get it, it’s weird and uncomfortable . The language of the left is putting people off, people that actually really need us to fight their corner, so stop that please. We do all need to think about the end game, Jeremy is going to win in less than 3 weeks, if we are going to make this work we have to all come at this and be honest about stuff. The media is a powerful thing, we can’t change that, some in the Labour Party are going to be royally pissed, we can’t change that either. Everything is pretty much entrenched, if we continue on the offensive people will dig in harder, the media, the party and the people. Stop with the Che Corbyn crap, I’m a leftie – but that’s just weird. The rest of the world outside our bubble thinks its weird. We all need to shut up about Corbyn, he has our support, that’s enough. Lets all start talking about what we are going to actually DO, every one of us.
None of this means I have no doubts. I do. I can’t simply brush aside the accusations from quite a few MP’s about how things are currently working, or not working under this new kind of politics. The dismantling of the Roman Empire took several hundred years, and by that I’m not advocating the full on destruction of civilisation. Things have got bad haven’t they though? Like, Philip Green on a yacht with peoples pension money bad. Like, went to war illegally, thousands of people dead, says sorry, every thing is fine again, bad. Politicians have been playing this same game for decades now, they don’t know they are the baddies you know? It’s gonna take a little bit of time, a bit of patience, and someone who’s not only fundamentally decent, but someone who can play the long game for a bit. People will lose their shit, just watch.
Go do your meetings, talking is good, protesting and getting angry is good, but doing is better. Be better, show people rather than shouting at people. Whatever your skill in life is, use it. Social media is there, use it for good not for confirming the rhetoric that has been written for us.
In short, this isn’t about Corbyn, it’s about change. It isn’t about taking down corporations and dismantling capitalism, or even about taking the fight to the Tories, it is far, far bigger than any of that. It’s about the politics of hope. It’s about building a positive, inclusive society. If you’re the kind of person that still has hope left, you’ll be able to see past the spin and the venom and will understand. If you are already battered and jaded, beaten down by years of lies it will be hard to see. I think it’s possible, I’ve seen it, there is still good out there, you just have to grab hold of it tightly and fight for it.