By Neil Martin.
…but you wouldn’t believe it if you read the papers or watched TV. According to research done by The Independant, 75% of our press coverage on Jeremy Corbyn; Labour’s democratically elected leader (need I remind you, elected with one of the hugest mandates in history), misrepresents him. I like stats, so here’s another – between 15% and 20% of articles about Jeremy Corbyn, published in the Sun, Telegraph and Express constantly associate him with terrorist groups. Don’t forget anti-Semitism either – not a day goes by when there isn’t someone coming out of the woodwork to bang that drum. Now, as a non-practicing Jew, I find the way in which my race is being used as a political football to score goals against a man and more importantly a political movement I wholeheartedly support, to be deeply offensive. And so do these Jews.
So that sets the stage – we have this split of realities at the moment; On the one hand, the mainstream, mostly right-wing media and their deliberately desperate attempt to skew the perception of what’s happening, telling us we have a ridiculous, unelectable leader. But then, if you put the papers down, switch off the TV and walk outside, perhaps have a look on social media or talk to friends and colleagues, something very different is afoot. I’ve been contacted by ex colleagues that I haven’t heard from in years – they told me they joined the Labour Party. I asked them why – they said they wanted to support Jeremy Corbyn. Many of my old school friends are also in support. These are people, who like me, had no interest in politics until about a year ago. What happened about a year ago? Oh yes, a leadership contest in the Labour Party… Funny that. Looking at our own membership, we’ve seen nearly 100 new members join our CLP in June alone! Before Ed Miliband resigned, we had been at a steady 50 or so members for the previous 5 years. In a year, our membership has increased by around 600%! We’re living in a middle class affluent area where Labour get less than 15% of the vote share. What?!
And then there’s everything else that’s happened since Jeremy’s election as leader. The PLP resignations and motions of no confidence. Angela Eagle’s rise and fall. The NEC having to meet to decide if the incumbent leader even has a place on the ballot (our own rules seem to be difficult to understand). A certain wealthy donor, Mr Foster ploughing his wealth into a High Court challenge against the NEC’s desicion, that was thrown out. Carefully planted anti-Corbyn hecklers by a certain PR company. A brick through a window of the building that housed Angela Eagle’s office (first we were told it was one of her office windows, then it turns out it was a stairwell window and most likely an attempted burglary or act of random vandalism) – no evidence or proof whatsoever that it was anything to do with those who back Jeremy Corbyn, but the media were all over it – this kind of ‘mobs with pitchforks’ mentality is reckless and dangerous. We have a mature society with due process when it comes to crime and justice. What the hell is going on?
And breathe, Neil… Stress is bad for you. Let’s step back into reality. This is about a fundamental change in the way politics works in this country. Label it what you want; socialism, loony left, Corbynista, whatever (and use those labels as insults, why not, if it makes you feel better?). It’s happening and the establishment, along with its media can’t deal with it, just like a stubborn toddler (believe me, I’ve raised four). To quote an astronomer I admire, Sir Patrick Moore, “It’s like trying to throw a baked bean at a rhinoceros that’s charging at you.” He was talking about a comet headed for a collision with Jupiter in 1994. Every negative article, interview or news piece can be seen through. People are intelligent and savvy; they aren’t falling for it, they’re checking facts through other sources and they’re questioning what they’re being told as they search for the truth. We’re witnessing an awakening and it’s glorious. Change is coming and it’ll be glorious. Fasten your seat-belts folks, it’s going to be quite a ride…
In the mean time, I’d better get back to my 3 year old – he’s got toy cars to make traffic jams with. And my wife is calling me to help put the shopping away. My other son wants me to put a screen protector on his tablet and my disabled mum has a problem with her TV. Then tomorrow, it’s back to working in IT for another week as I try to keep up with the costs of living – there isn’t anything left to save up with at the end of each month once the rent and bills have been paid, not to mention the cost of commuting by train (my thoughts about the train operator I use are the subject for another time). It’s hard to find time for politics, I tell you, but Jeremy and more importantly, the movement he stands for is worth finding the time for.
Neil works as an IT Specialist (Apple Mac Infrastructure) and IT Trainer in the Higher Education sector. He’s also Digital Media Secretary for the Rayleigh and Wickford CLP. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter via @neilmartin83.