“Jeremy Corbyn? Who’s he?”
What? You mean you don’t soak up all the language and broadcasting of the political class? Don’t you watch the news, QT, Daily Politics, Newsnight? You don’t read the papers? You don’t know who Laura Kuenssburg or Andrew Neil are? Political. Brain. Can. Not. Compute.
It’s hard to realise when you’re tucked safely in your politico bubble but to yer man and woman on the street, politics is neither engaging nor inviting. Messages do not get through easily and to many, Labour is still just devious old New Labour as opposed to a fresh and invigorating new Old Labour.
On Newsnight a couple of nights ago, I listened to a Burnley woman tell the reporter that she’d stopped listening after the fated Brown years. This echoed what I heard whilst out leafleting for Momentum. Passers-by told me that they were once traditional Labour supporters but they had switched off before Jezza babes had even been elected.
That’s the inconvenient truth for the political establishment. Large swathes of the general public just don’t know who he is or what he stands for. Or if they do, it’s because they have heard that the PLP and the media dinosaurs hate him, ergo he must be awful. One woman told me he had to go. I asked her why she felt that way. His policies? His leadership skills? She pointed to his lack of leadership as highlighted by the vitriol within elements of his own party. However, when we actually got chatting, she detailed how passionate she was about affecting change in society. Bottom up, grassroots action. I told her that is exactly what Corbyn stands for. She was taken aback. The sheer hatred from within the PLP and the mainstream media had drowned out any positive message from getting to her.
There are undoubtedly millions who are ready for a shake up in English politics. If Corbyn’s message is allowed to get out there, it might just be more popular than the comfy political establishment are willing to accept.