95% of the time this is a music and poetry blog. Sometimes though, it diverts into other things. This is one of those times, normal service will return when I’m back from a charity trip to Romania on the 27th, but before I leave for the airport I need to write about Jeremy Corbyn.
I was one of the thousands upon thousands of people who voted for the inspiring left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn to become the new leader of Labour. He won almost 60% (the guy who came second got 19%). He lives and breathes socialism and social justice. I saw him speak at the anti austerity demo in London a few months ago and was so impressed I knew he was the one to lead Labour to victory in 2020. But….but…but
The media onslaught against him is in full-swing, I won’t bother to go into it, but the usual things about him being dangerous, a threat to British family life and society, unelectable, scruffy (?), unpatriotic (he’s a republic and didn’t, gasp!, sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain remembrance service) and he’s actually secretly a rich kid who went to public school (big deal, so did I!). The last few days here in England there’s been this onslaught, and it’s worse that Corbyn seems to be completely unprepared and unable to handle what’s going on. The last few days he’s had no-one to advise him how to handle the press, and simply his team use facebook and twitter to bemoan the mainstream media and get more “likes” from those of us long converted to the cause.
Sadly, this approach isn’t going to work. He didn’t go on Andrew Marr (a big political show) so millions of people who have no idea who he really is, instead they see a clip of him not talking to journalists, another of him not singing and they draw their own conclusions. He used prime minister questions to ask questions his supporters sent in, a nice idea as a one-off, but Cameron didn’t care and PMQ’s lacked the usual excitement and unpredictability. People say he’s new, he’s finding his feet, and of course this is true. I worry if he doesn’t get a handle on the media, the message of who he is will be a distorted hysterical view supported by all those Media Blairites and Cameron’s pals in the Murdoch press.
It’s a shame, because Corbyn can so easily win the 2020 election, he is charming, friendly, principled and spent his lifetime campaigning for a fairer and more equal world. It would be awful if all this is lost by the hysterics whipped up by the Tory’s and Daily Mail that he’s a “loony lefty”.When people go to vote they aren’t going to think of how Corbyn has a caring and soft heart, they’re going to think he’s a friend of terrorists because that’s the lie they’ve been fed by the media. It’s up to Labour to unite behind their leader and get the truth out. Politics is a messy crazy world.
There’s still time, but I worry because I just read his team have finally hired a press secretary who seems to hate the mainstream media and thinks facebook is the only way to communicate. This simply isn’t true. I think it’s down to people like the hugely talented and admirable new Deputy PM Tom Watson to make sure Labour can adapt to Corbyn, but that they can communicate their desire for social justice and equality to the British public. Posting on facebook to the already-converted simply won’t cut it.