Have you noticed how alike Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach are? Both are somewhat reticent, unassuming people, plain speaking, with no airs and graces and utterly lacking in pomposity. That said, it would be a grave mistake to think of either man as weak, they are both robust in their views and deeply experienced in their chosen courses in life.
In a world dominated by the culture of celebrity, in which the desire to be famous is more important than having anything of substance to offer, what the world needs more than ever is substance, a three course home cooked meal instead of a take-out burger and fries.
One of the accusations against Corbyn is that he is not Prime Minister material and I wonder what that means? Perhaps David Cameron and Theresa May might look like Prime Minister material (if you like that sort of thing), but that is about as far as it goes, form without substance.
I met Jeremy in Plymouth at one of his leadership rallies, the quiet man who was taking the country by storm, something he has now very successfully done twice to become leader of the Labour party with the kind of majority most politicians can only dream of. He was in a small back hall with the toilet facilities just behind, for those of us for whom quick access has become a necessity, and he seemed rather shy, tolerant of the attention, but not seeking it. The kind of guy who would rather do the job and leave the attention to others. And I think therein lies much of what draws people to him, he’s the quiet interesting one, without flamboyance or sham.
Looking back and the picture I have with him, I feel that we were both somewhat shy and, of course, strangers, but for this stranger, I was pleased to meet him and, despite that he had a room full of hundreds of people waiting for him, glad he took the time to say hello and have our picture taken.
When he came on stage, he greeted those on the platform warmly, in no way playing to the crowd, and nothing of the big ‘I am’ about him. He began his speech my thanking all those who had made the meeting possible, including the volunteers without whom it simply wouldn’t and couldn’t have happened.
The ridiculous term, Corbynistas, used to denigrate and dismiss both Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him, is a fatuous term which deliberately and wilfully attempts to undermine the warmth and engagement that so unassuming a man inspires. To use the expression from the ‘Last Leg’, he’s not a dick, something that cannot be said about many of his detractors.
This is a guy who rides a bike, loves his allotment, does not seek the limelight for its own sake, and yet at 67 years old manages to be an MP with all its attendant duties, be leader of the Labour party, and even more attendant duties, and attend protests and rallies the length and breadth of Britain. I am 66 and how he does it I will never know. I used to barely manage a letter a day to number 10, kinda gives you a perspective don’t it?
What this country needs is not a leader but an enabler and we need policies not posturing. Both Cameron and May had/have the pretensions of leadership and think much of themselves whilst delivering misery on an epic scale. What we need now is to get our country back on its feet, that cannot come from one man, just as the NHS did not just come from Aneurin Bevan, he was the enabler, the people delivered and have been delivering ever since, even whilst it is being stolen from us. We need a team player and a doer, not grandiosity, empty bombastic pronouncements and the exclusivity of privilege and greed. We need someone who is more comfortable with his sleeves rolled up than wearing a Savile Row suit costing several grand as Cameron did, someone who is at home with dirt under his finger nails, and yet is smart without pretension when the job requires it.
That may not suit those who seek power for powers sake, and sell us down the river, but that’s what I want as an ordinary bloke, a voter, and someone who believes in democracy, not demagoguery.
And that’s why I’ll be voting Labour on June 8th.
KOG. 25 April 2017