Redbrick: Count on Corbyn, evade ‘the greasy grasp of the elite’
RedbrIck Comment writers Becci Griffiths and Isabel Morris explain why the Labour party is more popular than ever before and why Corbyn has the public’s support
‘Donald Trump will never become the republican nominee’. ‘Brexit will never happen’. ‘Jeremy Corbyn will never be Prime Minister’. Two of these things, against the odds, happened this year.
Wake up world
Trends in recent political events show that the public are angry. Acts of political defiance and rebellion are no longer the anarchy we used to associate it with, but instead take of the form of Donald Trump and Brexit. The sheer doubt of both Brexit and Trump indicates the volume of the disenfranchisement surrounding conventional politics today. Brexit has proven that the British electorate are feeling increasingly isolated, with an attempt to take their country back from the greasy grasp of the elite.
Corbyn actively fights to combat this, striving for a return to honest and authentic politics. This was perfectly illustrated in his first Prime Minister’s Questions as Labour leader. This weekly affair is a notoriously ineffective method of scrutinising the government that typically descends into egotistical chaos. Corbyn changed this. He used PMQs as an opportunity to make politics about the people again, utilising this time not to exchange petty blows or schoolboy insults, but to hold the Tory government accountable.
The rising popularity of Jeremy Corbyn is best illustrated by the number of new members that have joined the Labour Party since he was first elected as Leader of the Opposition. Membership has reached over half a million, the largest in history, with 100,000 of these members joining after the EU referendum. Membership of all political parties as of July 2016 was under one million, meaning Labour have approximately half of all party members. And yes, party members do not represent an electorate, but they do represent campaigners; enthusiastic members of the public ready to persuade the British people to vote against austerity, inequality and social injustice.
A distressing disconnect between party and policy
A recently published YouGov survey revealed that 45% of people support an increase public spending and a raise in taxes for the wealthiest (both Labour policies), compared to 13% who are happy with the current level of spending cuts, and 22% who want cuts to be continued but reduced. However the poll still showed that 30% of participants thought the Conservatives had the best policies on taxation and public spending compared to 16% for Labour. A ‘strong economy’ is often associated with a conservative government. This poll proves that although the public prefer the economic policies proposed by Labour, their idea of a perfect economy is still associated with the conservatives, displaying a distressing disconnect between party and policy. How are we, the British public, ever going to vote in our own interests if we continue to dismiss the party actively trying to improve our socio-economic position?
Another investigation, from the London School of Economics, revealed that since his first day as Leader of the Opposition, Corbyn has been attacked unfairly by the British media. In one month alone, 75% of press articles ‘failed to accurately report his views’. This is because in the media today we see an undeniable right wing bias. Negative stories about Corbyn and his apparent unelectability are constant. A belief in Corbyn is undermined and as a result, the depiction of Corbyn as anything but a threat to the established government permeates society. But the fact is, Corbyn is a huge threat. He will take the power from the elites and give it righteously back to the people.
Ultimately, Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air in the stale politics of today. Rhetoric surrounding Labour creates an illusion of an incompetent party, when in actual fact the public actively support Corbyn’s policies but are blinded by assumptions, prejudices and ignorance. Love him or hate him, Jeremy Corbyn is changing the politics of today. He is a man of the people, his policies are strong, and the team of affiliates, members, and MPs behind him is growing.