No speechifying, no sound bites, no dire jokes belittling his opponents
Standing with fellow wildlife lovers at a small demonstration in all-Tory Dorset, our conversation turned to Jeremy Corbyn and the interest he is generating among all walks of life. Not that your average wildlife enthusiast is that much of a political animal. But most people aren’t until government policies attack or seek to destroy what they care about.
This conversation has happened again and again since Corbyn was elected as the new leader of the Labour party. Wherever one is, if Corbyn’s name is mentioned the conversation perks up and everyone has something to say.
Why has he generated such interest? It is not as though people regard him as the new Messiah. Yes, people relate to his obvious integrity, his genuine common man touch, and his wish to make politics a serious issue and not a shouting match, but it is not that which draws people.
It is what he is saying that chimes, and how he says it. “He’s saying what I want to hear.” “He’s putting forward policies that I believe in.” “I actually understand what he’s saying – it makes sense.”
It becomes ever clearer how plain his speaking is, no speechifying, no sound bites, no dire jokes belittling his opponents, when you compare it to some of the government rubbish we’ve had to wade through recently. In fact, for collectors of gobbledygook this is a rich and rewarding time.
We’ve been dismayed by the baying circus of Prime Minister’s Questions and the spectacle of David Cameron failing to answer the same question six times in a row. We’ve been unsurprised by the arrogant and inward looking politics that Westminster offers.
We have all heard seasoned Westminster-speak on the Today programme, the Andrew Marr show or PM with Eddie Mair. Whatever question is asked, out comes the well-rehearsed statement. They appear simply to make that one prepared statement. Nothing else is on offer. They will not discuss alternative views, let alone look at the gaping black holes in their position. Just repeat often enough what the government wants the public to believe, and sooner or later we will all give up and go away, us and our pesky questions.
Joe Public is picking up on this. He may or may not join the Labour Party but… Despite the sneering and backstabbing, and the plans to oust Corbyn, the kind of politics he is offering takes the public seriously. Our opinions, the people’s opinions, aims and desires matter. And it really is about time the Parliamentary Labour Party recognised that.
And some of us don’t give up. Indeed, we go to the trouble of taking part in ‘public consultations’ which have been mostly hidden from view. And how annoying it must be when, as in the 2010 consultation on the proposed badger culling plans, over 59,000 of us sent in our submissions.
How to combat such threatening waves of democracy?
“It is a deep honour to be elected as our party’s new leader. The honour is not about holding office – it is about the opportunity to serve each and every one one of you in the fight to get a better government for our country”.
Those who voted for him were thanked for putting their faith in him and their commitment to building a better future.
The hope was expressed that those who didn’t, will develop trust in and support his leadership in the coming months:
“The Labour Party is the joint endeavour of each and every one of us. I want to use your talents to make us stronger, and I want to represent you.
”Whoever you supported, we must come together to serve the millions of people who desperately need a Labour government.
“So, help me to be your representative. When I stand at the despatch box for Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, I want to be your voice.