Jeremy Corbyn has been an MP for 36 years. Until 4 years ago he was a little known backbencher, a member of a very small minority of Labour Party MPs who were proud to call themselves socialists.
When elected Labour Party leader in 2015, he was a rank outsider having barely scrapped through the threshold MP nominations with only 5 minutes to spare. It is widely understood that many of the MPs who nominated Corbyn only did so as they thought it would boost the popularity of the other candidates. They were wrong. The membership was ready for a complete change in direction. Against all the odds, Corbyn was elected leader in the first round.
He immediately declared Labour an uncompromisingly anti-austerity Party. Remember how the 2015 General Election had been fought on an austerity-light ticket? Our losing that election brought us 4 extra years of Tory cuts with the associated damage to our economy, ever deepening destruction of our public services and untold harrowing, human suffering.
But with years of campaigning Labour’s success in exposing austerity as ‘an ideological choice not an economic necessity’ has forced the Tories to dramatically change tact. With the coming General Election the Tories are now running scared trying to convince the country they will now become the hand that giveth; eager to spend and invest in our schools in our police service and our NHS. They have conveniently found that money tree they had mocked Labour about and denied existed.
This is transparently hollow electioneering with no substance. A shameful sham. The bluff and bluster of untrustworthiness. After years of making it obvious to everyone whose interests they were actually serving, the Tories are now posing as being on the side of working people. But look all around. Where’s the evidence? It’s clear to see that in 9 years of Tory rule the country has been brought to its knees whilst achieving grotesque and obscene levels of inequality. The money tree was always there. But it was hidden away in the Cayman Islands.
Enough. Another world is possible. This message from Jeremy Corbyn gives a flavour of the sort of country we could become.
“Throughout my political career, I have always stood up for a country that delivers for the many not the few. Now, Labour is leading a movement based on equality, social justice and compassion to build a Britain we can all be proud of.
The Conservatives’ choices in government show that they are the party of privilege and the very richest. I’m proud that the Labour Party, founded for and by working people, continues to stand up for working people.
When Labour wins elections, it is the people and not the powerful who win. The nurse, the teacher, the small trader, the builder, the office worker, the student, the carer win. We all win.
Britain needs a Labour government that is prepared to fight for people up and down this country. Our Labour government won’t be scared to take on the powerful, who hoard our country’s wealth for themselves. Britain needs a government that will invest in people in every community to build a better future for every single person.
Politics is about choices. We need a Labour government that will choose the people over the powerful – no more giveaways to the super-rich while the rest of us face less money in our pockets and cuts to our NHS, schools, police and all the services we rely on.
Whether that’s building homes, investing to upgrade our economy or championing our public services, these policies represent the Labour values that I have always fought for and the values which are in our country’s proudest traditions.
Together, we can build an economy worthy of the 21st Century and a country for the many, not the few”.
Eastbourne Labour Party/Article for Eastbourne Voice