Something special is happening up and down the country. The ground is swelling.
In spite of the best efforts of the mainstream media to denigrate Jeremy Corbyn and the policies of the Labour party, the message is getting through – or rather, around. Blogs, social media, word of mouth, combined with the fact that the BBC has no choice but to give some unfiltered airtime to Corbyn and his exceptional front-bench team, mean the word is getting out there.
You’ll see very little of what follows on BBC News or other outlets. Maybe a quick, snatched clip with a scornful voiceover if you’re lucky. But you’ll find it here and else where – and you have the opportunity to help take back our country for the many, not the few.
In Tory-held constituencies as well as in ‘Labour heartlands’, the message of Labour’s policies and vision for a better society is drawing people out in huge numbers.
Theresa May busses in 40 or 50 people – or employees are told they’re going to listen while she drones on with her obsessive, focus-group mantra. And they look like they’re rather be having teeth pulled:
Corbyn, on the other hand, is mobbed wherever he goes – even in the small village of Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley constituency, which until Parliament was dissolved had a Tory MP and only one Labour MP in its 34-year history:
Here’s Corbyn in Leeds – in a crowd so big that finding him is like solving a ‘Where’s Wally’ puzzle:
Here’s a small part of the crowd for Corbyn in Tory heartland Warwick and Leamington:
The BBC correspondent’s bemused expression speaks volumes even if the crowd isn’t properly on show:
This is Corbyn in York, a city and area not known as traditional hotbeds of socialist fervour:
And here, being treated like a rock star at the RCN Conference by nurses who know the only hope for the NHS lies in a Labour government and recognise in Corbyn a man who can be trusted to keep his promises:
Why is this happening? Is it just a ‘personality cult’? No, if you want that you need to look at the Tories, whose every poster, letter and campaign banner exhorts you to support Theresa May, while the Conservative Party logo is tiny or even absent, like this wraparound in Weaver Vale:
Sadly for the Tories, May seems incapable of fulfilling the role, which explains why her campaign consists of such bizarre, insulated appearances – often in empty factories.
And on the rare occasions when her keepers are stung into letting her interact with actual people, it’s a disaster – whether online or in person. Her Facebook Live session can only fairly be described as a car crash. The emoticons are as eloquent as the comments:
While even the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg couldn’t completely ignore a disabled woman tearing into May during a rare appearance on the (uncrowded) streets, in what many are terming May’s ‘Gillian Duffy moment’ in an echo of Gordon Brown’s disastrous 2010 encounter – although on the televised version only a couple of seconds of the lady’s questions were shown – and not the most vital parts:
May’s personal disaster is a bleak contrast to Corbyn’s ease and humanity with his huge crowds, but it’s far more than just a question of personal charm.
It’s the policies.
The leak last week of Labour’s draft manifesto served only to increase its reach and the excitement it generated. And no wonder. The manifesto is the boldest challenge to the status quo seen since Labour’s creation of the NHS and the ‘cradle to grave’ welfare state – and people believe that Corbyn means it. They don’t believe May.
Here are just a few of the highlights of a document that has stirred the country far more than any traditionally-launched party manifesto:
If you’re working for a living, it contains a stunning breadth of measures designed to protect you and your family and to make your life better and more secure:
Unlike the Tories’ weak and vague promises, it’s all fully costed, too:
By contrast, when the Tories’ Michael Fallon – almost the only person allowed in front of a camera apart from May – was challenged by Andrew Marr about the funding of their defence spending,his answer ‘from economic growth’was too much for Marr to let pass without ridicule:
Almost everything else – well, the very little that the Tories have tried to tempt us with – is ‘from existing funding’, such as the Tories’ housebuilding pledge. In other words, emaciated public services will be starved even further – or, more likely, the promises will be conveniently forgotten as soon as they’ve served their purpose.
Like Theresa May’s promise to put workers on company boards – or not to call a General Election before 2020.
The wheels are coming off the Tory bandwagon. The tricks, dodges and supine media that fooled people in 2015 have lost much of their effectiveness.
We’re seeing through the emperor’s new clothes to the naked, mangy reality underneath. Getting wise to the sleight of hand and illusion. And recognising reality when we see it. That’s why people are turning out in huge numbers across the country to see Jeremy Corbyn on the campaign trail.
But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Or the crest of the groundswell if you prefer.
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