Today, I became a paid member of the Labour Party. Why?
I have one answer: Jeremy Corbyn.
I have supported Labour for a really long time. I carried Ed Miliband’s manifesto pledges in my purse for months. I still have it now. But as much as I like Ed, his policies were, at best, vague. I think he’s a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him, but I never felt completely dedicated to his cause.
For me, Jeremy Corbyn is basically the embodiment of my political beliefs. He’s a leftie, he believes in democratic re-nationalisation of the railways, he is against austerity, he is against tuition fees, he opposes selling arms to dictators, he is against war and nuclear deterrents.
I first became aware of Jeremy on Question Time (around the same time he received the backing of the unions). I was watching it without really paying attention, but I realised this man, whom I’d never seen before, was making a lot of sense. So, as we all do, I Googled him. From that day forward, Jeremy was my number one choice of candidate and someone I followed regularly.
As we are all aware, he went from the 200 / 1 outsider to the front runner with a 59.5% winning majority in the first round alone. His campaign’s 16,000+ volunteers started at the age of 13 and went all the way to 92. His inspiration of grassroots support and the unification of previously disengaged individuals has helped him achieve his victory, and that cannot be denied by even his harshest critics.
After the result, or even during his acceptance speech, shadow cabinet secretaries started resigning or declaring they won’t be serving him on the front bench. I don’t know how Jeremy will unite the clearly ideologically divided MPs within his party, but his political mandate is bigger than anyone in history, and if that doesn’t earn him some respect amongst his fellow MPs, I don’t know what will.
This, of course, leads to the question of Labour 2020. Can they win under Jeremy’s policies? He went from the staunch outsider to the victor by inspiring people like no one else. Why can’t the Labour party do the same? If the policies that Jeremy stands up for are resounding with people, as we’ve seen before with the support for the Greens and the SNP, then why can’t more left-wing governments be a viable option?
Maybe I am living in dreamland. Maybe I’m feeling a bit too giddy after his win. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that no one expected this early on, and no one expects Labour to win in 2020. Let’s change that view and let this victory inspire another one.
Sign up to the Labour party here.