Today is October 12th, exactly one month after Jeremy Corbyn was announced as the new leader of the Labour party. It’s been a series of ups and downs, so here are some of my personal high – and low – lights.
I think seconds passed before the media turned on Jeremy. Sandwich-gate is one of my favourite headlines – and yes, this was headline news on September 15th, until the next day, when it was the first PMQs.
I think at this point, we all realised that desperation had set in. Even supposedly left-of-centre publications have taken to insulting Jeremy and what he’s trying to do. So much for kinder politics with less focus on personality.
Threat to your home!
No sooner had Jeremy been announced as the new leader had the Conservatives started putting together that lovely video, reminiscent of World War Two propaganda, highlighting Jeremy’s Labour Party as a ‘threat’ to, basically, everything you love in the world.
The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2015
Charming. Thanks David.
16 out of 30 of Jeremy’s shadow cabinet are women, which is the highest in history, yet all anyone (cough the media cough) wanted to focus on was the lack of women in the ‘top jobs’. Personally, I think that’s fine. More women than men in the shadow cabinet is great. What made me even happier, however, was the creation of a shadow minister for mental health. Finally, it’s being recognised on a governmental level. *smiley face* And Corbyn’s lack of attendance on the Andrew Marr Show on the Sunday after his victory to attend a mental health awareness event in his own constituency really meant a lot to me too. I understand the role of the media and its importance, but it’s definitely reassuring for me to know that he did not abandon his constituents or the events that are important to him.
Jeremy’s first outing at PMQs certainly changed the tone of the debate. In the days leading up to Question Time, in a whole new style of politics, Jeremy requested questions from the public to put to David Cameron, and received tens of thousands. Yes, the repetitive nature of the name-dropping was not the most entertaining aspect, but immediately you could tell that it had an impact. David Cameron acted nicer and in the spirit of true democracy, Corbyn let the people dictate the debate. But of course, instating of congratulating a return to people politics, the media said he was boring.
The National Anthem Debate
Talk about front page news! As with most of Jeremy’s political beliefs, his support for a republic has not been hidden away. Yet, his refusal to sing the national anthem at the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain sparked complete outrage amongst the people, the media and other commentators. I mean, if he’d sang it he’d have been called a hypocrite. David Cameron called him a ‘Britain hater’ at the Conservative Party Conference. Oh, and he looked scruffy. He actually can’t win.
From his days as a backbench MP to the leadership campaign, Jeremy could not have been any clearer on his view on the nuclear deterrent, Trident. And, to put it lightly, it’s caused a bit of controversy both within his party and within the media and politicians. Some say that it’s ‘wimpy’ to have a would-be future PM unwilling to ‘push the button’ on nuclear weapons, whereas others have said that his views were clear and people voted for that. It’s certainly been spoken about a lot recently, but with the SNP being so successful with a clear, hard-line on Trident and its removal, it’s certainly not as an extreme view as the media would make it out to be.
I’m not here to comment on the scandal itself, but rather Jeremy’s response. As the leader of the opposition and Cameron’s biggest political rival, Jeremy could have made a joke and got away with it, as did Nigel Farage and Tim Farron. However, in true Corbyn fashion, he said that the media should be ashamed for covering Piggate and not human rights abuses or world peace. Bravo.
The first month has been tainted by media scandals left, right and centre. These are only some of the best and most noteworthy. Not a day passes when there is not some sort of attack on Corbyn, or how he dresses or what he says. It’s quite saddening to be honest. I’ve been really inspired by Jeremy and his successes, and this constant stream of hatred and vitriol just seems petty. Jeremy’s always calling for a kinder politics, and it seems that no matter what he does or says, he’s in the wrong. I think his conviction should be applauded, not attacked. It’s so strange to have a frontline politician who answers questions honestly, with no lies or spin or “yes, no, actually I don’t know but isn’t the long term economic plan working really well?” I just hope that people can rise above the media’s coverage and look at him and his campaign for what it really is: making Britain better.
I’ll leave you with an article from today, discussing Ben Okri’s latest poem, saluting Jeremy’s success. It’s beautiful and it restores hope that things can change.
There’s always a new way
A better way that’s not been tried before.
Have a good day.