Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Corbynmania: Jeremy tells it like it is!

Corbynmania: Jeremy tells it like it is!

By Eric Hill
Retired Members' Secretary
islington UNISON

“He tells it as it is!”—“He believes what he says and says what he believes!”—“What you see is what you get!” These are some of the reasons why Jeremy Corbyn stood out from the other candidates for the leadership of the Labour Party—was so completely different from them—and why he is now the new leader. Jeremy represents the core Labour values needed to build a fairer society. His anti-austerity message inspired people and restored their faith that a better way was possible—and, with a majority Tory Government in power, we need Labour to reconnect with its roots.

Across Britain the injustices are plain to see. The City has gone back to making money for itself as if nothing had happened, the use of food banks is soaring, child poverty is on the rise and the gap between the rich and poor has widened enormously. However what did the other candidates for the leadership do when faced with the Tory’s brutal and vindictive welfare cuts? They all took the absurd stance of abstaining—a position which now has to be seen as even more absurd and indeed deplorable given the perversely named Work and Pensions Secretary Duncan Smith’s deliberate attack on the sick and disabled in his recent further attack on benefits. This is the man who punched the air when Osborne announced £12 billion worth of welfare cuts in the last budget Jeremy on the other hand did the natural and right thing. He voted against the Tories!!

During his campaign he packed meetings up and down the land—with lots of people passionately discussing politics for the first time. Young people have had their imagination fired again. The Tories offer only fear. Fear of welfare cuts, fear of austerity, fear of the endless erosion of public services and quality of life. Jeremy offers a vision of hope that there can be a better future.

Why did Labour do so badly at the last General Election? In my view a major reason was that the Labour leadership decided that the best way to replace a vindictive, anti-trade union, anti-working class government was to copy them. The Tories argued for even more welfare cuts than had already been implemented by the previous government. They argued for continued austerity—but not for their rich fellow travellers. The Labour leadership also argued for cuts and austerity—only over a longer period of time. Austerity light as opposed to austerity heavy. They did not offer a real alternative to the Tories—an alternative that would protect public services; that said there was another way other than austerity; that protected the working class rather than attacking them. It is clear from the crowds and support that Jeremy drew during his campaign that people did want an alternative to the Tories—not a pale imitation. Jeremy will certainly provide that.

Jeremy wants to end austerity. He wants to change the welfare state in a way that actually makes it fairer. He wants to use growth to move the country out of the deficit. He wants to get rid of Trident and use that money to move toward a fairer society. He wants to close the widening gap between the rich and the poor. These are just some of the issues that Jeremy as leader wants to address. Under his leadership the Labour Party WILL regain its core Labour values. It WILL connect with its roots.  He will fight to make the Labour Party a real alternative to the Tories—something the working class need and want. It is clear from the numbers who came to his meetings during his campaign; the enthusiasm there was for his views on the way forward; the message of hope that emanated from what he had to say that under his leadership the Labour Party CAN become electable again. 


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