Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn visits Birmingham! (6/6/17)

In few places does Labour's current slogan 'for the many not the few seem to apply more than at one of Jeremy Corbyn's rallies. People of all races and ages came down to watch him talk in Birmingham. Jeremy Corbyn is a true man of the people. The size and variety of the crowd that came down to watch him speak reflects that. The atmosphere reminded me more of a music festival than a political rally. As groups of people danced together waving 'Vote Labour' placards to hits by The Jam, Blur, Cypress Hill and even Rage against the Machine's 'Killing in the name'.
The compère for this event was the actor and comedian Steve Coogan. Who gave a passionate speech backing Labour's manifesto when not introducing the other speakers and performers. He managed to be funny and serious in equal measure, gaining laughs from the crowd from his jabs at the conservative party. He pointed out that "we all want young people to go out and vote, but you won't read anything about it on the Conservative website... because they know there's nothing in the manifesto for them... they want to to take the houses of old people and they want to saddle the young people with debt". He also joked that Theresa May is not "Margaret Thatcher mark 2, she has the charisma of a pancake" and branded Boris Johnson as "the Tories clown, except he's not that funny"
Of all the bands I would have expected to back Labour the last I would have expected was Clean Bandit. Personally I've always disliked Clean Bandit and found their music both boring and annoying in equal measure. Yet they've won my respect by playing a short set of their three biggest hits, Real Love, Rather be and Rockabye. Clean Bandit's cellist Grace Chatto explained that rather than just being a huge pop smash 'Rockabye' is also a song about "single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet... it tells the story of one woman who is forced to take desperate measures in order to feed her child". "We believe in the basic principle that every child deserves a shot at a good life".
The next guest speaker to be introduced by Steve Coogan was local hero Saffiyah Khan. A photo of the student staring down a member of the EDL by The Birmingham Library has been shared around the world, making her an unlikely symbol in the fight against racism. Saffiyah is voting for the very first time on Thursday and she has decided to vote Labour. She might not be the best at public speaking but her reasons for supporting Labour wre met with cheers from the already converted crowd. "We reject the idea that we should set one generation against the other, we don't need to have grandparents and grandchildren competing for resources".
Jeremy Corbyn's appearance was met with a rockstars welcome. Unlike the carefully prepared speeches from other parties Jeremy's speech came completely from the heart, seemingly unscripted, with all the pauses and breaks of normal conversation but with fiery passion and a deep echo on his voice that gave the impression of a canyon like space. His opening lines were thanking the other guest speakers and everyone for being there, while stirring up cheers for all the other Labour rallies happening simultaneously over the country. Jeremy paints a bleak vision of poverty and inequality over the next five years if the Conservative party is elected. Citing homelessness, over crowded class rooms and NHS waiting lists as problems that all need to be solved before they can get any worse.
He countered this by pledging to give 30 hours a week free childcare for parents every week, and that "A Labour government will properly fund our primary schools so the headteachers wont have to have collections at the school gate". He argues his plan to allow every child to learn a musical instrument by saying "In children there is the most wonderful sense of imagination, and creativity, lets let that imagination flow". Jeremy believes that we can all benefit from his plans to aid young people who want to learn and study at university, "When you invest in young people you invest for the future of all of us". He pledges to run the "fundamental free right for all" NHS properly, "We won't leave a million people waiting for social care".
Jeremy also has an answer for his critics. "People say to me that all this is a wish-list, no, it's not. it's a program, its an agenda, and you know what? we are going to carry it out out". His speech was so full of highlights that it can hardly be fit into a blog so I urge you to watch the video of the event below. While the sun may have been out for Clean Bandit's pop tunes the weather changed to cold and wet for Jeremy's speech. He hardly seemed to notice as the rain formed a double rainbow by the stage. after Jeremy had finished talking the crowd chanted his name as if demanding an encore. Instead we got 90's britpop band The Farm playing their hit "all together now" as the festival feeling returned and the crowd dissipated and those who stayed, danced to The Farm and the follow up DJ set of more 90's tunes.

Watch  the full video at https://www.facebook.com/labourparty/

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