TWO years ago, when Labour members and the famous Ed Miliband £3-ers were asked why they were voting for Jeremy Corbyn to be the next leader of the party, many said something along the lines that he didn’t rely on soundbites and said what he thought… and this in turn would connect with both the young and those who had been turned off by politics.
Corbyn’s carefree style enabled him to stand out against Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, who at the time seemed so gripped by the fear that saying the wrong thing would ruin their golden chance of winning. The same mock-me-all-you-like-but… style also saw Corbyn outflank Owen Smith in that mess of a coup the following year. Liz Kendall to her credit did say what she thought, it’s just only 4.5 percent agreed with her.
Now with Corbyn apparently at least making a game of the general election – if you believe the polls that is – you can read almost exactly the same sentiment about the Labour leader’s straight-talking, two whole years on, in the view of Calum Campbell, Alastair’s son, in a piece for the Guardian.
He writes how he is now enthusiastically voting for Corbyn:
What has attracted voters to Corbyn in the last month is the fact that he comes across as a human being. He doesn’t sound like a robot reading from an Autocue. My favourite Corbyn line is that we can learn from everyone, regardless of circumstance…
He has won respect for his resilience in the face of constant personal attacks, refusing to retaliate in kind. Theresa May, on the other hand, has invested her whole campaign in a meaningless soundbite, “strong and stable”, while arrogantly refusing to debate alongside the other party leaders. What is she going to be like in front of 27 EU member states if she lacks the courage to share a stage with a so-called weak Jeremy Corbyn?
When May called the election I believed the Tories would secure a landslide. It looks like I was wrong. A combination of Corbyn’s ability to connect with ordinary people, desperation for change and May’s complacency have transformed perceptions in the course of a month.
Those who were backing Corbyn from the start welcome any praise of their main man and so some of the Campbell tribe’s neighbours were not knocking this piece when I spoke to a few of them today. Some of them simply took issue with the timing of Corbyn’s sudden appeal to disbelievers like Calum, and who the guilty are when he writes about people delivering ‘constant personal attacks’.
“Maybe in the last month, as young Calum puts it, Corbyn has been more impressive because everybody in the party is pulling for the same cause – beating the Tories, rather than beating Corbyn,” one Camden Corbynista said. “Imagine where we’d have been if we’d had two years of such solidarity, rather than four weeks.”