Corbyn’s genuine  brand of socialism is winning the hearts of even the staunchest conservatives despite malicious media taunting

Whoever says Jeremy Corbyn isn’t electable has not been to one of his rallies …

In the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford High Street, a glass of water was passed from the hands of the writer and teacher John Pickard, through those of NUS Vice-President Shelly Asquith and MP for Luton North Kelvin Hopkins, before reaching the grasp of the Labour MP for Islington North. ‘Socialism in action’, said Jeremy Corbyn.

Unless you’ve been in a vortex of isolation and doom for the last few months, you’ve probably heard by now that North London’s original Jam-making hustler has already won the hearts of many. With a matter of days now until the results of the Labour Leadership Election are to be announced (with some betting agents reported to have already begun paying-out for bets on a Corbyn victory), I went to Corbyn’s rally in Chelmsford, Essex (his campaign’s ’86th or 87th rally) to see the man who is supposed to be taking the Labour Party into the dark ages, and whose supporters need a ‘transplant’ for believing in the politics of an ‘Alice in Wonderland world’.

Considering that Conservative MP, Greg Clark recently approved the opening of a Beagle farm in Yorkshire which will torture puppies, while Theresa May banned Tyler, the Creator for three to five years for not being conducive to the ‘public good’ and George Osborne announced a further £500 million investment in Trident, it seems to me rather warped that a vegetarian and veteran of the Stop the War Coalition is being branded as a radical ‘fantasy’ by the likes of Tony Blair when the actions of the incumbent Conservative cabinet are cartoon levels of evil.

Corbyn is all for scary things like ‘redistribution of wealth’, and even claims this leadership election is ‘About how we do our politics and what we are trying to achieve within our society’. So, considering the nature of Essex’s voting patterns – where, out of 18 constituencies, there are 17 Conservative and 1 UKIP – this region seems like it wouldn’t (at least on paper) bend over backwards for the proliferation of socialist ideas.

It amazes me that someone like Jeremy Corbyn, who really isn’t anywhere near as radical as is being made out, has created such a chaotic response from the media (in their coverage, Channel 4 have been remarkably entertaining). Without adding anything to obscure the message, these are the policies that I took away from the rally:

Bringing the railways, Royal Mail and energy firms fully into public ownership; disarming Trident missiles; establishing a National Investment Bank; enacting a People’s Quantitative Easing; investment in Mental Health practices and, embarking on a housing programme ‘for people, not for profit’.

There was a clear message of anti-austerity, i.e., that young people and the labour force should not be punished for the mishaps of the corporate world, of free (including higher) education, of the need to act on climate change and to assist with the ‘human crisis’ in both North Africa and the Middle East with the idea of ‘humanism’ in mind.

The beauty of the whole thing is that it doesn’t matter who is filling the left-wing role in the Labour leadership debate, all that matters is that the ideas of public ownership and anti-austerity are being popularised: Corbyn isn’t the star of the show. It doesn’t matter that Corbyn is full of wit and comes across as a nice guy; his policies are what people want to hear. The lady selling books from John Pickard’s shelf at a stall was interviewed by French news networks, the fact they were there shows how important Corbyn’s anti-austerity message is on a global scale. We later spoke and she told me about how excited and engaged in politics she and many of our contemporaries have become by listening to what Jeremy Corbyn has had to say. At the rally Corbyn spoke of solidarity with Bernie Sanders, who also isn’t the reason Americans are engaging with socialist ideals, it’s because the levels of inequality in the Western world are now really spiralling through the roof, affecting more and more lives.

Corbyn’s campaign has both ‘wowed’ Scotland and been crowdfunded as he ‘Will not accept any corporate funding of any sort’. We are now in a time when politics in Britain is dividing people again. Is this a good thing? Unity is normally the way to move forward but with a fierce opposition to the Conservative Government, the next five years (assuming Corbyn does win on the 12th of September) will mean PMQs will become fairly interesting because there will be a proud anti-austerity, anti-war and anti-capitalist leader at the head of the opposition.

When most people hear the word ‘socialism’ these days, they are stunned. ‘Stalin! Gulags! Death!’ This is an illogical connection; the mass slaughter committed by the USSR was Stalinism, not socialism. Today’s Venezuela is not socialism, it is a police state. From Syriza to Podemos, from Corbyn to Saunders, from the Chilean Winter to Rojava in Syria and the Zapatistas in Mexico we are seeing a trend; a rejection of the inherent inequality and unbridled exploitation of the earth and its people in the name of global capitalism. Competition doesn’t always bring out the best in people; if anything it forces us to put ourselves before the needs of the wider collective. We need to drop our Apple Watches and look at what is happening, because with the state of the environment and the segregation of the rich and poor this is a crucial point in modern history.

In The Road to Wigan Pier George Orwell wrote an ode to how socialism is compatible with ‘common decency’ and, at least to me, Corbyn is pretty decent.

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