I'm a Tory. I've always been a Tory, I'll more than likely die a Tory. I went to an independent school, bought up in Oxfordshire and belong to an evangelical megachurch. In fact, on the outside, I'm probably what you'd expect from a young Tory voter. I've done my fair share of campaigning and working for the party. I spent two years working in Conservative HQ and clocked up countless miles of campaigning.
I also like Jeremy Corbyn. Correction, I REALLY like Jeremy Corbyn.
During the Labour leadership campaign a lot of Conservative supporters jumped on board with a hashtag campaign, #ToriesForCorbyn. Designed to 'install Corbyn as Labour's leader' it played on a cocky and arrogant assumption that Conservative majority would be forever if the Labour Party elected some 'pinko pensioner' to power.
This campaign reached my inbox. It then lead me to read and think. Leading me to become a Tory that genuinely liked Corbyn.
Now this wasn't, as some expect, because I think he would be a weak leader giving us a permanent Tory majority. No, it was because I read about Corbyn and his policies and liked a large amount of what I heard. Not enough to turn me to the red side, but enough to be frustrated at the cheap attacks from my former colleagues and friends.
Jeremy Corbyn has genuinely ushered in a new style of politics, one that I hankered for and one that I had hoped the Cameron administration could deliver. I sat there watching PMQ's as Cameron got started in opposition and cheered at the idea we would see an end to 'Punch and Judy politics'. I also got excited when the Conservatives recently announced they would be the workers party and party of the NHS. Then along came Corbyn.
This mild mannered man that I had never heard of before swept to a legitimate democratic victory to be leader of his party. There was no doubt that the Labour voters wanted him. In fact Britain seemed to want him. 251,000 people put their voice behind his.
Corbyn began to speak and I began to listen.
PMQs with questions from the public. Finally, less of the pre-written jokes and slagging off that we get from the 'no Punch and Judy' Tory front bench or the Miliband Mili-tants before.
Challenging China on Human Rights issues. Is that really considered a controversial thing to do?
Better conditions for paternity leave. Who doesn't want that?
A genuine sense of concern and humanity towards foreign people and those whose homes are now occupied by jihadists. Sounds pretty alright to me.
What about the controversial viewpoints he holds?
No, I don't think that we should scrap the Trident nuclear deterrent. I think we need it. Should we be standing shoulder to shoulder with the boycott-Israel lobby? I'd prefer not. What about his tax hikes and spending plan that seems to have a huge black hole? Yeah, not a fan of that either. Remember I said I was a Tory?
I'm not likely to be voting for Labour anytime soon. I'll be campaigning for Zac Goldsmith during the mayoral campaign next year. But I will also enjoy having Jeremy Corbyn as the Leader of the Opposition.
As a Conservative, I care about my country. I love it. I think Corbyn does to. That's why he has decided to give us all a voice in PMQs and not subject the nation to terrible jokes.
When I open papers, Conservative-led blogs, my friend's social media posts, I get depressed. Attack after attack on the man.
'Will Corbyn join the Privy-Council?' Turns out yes, earlier then Cameron did. 'Will Britain-hating Corbyn bow at the cenotaph?' yes, respectfully. 'But he didn't bow enough, the pinko Britain hater'.
The more I read views like that the more I grow to like the man. He doesn't react, he doesn't hit out with cheap comebacks. He just gets on with campaigning and voting for what he believes. I don't want to be patronising but to me Corbyn is a lovely chap that I'd have a pint with any day (and the invitation is there). Like the harmless grandfather who wouldn't hurt anyone, he has some 'out there views'. But he is also a democrat, who lets people vote.
I don't agree with Corbyn on most of what he says. But I agree with him on one big thing. Britain needs a debate, we need to change some things. I think we need Jeremy Corbyn.
Though I'd prefer he stay in opposition.Suggest a correction