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Corbyn Has Defied His Critics And Reshaped British Politics

12/06/2017 12:50
Jack Taylor via Getty Images

As dawn broke on Friday morning, Jeremy Corbyn had secured one of Labour's highest vote shares in a generation - only fractions off Labour's '97 landslide. His impressive, emboldened campaign that offered real alternative encouraged a record registration surge, captured the youth vote and made massive gains in an election intended to bury Labour, and destroy progressive, hope-filled politics forever. In doing so, the media and political elite, who had spent almost two years with the misguided narrative that he was somehow 'out of touch,' and a 'hopeless extremist' woke with the shocking realisation that it was they who had called it so drastically wrong. "Who's 'out of touch' now?" I wondered.

In 2016, covering the budget I spoke of the real and pressing need for the type of policy and promise I was adamant Jeremy would make. Britain was crumbling under the strains of austerity with communities, individuals and services crippled by bleak Conservative governance that crushed hope and stunted aspiration. A whole generation of young people had largely abandoned politics with little to interest them under the rigid and extreme-centre inevitability of inequality and war.

In launching Labour's manifesto Corbyn reversed years of neglect overnight and offered policies of mass popularity at the heart of the nation's needs. He instantly inspired a national conversation and response unseen in politics for generations - halls, squares and gigs were suddenly packed with the sight and sound of hopeful Britons and inspired young voices that typified his energised campaign.

Pre snap-election, Corbyn's ratings had inevitably hit rock bottom following constant assault from all corners of the press - most disturbingly from those who should have supported him. In the publications who supposedly believe in pro-people politics, the daily focus and attacks on Corbyn's leadership style consistently outweighed any real criticisms of the sheer damage conservatism was inflicting across Britain. In fact, only The Daily Mirror can claim to have supported Corbyn throughout - that is just one newspaper against Britain's entire established media.

While The Guardian limply offered support a few days prior, even on pre-election night journalists were rushing to denounce him; rushing to distance themselves for self-gain. Marina Hyde, for instance, likened making the choice between May or Corbyn as requiring a 'gun to the head.' She then self-assuredly called for a future Centre-Left leader to 'adopt some of the emotion' Corbyn had apparently used in his campaign. This cold-hearted call for spin, and style over substance failed to recognise the break from Blairite politics and approach that would prove so popular in Corbyn's appeal. Unwittingly, Hyde's metaphor for gun-to-head life and death mirrored the tragic reality some Britons faced as the nation chose between these two very different futures.

The Guardian and other publications' constant assaults on Corbyn will lead to plenty of those who value truth, fairness and an anti-austerity future, to turn away in distrust from the content they assumed and hoped served their interests. In my mind, there is no doubt that the 'Left' helped fuel Corbyn's pre-campaign poll-ratings and actively encouraged the Tory landslide that they apparently so feared. Channel 4's John Snow today spoke of a media out of touch with reality. For the integrity and future of Journalism many such admissions should follow.

We must ask more from the Left-leaning press, because while Jeremy received little or no backing from his own corner; he received fire, accusation and fury from the Right. The flaky terrorist sympathiser (see peacebroker; or Thatcher/Pinochet for balance) rhetoric was constantly splashed across front pages, while his moves towards a more equal, fairer society were predictably labelled 'dangerous,' and 'extremist.' Any tourist visiting Britain would be forgiven for taking the first flight back home after seeing word of the crazed, maniacal despot that the Right-wing press so desperately tried to paint.

But while the media worked relentlessly to destroy him, it seems their grip on the public's conscience has loosened. On election night, Murdoch is said to have stormed out of a party on sight of the Exit Polls. For Murdoch, it symbolised a spell broken after years of controlling British hearts and minds, and showed a people tired of false claims and wild accusations. Corbyn's reasoned, mild-mannered character, energised campaign and very British personality simply didn't fit the distorted narrative of danger, threat and extremism that Murdoch's Empire and many on the Right wanted us to believe.

With these great misconceptions rubbished; Corbyn sits in a position of strength with solid foundations unseen in Labour for years. In gaining 30 seats, and recapturing Wales so effortlessly it's clear his message speaks to old Labour heartlands, and by galvanising the youth vote he's shaped politics for years to come with voters who simply won't settle for anything less. His remarkable climb from 20 points down to the tight margin he finished election night on was title-winning form. The longer the campaign ran the stronger he looked.

And now, as the political elite and media comes to terms with this great paradigm shift, and a battered Conservative Party re-enters Parliament weakened and exposed, it is clear Corbyn and his policies have set Britain on a path with a new found vision that is here to stay.

Remarkably, more than 150,000 people have joined the Labour Party since the election alone.

So don't turn off now - it's just getting started.

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