Not that long ago, I walked away from Labour for the second time. I was in despair at their brazen rejection of the ideals and values that spurned the party's birth, and mystified as to why they were abjectly failing to oppose the excesses of this feckless government, despite being paid from the public purse to be the official 'opposition'. It would be easy to assume that I am kicking myself at the sight of Jeremy Corbyn sweeping to power, Labour teetering on a delicious precipice as we all look on, the majority of people inwardly hoping that he drags the beige politicos of New Labour kicking and screaming into a realm of political principle and honesty. Truth be told, I am happy. More than that, I am delighted to see an actual left winger take the helm of the largest left wing organisation in the country. Clearly I am not the only one. In the first 24 hours of Crobyn's leadreship, 14,500 people have joined Labour. For the record, I am not one of them.
The battle ahead for Corbyn is a monumental one. I am looking past the obvious platitudes about a divided party when I say this. The Labour Party is a safe haven for Corbyn. It's electoral system has given him an electoral majority of over 160,000. Going by the last published membership figures, that is more than the entire membership of the Conservative Party! Corbyn can use his skills of striving for consensus, and of calm and measured communication to bridge the gap between his policies and the wider party membership, but he must act with conviction, and he must act with swiftness.
Corbyn is turning to face an underhand firestorm of ridicule, of misguided disdain, and of outright propaganda from the Murdoch press and their bedfellows in the journalistic gutter. The battle to sway the headline writers and editors of the national press is already lost, although the war is far from over. The only way Jeremy Corbyn can penetrate this firestorm is to continue the theme of his campaign. His greatest strength lies on his ability to mobilise popular support. I see the massive mandate he has gained as being a bulletproof vest in the early days of his time in office. It is a robust forcefield, but it will not last forever, and this is why he must act swiftly to lay out his policies, and solidify his support at a grass roots and community level.
One of the most stubborn obstacles to real political functionality in the UK is the overly submissive and often sycophantic approach of politicians to the mass media. Corbyn must continue to sidestep their reach if he is to really change British politics forever. He has opened a channel up to a body of the electorate who have never voted before, who has been disenfranchised, and who felt that nobody was speaking for them. His only hope is to keep talking. Keep inspiring. Keeping promoting hope and change. Despite the best efforts of the right wing, his economic policies have been vindicated by nobel proze winning economists. His approach of talking to undesirables has been derided, vilified, ridiculed, and then adopted by Tony Blair, and many others who now hold a place in history as protagonists of peace. The people who have subscribed to Corbyn's policies have seen the truth. They have seen past the media scare stories. They have seen that there is a better way.
People constantly say that they want politicians who are honest, who are passionate, who are not swayed by the tired horse trading and gladhanding that has fuelled Westminster for far too long. Now they have such a politician. He may not be perfect. He may not have all of the answers. But he has a chance to break the mould, and chart a new path. To reach his destination, Jeremy Corbyn must keep moving, must march with resolution and conviction. He must keep reaching out. Most of all, he must resist the temptation to romance Fleet Street, and instead keep talking, and keep walking. He will change more minds, and win more votes by staying true to the system that has propelled him into the position of political saviour than he ever will from writing editorials for any newspaper.
Politics is broken, Jeremy Corbyn isn't, and you know what they say. If it ain't broke. Don't fix it.