Politics has been pretty disappointing in the last few years. With things like the decision to go to war in Iraq, the expenses scandal, and the Liberal Democrats going back on their tuition fee pledge, rooted in everyone's minds, integrity is not a quality attributed to many politicians. It is this kind of politics my generation has been growing up with. Even those who are engaged with grass-roots politics feel a dislocation between Westminster and themselves. When you hear how a million marched against the war in Iraq and thousands protested the cuts of 2010 but the actions went ahead regardless, you aren't really going to feel as though you actually have a say in the democracy in which you live, or that those walk the halls of Westminster even want to listen.
With this as a backdrop Jeremy Corbyn has entered the Labour leadership race, and in a world of cardboard cut-out, stick-to-the-centre-and-don't-really-oppose politicians, he is rising to the top with the help of grass roots activists and supporters.
Corbyn brings the two as of now seemingly separate entities, Westminster and the grass-roots, together, and his integrity in doing this pulls many towards him. Pictures of him protesting South African apartheid are shared on Facebook, and articles about how he has rebelled and defied the labour party hundreds of times have been tweeted and re-tweeted. I do not think my generation has ever before had the experience of imagining the possibility of a principled, left wing candidate leading a major political party, a situation that says a lot about the monotony of our politics.
Amidst such monotony Corbyn has galvanised so many young people into taking an active role. With the prospect of having someone stand in real opposition to the Tories, and create a Labour party that they can relate to, so many who would never have thought about joining a political party are joining as members and supporters.
The other candidates in the leadership race are drearily similar to others in the Westminster bubble. They speak of 'electability' and appealing to the centre and choose not to offer any strong opposition to austerity. But people don't want electability and they are fed up with the disappointment of the supposed left in Westminster; they want opposition and action. Prizing electability is the same old, same old of ensuring that one person and their pals are able to take the next step in their careers. We need principles first, because what is the use of being elected without any strong principles to hold on to? We also see through the Lib Dems' demise that standing in the centre isn't the winning formula and that integrity is vital, yet so many want to hold on to one, and haven't demonstrated the other.
As countless headlines have testified to, Jeremy Corbyn has frightened the establishment, but he has excited the public, and especially the young; the young who are on the whole not disengaged with politics, but with Westminster. Westminster is in need of a shake-up, and for people of my generation who have never seen a real left figure at the head of a party, Jeremy Corbyn is the man to do just that and give us something new.