Labour rally in the rain for a safer saner fairer Britain

This election has pitted a positive optimistic vision from Labour against the miserable inward looking austere negative Conservatives.  It’s an uphill battle: hope is frightening, always with the risk of disappointment whereas the Conservatives offer the narrow comfort of savage certainty.


This was from the Labour rally in Birmingham earlier tonight, on tan paper in conte crayon.

And there really was a double rainbow.

Momentum rally

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Last Saturday, I went to the Momentum rally.  We were told Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was coming straight from Glasgow, from speaking at the memorial for Keir Hardie, founder of the party and our first member of parliament 132 years ago.

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The square was filling up with the several thousand-strong crowd of supporters and interested passers by.   Too distant from the podium to capture the warm-up speakers, I seemed mostly to sketch the backs of people’s heads.

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I moved round to the other side to try to get closer but now was blocked from the speakers by the deaf translator in a check dress, signalling animatedly and passionately.  The organiser tried to whip up religious passion, wanting us to sing “Jez we can” to the non-tune of the crowds’ chant “here we go”.   Diverse though the crowd was in many respects, in this they were English to the core.  She failed utterly.  By contrast, my drawing lost all sense of proportion and the Sikh sound engineer appeared in my sketch to rise god-like from the masses.

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Jeremy had arrived and was eventually allowed to speak.  His voice keeps the same pleasant pitch and randomly rises and falls in volume, without obvious connection to the points he is making.  He is the anti-demagogue, the opposite of populist, using his non-eloquent skills to provide a masterclass in un-rhetoric.  He whips the crowd into an intense absence of frenzy.  What comes across is an honesty, humanity and approachability that has us cheering every point.

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Jeremy Corbyn as Obi Wan Kenobi

I was tickled by the joke that new leader of the Labour Party resembles Alec Guinness as the heroic Jedi Master who comes in from the wilderness to guide the resistance against the evil Empire.  It is easy to cast George Osbourne as Darth Vadar.   I am not sure who is Yoda though.

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Jeremy Corbyn as Jedi Master coming in from the wilderness: pencil and charcoal and photo-shopped with glow filter.

In real life we need a strong and credible Labour Party holding the government to account and building alternative policies.  Corbyn has the overwhelming  support of the Labour Party but not the Members of Parliament.  As ordinary voters, in or out of the Party, we need to tell all of them, leadership and backbenchers we absolutely expect them to bury their emotional differences and work together to hone credible policies that challenge the failed economic orthodoxy and support social justice.

It would be great if we could contact our MPs and tell them this.  A twitter campaign might look like this:

I am an NHS consultant and LP member. I ask Labour MPs to unite for social justice and to protect the environment. #MPspleasebackCorbyn

The idea would be each of us to say who we are and, if we want, our political affiliation, and also the issues topmost in our mind, but keep the same message and hash tag.  This is not a matter for Labour supporters and members only: all of us need a strong opposition functioning in parliament and now is the time for all of us to shape Labour into the party that reflects our concerns.

If anyone knows how to start a twitter campaign on these lines, now would be a good time to start.