Okay, so a debrief from yesterday evening's Corbyn for Leader rally in Liverpool City Centre.
We turned up at around 5.45 and milled about for a bit, talked to a guy selling socialist mags and collecting signatures in support of Jeremy. He told us a story about how someone's life has been ruined because of the bedroom tax, about how the old feller had to move miles away from where he'd lived for over 25 years to a place where he knew no-one and had no family nearby to care for him (he'd had to get rid of his racing pigeons too) and where he was isolated and unhappy.
That was the first tale of many.
When folk started speaking, it dawned on me that there was a story behind every single face there; from one speaker who I'm pretty sure was Eddie Marnell, one of the Cammell Laird strikers who was wrongly and unlawfully imprisoned for striking in 1984 and who is still awaiting an apology from Her Majesty's Government for the way he and his workers were treated, to the nurse who looks after sick children, and who has to make terrible decisions about who gets the care they need based on funding.
It dawned on me that everyone has a story, and that's how Jeremy Corbyn connects with people, by listening and hearing.
There was no spin last night, just honest rhetoric from honest, ordinary people. And it was such a breath of fresh air compared to listening to all the braying going on in Westminster.
I was impressed at how many speakers were female, how many were councillors, and more than impressed by the strength of conviction in their voices. It struck me that grass-roots activism starts in the home, around the kitchen table and, if this movement continues, many many more women, many more men and their families will find the voices they thought lost over the last few decades.
I was taken back to my childhood, listening to union leaders talking on the telly, but it wasn't in a regressive way. It wasn't just about jobs and fairness at work, wages levels, etc. As I watched the young faces around me light up, their heads nodding in recognition and agreement at these summaries of people's experiences I realised that Jeremy and the others were speaking for everyone: me, my children, my husband, our housing co-op, the planet - everyone.
They spoke for everyone but the Tories.
Jeremy is not a fantastic speaker, the words don't flow easily at times, but he is passionate and committed and he understands what the problems are - and it's this that shines through.
Above everything, he's REAL. And therein lies not only the appeal, but his power.
He speaks OF ordinary people TO ordinary people; he tells their stories; he understands the struggle and is highlighting that struggle down in London despite those who would simply sit with their fingers in their ears singing 'lalalala'.
He is bringing the disenfranchised into parliament, showing their 'workaday clothes' and speaking of their utterances and sentiments as Keir Hardie did in 1906.
He is a true socialist, like Benn snr before him, and it made me laugh to hear Stephen Rotheram, the MP for Liverpool, saying last night, "I am a socialist ... we can say that now..." like it's been a dirty word for the last thirty years, his naughty little secret...
Corbyn is SO right to bring ordinary people into the chamber, and the Tories are so VERY wrong to scoff.
Jeremy is telling their stories, telling the chamber how the Tory policies are affecting folk. He is trying to make it real. Can he take the left to victory?
Yes. I think he can do it. With a little help from others on the left, from all of us, yes. I hope to see the day.
Wanna see John McDonnell speak next...
Thanks to Diane Oliver
Corbyn 50+ supporters group
Post the Liverpool Rally August 1, 2016
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