To followers of the mainstream media, and to middle Britain, the snowballing fervour and adulation for Labour’s current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, probably seems utterly baffling. And people always lash out at things they don’t understand.
Conservative Britain, right wing Britain, and those to the Centre-left have little time or respect for this new breed of political supporter, who have (in a quantum twist) been simultaneously labeled as both middle class graduates, and as aggressive thugs.
To understand this contradiction, you have to understand where all of these new Corbyn supporters have come from and why they are so passionate about a man who to many appears – at best – to be a scruffy incompetent and – at worst – a frothing communist who will destroy the country.
Firstly, let’s address the middle class thing. Personally I find it offensive that anyone could believe that a person can’t be well educated, middle class, and still be a socialist.
However, you have to keep in mind that these assertions come from those who lean to the right. After all, a right wing voter’s first priority is always ME, whereas a left wing voter’s first priority is always US.
So, how can it be that all of these educated, middle class sorts have suddenly turned rabid? You’ll hear a word being bandied about a lot in Corbyn’s campaigns, and that is Disenfranchised. I believe a better word is actually Disillusioned.
To understand this disillusionment, you first have to understand that what’s been happening globally over the last 15 years or so has completely reshaped the mindset of millions of people.
If the universe was created by a Big Bang, then it could be said that a new consciousness was created when those planes slammed into the twin towers on 9/11 and everything, everything, changed. In the years to follow, millions and millions of people have watched the horrors of wars we didn’t believe in, we’ve watched the wholesale theft of our privacy and rights, we’ve watched big business dictate policy, and we’ve watched as the banks stole our tax money in plain sight.
Because we are educated, Corbyn supporters know that wars are waged on innocent people for profit; we understand that it’s a combination of our broken banking system and the avoidance of taxation by the super wealthy which are responsible for austerity – not immigrants; we have seen that no matter how vehement our opposition to the destruction of our environment by profit-hungry energy companies, our voices will never be heard. In short, we know that we don’t have a say in any of this. We don’t matter.
And we are pissed off.
Like many of others who have joined Corbyn’s movement, I am new to Labour. New Labour held little appeal to me, disgusted as I was by the evils of what was being done in the name of defense and their total disregard for society or the environment. The only party whose politics resonated with me was Caroline Lucas and the Green Party. Anti war, and pro green energy, here was someone talking about US, not ME.
After all, what’s the point in owning the biggest house and the shiniest car on an uninhabitable lump of shit flying through space, formally known as earth?
On Election Day, I didn’t want to have to vote for the lesser of two evils. I wanted to vote for a party who I genuinely believe in. Sadly, due to our flawed electoral system, I may as well have voted UKIP.
So, like many others, I began to disengage from politics.
The final blow came after a meeting with our local Labour MP* about the TTIP, which I wrote about here. My heart was well and truly broken on that day and I gave up fighting.
I believe that all of the historical events leading up to this moment, all of the lies, and the exposure of these lies by brave men such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have resulted in the utter disillusionment of millions of passionate, principled, idealistic people, and their subsequent disengagement from politics. We couldn’t take it any more, so we went to sleep.
Then Jeremy Corbyn came along and woke us all up.
Can you imagine the power and energy which he’s released? Thousands of people who genuinely care about society. Thousands of people who dreamed of a better world. Thousands of people whose hopes and dreams and beliefs have been systematically trampled on by the powers that be, woken from political hibernation, and finally given a voice.
These people had given up on ever having any say in their lives; had given up on the idea that a politician could ever represent anything other than lies and corporate greed. And then at the darkest point, here appears a man who is genuine, truthful, principled, and prepared to fight the mighty establishment for us all. Corbyn has given us hope that our votes might actually mean something, for the first time in decades.
So now I’m sure you can understand the vehemence and sheer bull-headedness behind every defensive comment on Facebook.
This is why Corbyn supporters don’t want to hear what the media or the right wing have to say. This is why it seems we won’t entertain reasonable debate.
This is how thousands of middle class graduates became political thugs.
*Tellingly, Alan Whitehead MP subsequently resigned from the front bench post he was given by Corbyn, which makes sense. He told us there was no point in fighting the TTIP because it was beyond politicians to do anything about. Any MP with that attitude has no place in Corbyn’s Labour.