The Morning Star reports on marking 40 years of Jeremy Corbyn as MP for Islington North.
BEN CHACKO reports from a Crouch Hill event where locals and community leaders gathered to celebrate the dedicated service of their member of Parliament
COMMUNITY and faith leaders, peace and social justice activists and local Labour Party members paid tribute to Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday in an event marking his 40 years as Islington North MP.
An afternoon of film, talks, dancing and refreshments saw hundreds pack the Brickworks Community Centre in London’s Crouch Hill neighbourhood — sending a strong message to the Labour Party that the constituency continues to support the MP that the national executive committee has banned from standing on a Labour ticket.
The range of speakers showcased Corbyn’s unparalleled campaigning record. Shirley Franklin of the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition recounted their work together to protect threatened services at the hospital, Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament spoke of his dogged attendance at anti-nuclear demos come rain or shine and fellow MPs John McDonnell and Claudia Webbe saluted the courage he had shown in the face of appalling abuse to champion vital but unpopular causes at Westminster over the years.
Founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum rabbi Herschel Gluck wryly pointed out that Jeremy resembled his namesake the prophet Jeremiah. “Jeremiah was a person who came with a message many people didn’t want to hear — and he was challenged but he continued to deliver his message,” he said.
After 40 years of being an MP, JEREMY CORBYN talks to Ben Chacko about the role of democracy, the long history of attacks on the left and the importance of taking a stand
It is war that comes to mind when I ask for his worst memories from 40 years in the Commons. Voting against the Gulf war in 1991 was “a very lonely place to be.” But the much bigger revolt against the 2003 invasion of Iraq didn’t cheer him. “Iraq was, in many ways, the worst because I don’t believe anyone that had objectively looked at any of the information at the time honestly believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
“You wouldn’t have to read very far into those documents to see that it was nonsense. Huge pressure was put on Labour MPs to vote for this — and that they did so was one of the low points.”
Despite the defeat of Corbynism, we now know more clearly than we have in decades how popular left-wing policies are if put to the public — and that’s all thanks to Corbyn’s bravery, writes CHELLEY RYAN
We were crying out for change, for Labour to become a real opposition, for hope — and Corbyn couldn’t resist that pressure despite his natural inclination to be part of the collective rather than lead it.
And that’s why we grew to respect, trust and even love him as a leader in a way that nobody, least of all Corbyn, could have ever envisaged.
Over time we were accused of being a cult with our “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” chant, scarves and badges. Frankly, we didn’t care. Not because we were a cult unless as some Corbyn supporters started to jokingly refer to themselves, they were members of “the cult of giving a f***.”
But because we knew this was never about Corbyn the man. It was all about what that man stood for and the hope he represented.
Having said that, we knew we owed that hope to the courage of that man and we loved him for it. And the more he was scorned and smeared and slandered, the more angry and outraged we became.
After all, we are a movement that only exists because of our intolerance of all things unfair and unjust, and the treatment Corbyn received from the Establishment, including — and especially — from the Labour rightwingers, was both of these things in spades.
Thanks to Corbyn and the movement that grew around him, we have seen how popular left-wing policy positions can be. We now know they almost won a general election despite the most hostile press and Parliamentary Labour Party in political history.