The problem with rallies
Abby Tomlinson

Thanks for your thoughts. As you said you haven’t been involved in politics for long and haven’t been to many rallies. My thoughts are rather different as I’m 68 and been politically active (although not a party member) all of my adult life and been to many many rallies including Corbyns. I think your opinion that Corbyn loves and seeks out personal adulation is not how I interprete the same situations. This is what I wrote to a friend after the Liverpool rally ‘’. Corbyn is not the greatest orator in the world bless him but that really doesn’t matter — its the policies people want (e.g. state investment in affordable housing will a. solve the housing crisis and b. stimulate the economy by providing proper jobs) and trust his honesty when he talks about delivering on these policies. No spin here and ALL the talk was of winning a national election. The other charming thing about his approach is that it creates space for others to contribute — the speakers were all ‘experts in their own lives’ — not polished speakers but long histories of activism and/or care and knowledge about their jobs such as a nurse. They didn’t want someone to tell them what to do they wanted someone to listen to the problems and solutions they knew were necessary and help them achieve better communities/ services’’ So giving people like you the space to contribute is unusual and the opposite of someone seeking personal adulation. Furthermore I don’t know if you had the opportunity to speak to people of all ages and situations attending the rally? I do get very cross at the common implication that those who attend are unthinking sheep motivated by emotion. Near me was a man in his 20s whose mum had rejoined because she is passionate about the seriousness with which environmental issues were being addressed by a mainstream politician. He, on the other hand was a £3 and later £25 supporter but didn’t want to become a full member until he saw what was happening in the election. A retiree was next to me, a party member and passionate feminist who has real doubts about Owen Smith in that regard but not Corbyn. A University lecturer who has little sight and is a member of the Socialist Singers who entertained the crowd and so on. In addition many groups attended who are experienced campaigners (Hillsborough, Disability Campaigners, Health campaigners, an MP, Local councillors, TUs etc, etc) and this appears to be common at most rallies. These campaigners are very politically experienced wise and astute and have no illusions about the current political context. Corbyn gets support, not adulation, because he is seen to be honest and prepared to take the brunt of enormous hostility and attack fot sticking to policies that are essential if we are to turn society around to one that works better for all. We all know we are in for a long haul. I’m not sure if your interest in politics will last that long?


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