Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s most popular leader

T-shirts

Despite negative projections from his political foes, Jeremy Corbyn is more popular than he has ever been.

Last week’s #JC4PM date in Bournemouth saw nearly 3,000 people turn up for an evening at the conference centre. At the end, Billy Bragg, John McDonnell, Shappi Khorsandi and others performed an encore with hundreds of people on their feet showing solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. You can see a clip here. There was nothing staged about the audience response. It was something I have never experienced before at any Labour Party event.

It was all filmed by the CWU as part of their conference programme and over 50,000 people watched the show through live streaming. In the foyets outside the hall, Jeremy Corbyn t-shirts and Jeremy Corbyn pottery (mugs, pots and mugs) sold out. One of the performers, Joe Wells, told me that he’d only been to the venue to watch big stars like Morrissey and Bob Dylan before. I think this shows the scale of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity – even when he wasn’t there himself.

The next #JC4PM date, in Sheffield on Wednesday, also looks like selling out. And Manchester on 19 May only has 20 tickets left.

Curry for Corbyn

It is not only #JC4PM events that have proved Jeremy’s popularity. A curry in the West Midlands last month (pictured below) attracted over 500 people. I thought my ‘Curry for Corbyn’ during the leadership election was a success when over 150 turned up, but this has taken the concept to a new level.

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No Labour Party leader in my lifetime has attracted as many people to join the Labour Party and there is another phenomenon that some in the media are unable to get their heads around: people who support Jeremy but are not Labour loyalists.

Charlotte Church announced on social media that she was voting Plaid Cymru despite having appeared at two #JC4PM events. This is not something I agree with or endorse but I think it comes from a feeling that Jeremy Corbyn is not the embodiment of the Labour Party. Or that he is only a temporary leader. This perception comes from constant attacks on him by some within the party and the party bureaucracy does not seem to be doing much to stop this.

It’s time we channel this wave of support for Jeremy Corbyn into creating a movement that will defeat the Conservatives in 2020. This can only happen if the public – and JC supporters – believe Jeremy has the backing of the whole party. For this reason I think it would be a good idea for Jeremy to call a fresh leadership election to clear up – once and for all – who is at the helm. As John Major once said, it’s time to ‘put up or shut up’.

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