There’s nothing I love more than cynical journalists and commentators being proven wrong, and that’s exactly what happened with Labour Live.
Labour Live, or ‘JezFest’, as it was dubbed by some, was a festival of music and politics held in North London which brought some 13,000 people together. 13,000 people came to a festival organised by a major political party, to talk politics and watch speeches.
Despite what our sanctimonious and cynical commentariat would have you believe, the fact that so many people attended such an event is amazing, and it’s indicative of a change in British politics. And it’s that change that has so many people worried.
What Corbyn and his peers have proven yet again is that genuine political engagement is possible, and the sneering political elite hate it. They are determined to shout down anything that falls outside of their idea of what politics should be, they genuinely fear this grassroots political movement.
It usually takes a general election to see people take such notice of politics, but now thousands will meet on a weekend in June to talk politics all day. This is a different type of engagement and, despite some apparent difficulty in selling tickets, Labour should be credited with bringing about changes in people’s attitudes to politics, young and old.
Just the very idea of Labour Live was mocked in the media and by politicians. They said it was further evidence of the cult of Corbyn, they said nobody would attend, they felt it has no place in our politics. They were wrong yet again.
Cynics will continue to be cynical, and the British commentariat will continue to be wrong, but they will be left behind along with this system of disillusionment.
For so long, people have been turned off by slicked-back, robotic Westminster politicians, and Jeremy Corbyn was seen as a genuine alternative to that when he was first elected in 2015.
Labour Live is just the latest example of this change in politics in the UK, people are engaging, people care, socialism is moving back into the mainstream.