In the last rally of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign before the ballot papers went out, an huge crowd of 3,500, in Kilburn in North West London, brought together in less than 72 hours, were electrified by a powerful panel of speakers. As Jeremy himself said in opening his contribution, This campaign is a campaign for the leadership of the Labour Party but its also a debate about the kind of society we want, and thats what the media just don’t get.
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary Transport and Salaried Staffs Association was one of those speakers – and this is what he said:
Do you know, I have been a member of the LP for over 30 years and in that time we have had had many leaders but I tell you what we haven’t had in those 30 years and that’s a socialist as leader of the Labour party. And now we have Jeremy Corbyn, the first socialist to lead the Labour Party in decades. And if people think we are just going to let him no longer be the leader of our party, they better think again. Over my dead body, I say.
And you know, some of those people who have been critical of him, should we say, should be thanking him. You know since he became leader the ‘s’ word, that had been banned, the socialist term that no one used to hear, is now common parlance. Everybody now says they are a socialist.
Well, I welcome their road to Damascus conversion, but I tell you I would rather stick with someone I have known for 30 years , someone of whom I have no doubt, no doubt what so ever, that he is a socialist and that he will implement the policies that will change our country. We will be transformed into something that is much, much better than what we have got. And only Jeremy has got the vision and the policies to make that happen.
You know, our union has been trying to get the railways renationalised for a little while. And you know we were even successful in getting the Labour Party conference when Blair was Prime Minister – this was some feat. We got the LP conference to say that the labour government of the time should nationalise our railways. Within minutes Alastair Darling who was then Transport Minister, went out and said they weren’t doing it, Blair did a number of interviews that night and said that Labour would not bring the railways into public ownership.
And you know some of these people now wonder why people are supporting Jeremy Corbyn. They are supporting Jeremy Corbyn because Jeremy Corbyn respects the wishes of party members – when you make a decision he ensures that that decision gets carried out.
I’m delighted that it is no longer a debate within the LP – all wings of the party now support public ownership but I will not forget who stood shoulder to shoulder with my union that wasn’t the case, and I tell you what it wasn’t Owen , it was Jeremy Corbyn.
Jeremy is the great liberator – he has taken us out of the neoliberal jail but of course those jailers are busy trying to put us back behind bars and that’s why it’s really important that everyone in this hall does all they can, not just to get Jeremy is re-elected, but to ensure that he becomes our prime minister.
We are accused of many things; they can’t even get their language together, one day we are Trots, the next day we are Nazi storm troopers, but the one thing, the one thing they can not fathom is that something has fundamentally changed in our society.
Ordinary people, who have been battered and bruised by an economic crisis that wasn’t of their making, were looking for something different. Jeremy caught the mood – a new kind of politics, an economy that works for you, and the 99% and not just for the richest 1%. And that really is what this is all about.
You know these people are kicking hard. They own the media, they own the big companies and they will do all they can. They will not give up without a fight. They want to protect the richest.
But you know what? There are very few of them but there are millions upon millions of us. And that’s why, and Im going to finish on this, it’s not just about the passion in this hall, it’s not just about the passion of the 600,000 members of our party, it’s not just about the passion of millions of people in our country, its about the passion of the million upon miliions upon millions of people across our globe who are demanding a better world, a different world, another kind of world, where justice and equality are for all.
And you know why are going to win? Because that passion is enough to raise flame from the ashes and that that’s why we will win!