At last night's Jeremy Corbyn rally in Bristol 'it felt like we could win - the atmosphere was absolutely electric' reports Isaac Kneebone-Hopkins
In what was one of the biggest left wing events in the city’s recent history Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign descended on Bristol last night in full force, even making it onto national 10 o’clock news. Despite being one of the organisers of the event I was absolutely gobsmacked at the attendance with over 450 people packing the Malcom X centre to the absolute rafters.
The crowd was lapping up Jeremy’s speech with Jeremy calling for labour to reclaim its roots by supporting the unions wholeheartedly and becoming a party that represents ordinary people once again. Jeremy was clear, "The principle of the welfare state has been removed. This was a measure of a good society”. The Labour party should not shy away from defending the rights of those on benefits, he said, “we need to challenge the whole austerity agenda”. Calls to abolish nuclear weapons and to “scrap trident to make us secure by not threatening anyone else with nuclear weapons” were received with equal excitement.
Covering topics particularly close to the people of Bristol’s heart he stated “we need to stop subsidising extortionate private land lords through benefits and provide decent homes and wages” and he also called for a £10 minimum wage.
Highlights of the evening included Jeremy asking “wouldn’t it be nice if we had a government committed to human rights and peace and not rushing into conflict in the middle east” showing Jeremy’s long term commitment to the anti-war movement and his current position as chair of the stop the war coalition.
While the other Labour leadership candidates watch on in shock Jeremy’s campaign is clearly bringing a new lease of life not only to the Labour party but to the movement as a whole. “Cameron and Osborne have something against young people. They are cutting child benefits for the third child onwards. Surely every child matters.”
As a young person who has become disillusioned with the Labour party, I talked to many people last night who said they had not voted for labour in the last election but that if Jeremy was the leader they would definitely do so and I would have to agree.
As if summing up his campaign Jeremy said what we need is “A just society where everyone is treated fairly and everyone is clothed and housed and fed, that’s a strong society that works together… everyone needs hope in their lives.” More than anything that’s what this meeting represents. Hope. Hope in the face of Tory government, hope in the face of draconian cuts. Last night in Bristol it felt like we could win and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.