After a well received beginning to the election campaign, big things were expected in York from the Labour leader, and he delivered
As you’d expect, Corbyn’s speech consisted of attacking the elites who he said “have held back Britain”, and commitments to repatriate the NHS and the railways, giving us back our services from corporations and (ironically) foreign states. He promised a new approach to enterprise in the economy, praising the role of small business, clearly pitching his tent with local businesses and the self-employed. He also reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to protecting 95% of incomes from tax rises.
The more telling thing, however, was the buzz in the crowd. There were more people at this rally than last year’s, people from all walks of life, and some workers from a nearby building site took a quick break to watch the event, nodding and clapping with every full stop Jeremy delivered. Who said Labour’s lost touch with the working class? There is certainly a lot of optimism about this campaign. Gone are the days of doom and gloom, and instead a real vision for the future of this country has emerged, free from the inequality of past. It’s a vision for social change, and a clear move away from the disastrous neoliberal, laissez-faire dogma of the last four decades.
Another positive was the sea of fresh, young faces in the crowd. Latest figures suggest that 9 out of 10 students eligible to vote have registered, and as you’d expect, the massive majority support Corbyn. If young people get out in large numbers for a rally, during the week no less, then we can have more grounds for hope come June the 8th.
Rachael Maskell, the MP for York Central, also delivered a respectable speech. It was nice to see her on a platform with Jeremy, considering her front bench resignation earlier this year, but her speech was mostly confined to local issues, such as job losses at the Nestlé factory, and the collapse in mental health funding, which lead to the closure of Bootham Park Hospital.
Overall, it was a fantastic event, it truly shows how popular Corbyn is, contrasted with May’s appearance the day before, which was pale and stale, with her audience practically on life support. With more of this, we can really see the possibility of Corbyn in Number 10.