The following article has been written by my good friend Adam Samuels, for the excellent Dorset Eye website.
As Jeremy Corbyn steps down as leader of The Labour Party, there is so much to say. In the same way that Jeremy is being proven spectacularly correct now about the policies he stood on, and the humanity, compassion & intelligence he has always shown, history (as it already is again now) will prove him to be correct. When sometimes things were unpopular at the time, this never stopped Jeremy throwing everything he had at defending what is correct and just. His track record truly is second to none. Remember in 2015 when he was the only Labour leader candidate to insist on anti-austerity policies? Look now; even Tory party members are anti-austerity! Back then we were told such thinking was “impossible, loony left, Marxist, utopian, unaffordable, naive, far left, fantasy student politics” etc?! By not just the media and right wing, but the Labour Party Establishment? THAT is how much he has changed the political landscape. I said in 2015, even if Jeremy never won power, it was essential he won the leadership, in order to create the political space and platform for common-sense policies. To act as an anchor to the runaway train that was/is disaster capitalism/Neo Liberal thinking.
I cannot think of a single politician with a comparable track record of history proving them to be correct. Things that seem obvious to all now, but, in most cases, were things he was condemned for by the people who were consistently, spectacularly wrong about those things. Jeremy was correct about Iraq x 2-indeed, he helped organise the 2 million people marching against his OWN party re Iraq. His infamous speech that day predicted exactly what would happen. He was correct re Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, not arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when we did. Apartheid, where he was arrested for being anti-racist! Israel/Palestine, Orgreave, Hillsborough, The Shrewsbury 24, the blacklisted scandal(s), Windrush (one of only 6 of our MPs to vote against it (there is a great clip on youtube of Jeremy predicting exactly what would happen, with John McDonnell & Dianne Abbot next to him), the Northern Ireland peace process, LGBTQ+ rights, disabled rights, anti-snooping rights, the Guildford 4, the Birmingham 6, the financial crash of 2008 down to the specifics of the American sub prime mortgage issues, women’s rights, homelessness, care for armed forces veterans, the climate emergency, Grenfell, worker’s rights, animal rights. The list goes on, and on, and on…
He took out a loan of £30,000 against his own name to fund the building of a desperately-needed community hub for various community groups who were refused funding; it wasn’t even in his constituency! He gives any spare money he has to his local credit union, gave his pay rises to charity, consistently pays TOO much tax every year, pays for some members of his team out of his own pocket, spends many of his days off volunteering for various causes, lives in a very modest house by London standards, uses public transport all the time where possible (when he’s not on his bicycle). He’s won at least 3 international peace prizes, including the Gandhi peace prize. He could have been the first anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, peace-seeking (not a pacifist-force ONLY as a last resort), internationalist leader the West had ever had. Which is what so many comrades around the world literally prayed for. Just ask the Latin Americans…as I say, a track record beyond any other.
Unfortunately, he was/is also the most lied about politician of all time. Never has one person endured as much hate, abuse, bullying etc as Jeremy. He had planned assassination attempts against him (see Darren Osborne court records), was physically assaulted on at least 2 occasions, had our government literally spending millions of OUR money via a secret set-up to push out lies and anti-Corbyn propaganda. Why? Because if you have lost the political argument, you target the individual to discredit in any way you can. He faced this from the media, opposition parties and, disgracefully-even to this day-from inside his own party. He never once reverted to their disgusting behaviour. Never once engaged in personal attacks.
So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU JEREMY. You truly are the best human being I have ever met. You genuinely changed my life. You have personally been my biggest inspiration. I am SO PROUD to have had you as party leader. You will never get the credit you deserve. It is a monumentally devastating reflection of this world that you were prevented from leading the world in international solidarity. I would say now you and your wonderful wife Laura can have a well-earned rest. Except I know you’ll (both) be there, side by side with all of us. Because YOU ARE US. It is in your blood, heart and mind. You are endemically the best humanity has to offer. You are the best human being I have ever met. What an honour it has been to ‘serve’ ‘under’ you. Thank you for changing things positively beyond all measurable indicators. To show the true measure of the man, here is Jeremy in his own words, in his parting letter to Labour Party members:
“Dear Labour Party member,
I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. I would especially like to thank the thousands of you working in key jobs and professions and those organising in mutual aid groups to help your local community.
As I stand down as Leader, I also want to thank you for all the support you have given the party, and me personally, over the last four and a half years. It has been the honour of my life to lead this party. Our members are my inspiration, and I am so proud that we have become a party of nearly 600,000 strong. I have made it a priority to meet members in every part of our country, and I learned so much from you.
So many of the issues we have been campaigning on over the past few years have been thrown into even sharper relief by the Coronavirus crisis. It has highlighted the underfunding in our NHS and social care as a result of damaging and counter-productive austerity, the lack of employment rights at work, the scandalously low level of welfare benefits, as well as housing insecurity and homelessness.
It has also reminded everyone how the people who keep our society running are not the hedge fund billionaires, but the cleaners, nurses, care workers and supermarket staff – so often women and migrant workers on low pay. The strength of our party is that it is rooted in our workplaces and communities in all their diversity.
Over the past five years we have changed the agenda on austerity and how the economy is run. In 2015, opposing austerity was seen as radical; today it is the political mainstream. A majority of the public supports Labour on issues such as public ownership and higher taxes on the richest. We now look forward as a party of economic inclusion, climate justice, peace and human rights.
Of course, we could have achieved so much in government, and I am sorry that under my leadership we did not get there. In 2017 we came close, winning the biggest increase in the popular vote since 1945. Sadly, the 2019 election was a Brexit election and our attempt to bridge the gap between Leave and Remain voters was unsuccessful.
I firmly believe that together we have the ideas, policies, energy and organisation to win a Labour government next time. We can build a society based on social justice, equality, and care for our environment. But it will not come about unless we fight for it.
Our party grew out of local communities and that is where we must focus our efforts, just as we always have. I will continue to campaign on the issues and principles that have motivated me as Leader, as an MP, as a councillor and as a party member for more than 50 years. I can assure you my voice will not be stilled. I’ll be out there campaigning for socialism, peace and justice, and I feel sure we’ll be doing that together.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
MUCHO GRACIAS HERMANO. VIVA JEREMY! EL PUEBLO UNIDO JAMES SERA VENCIDO! HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!