I listened to this speech. Every word made me frightened.
Not for the reasons that others are frightened- I have no fear of the radical left wing, in fact it is where I am most at home.
The fear I felt was related to something else- something to do with the fragility of hope. You see, just about everything that this man says makes my heart leap. AT LAST someone who has a loud voice is saying the things that I hold to be self-evident (even if he obtained this voice by accident and even if the assassins are hiding behind every corner he walks around.)
And as I hear him speak, I feel myself drawn in to the possibility that a real alternative to the suffocating me-first consumer-driven grubbyness that has overtaken life in the UK is possible. Perhaps we can start to care about the effects of poverty and inequality again. Perhaps we can raise our discourse above ‘the market knows best’ monotone. Perhaps we can once again be driven by principles that are based around humanity, respect, love even.
So why am I frightened?
Hope is a dangerous thing. Corbyn is not the Messiah, and even if he was, the Messiah that I believe in ended up crucified.
But nevertheless, how grateful I am that the Labour party (who have done much to destroy my hope in the last couple of decades) still have people like this man in their midst. He may well belong to an earlier age (the time of my political awakening in the 80s) when ideology was king, but he is a powerful reminder that politics based on pampering only those in power is a politics of despair.
Corbyn may never be elected as Prime Minister of this country, and I do not care. What we need from him right now is to hear a strong voice that challenges the status quo. A voice that reminds us of our duties to the poorest and weakest in society. A voice that points out that the fat old Emperor is stark bollock naked.
I am fearful that the very reasons why I like him (that honest naivety arising from pressure group politics, with its binary decisions about good/bad) might yet prove his undoing. His refusal to spin, to play the political game; it may yet mean that his voice can not be heard.
But in the meantime, still I dare to hope. Even on the basis of one speech, I dare to hope…