WHAT are we to make of Jeremy Corbyn’s Glasto gig? We turned the sound up on the TV at work yesterday, so I heard the full speech. There was little new in what he said, but the surprise lay in seeing a 68-year-old politician address such an enormous crowd at a rock festival.
One unshakeable truth about Corbyn is that he has guts, having discovered courage by sticking to his core beliefs, and then finding that quite a lot of people have moved over to his side of the fence. He played that Glastonbury crowd like a grizzled old rock pro: no guitar solos, just the usual passionate socialist riffs, a crowd-pleasing flurry of old notes on fairness and unity.
It was a good speech delivered well; full of passion and heartfelt belief. The crowd loved this greatest-hits compilation and rewarded the Labour leader with cries of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn.”
At one point, Jezza couldn’t resist a swipe at the media his followers hate so much, saying the that “commentariat got it wrong, the elites got it wrong”.
I guess picky members of the commentariat might point out that they said Theresa May would win, and she did win – but what Corbyn was getting at was the way he overturned such low expectations. He proved two sets of critics wrong: the pessimists on his own side, and the cocky Cons who felt certain of a sweeping victory, only to see Theresa May fumble the election on a cosmic scale.
The hecklers are not happy today, especially those phlegmy old souls on the Sunday Express, who cough up the headline: “Corbyn snubs forces heroes” – supported by the sub-heading: “Labour leader ignores Armed Forces Day invitations to bask in fawning crowds at Glastonbury.”
“See Pages 6 &7” – well, thanks for the invitation, but enough already.
This attack is lame and ridiculous, but it does find an echo on social media. A friend who likes to get into Twitter spats with local Conservatives has been having a cheerful ding-dong this morning with a Tory councillor in York who tweeted about Corbyn’s Glastonbury appearance, saying “puzzles me some find class war Marxism inspiring. However, #Conservatives must appeal to more young people”.
Well, that plan of appealing to head-office approved drones carrying dull placards didn’t go so well in the election, did it? And Corbyn is reaching out to people of all ages in a way that the Tories are not – yet the Blue Meanies are still in power, which is where you trip over the inconvenient truth at the foot of the yellow brick road; or maybe those bricks are red.
Well, good on Corbyn for raising “a hero’s roar from the festival’s adoring faithful” as the headline in today’s Observer puts it.
Not so good on Corbyn for the ‘commentariat’ stuff, which only encourages his most devout supporters to become angry with anyone who either criticises their sainted leader, or perhaps isn’t fully on-side.
As for the rattle-chested brigade at the Sunday Express, their efforts today remind us that alternative views should always be welcome, even when they come from the fruitcake tin. By the way, I love fruitcake – but not when it’s that overcooked.
So, a good speech, an emotional speech. Now we need to see what happens after the rabble-rousing.