Jeremy Corbyn: Seduced by the meeting?

Jeremy Corbyn

Packed campaign meetings can be very exhilarating, but they are not without their dangers. They can delude participants on the extent to which their views are shared.

The starkest illustration for me occurred in the 1975 referendum on continued membership of the European Community Membership. The Labour left campaigned against membership and there were events all over the country that exhibited the intense enthusiasm of a revivalist meeting. I attended the one held in Cardiff. I was in a favour of continued membership but kept quiet for fear of being lynched.

Tony Benn arrived onto the stage from the wings to the rapturous cheers of the faithful. All my Welsh Labour Party friends assured me that there would be a massive margin against the EC outside London, where I was then living. When it came to the ballot box the electorate expressed significant support for EEC membership, with 67% in favour on a 65% turnout. The faithful were deluded

Of course it is exhilarating to receive adulatory feedback from an audience and one way of achieving this is to tell them things they want to hear – whether you really believe them or not.

Now I don’t doubt Jeremy Corbyn’s underlying sincerity but I do believe that these meetings are doing him no good. As things progress he will face hard questions not ecstatic rounds of applause from the faithful.


Labour’s failure and my small part in it: a memoir for my grandchildren Martyn Sloman

Download here Labour’s failure and my small part in it

This short book is based on experiences of 50 year’s activism, despair about the current state of the Labour Party, and the steps that are needed to regain credibility. It is available free of charge as a download on this blog site (above) and on a personal website A Kindle edition, priced 99p., the minimum permissible by the publisher, is also available (details on the personal website).

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