Let’s keep united & our eye on the prize – Matt Willgress election diary #3


“This election is the ending austerity election – it’s about investing in people’s lives and the future.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Matt Willgress was lucky to get a spot at an immediately booked-out event in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency.

A packed community centre in Islington North saw the launch of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to be re-elected MP for the seat this week.

Singer and Labour member Jermaine Jackman summed up this election about being “about coming together and beating Boris Johnson,” with a key message that “Labour is the party that wants to improve your lives and make this country a better place.”

The platform represented a wide range of different wings of the labour movement and saw different speakers express key elements of Labour’s campaign for real change within this context, with Jeremy bringing them all together at the end.

This is a campaign which is bringing together a positive, alternative vision of how we tackle some of the key crises we face, from the growing cost of living crisis, to standing up to Trump and Johnson’s politics of division, to the global climate crisis that is effecting people here in Britain more and more.

In terms of a key message, Jeremy argued that “This election is the ending austerity election – it’s about investing in people’s lives and the future.”

Noting that “We’ve changed the whole debate about economics – to being about investing in people’s needs and building a better country for everyone,” he added that “The price of austerity is born day-in and day-out by the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.”

Diane Abbott argued in her contribution by saying that “If its left to the Tories, the NHS as we know it will dwindle away,” and this was a theme returned to by Francesca Martinez, comedian and anti-austerity campaigner, who took the opportunity to slam the Tories attacks on disabled people and cuts to the NHS and education.

From a local government and housing perspective, Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, welcomed Jeremy Corbyn as “our next Prime Minister,” and referenced how Islington Council -working with Jeremy – has returned to building council homes, as a precursor to what we can do in government as part of rebuilding public services and local government as we end austerity.

In a touching tribute he said, “Jeremy is trusted by people in this community to get the best deal for them – that is what great local MPs too.”

Equality is also at the forefront of Labour’s programme and vision for real change, Francesca added, saying that “Jeremy’s politics are about embracing human diversity, working together and recognising we all have the same rights to dignified and fulfilled lives.”

Adding to this, Jeremy himself said  “{If] You divide the working class then who wins? The powerful, the rich and Tory party… I’m determined we go through this election proud of being part of a diverse country.”

Jackson Caines of Islington Young Labour focussed his contribution on an issue which is central to Labour’s platform and support in this election, tackling the climate emergency.

“Every election is a profound choice about the kind of society we want to live in. It gives us a chance to endorse the status quo.. or say we need a radical change of direction. And on no issue do we need a change of direction more than on tackling the climate crisis.”

He emphasised how far we have come on the climate crisis, with former Green voters and members feeling at home in the Labour movement, and are enthused by Labour’s plans for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Furthermore, “The beauty of the Green Industrial revolution is it’s not a hodgepodge of individual policies, it’s a coherent package that ties together all Labour’s values.. with social justice wired into it.”

In other words, it is a central part of our socialist, alternative economic strategy.

In terms of tacking the climate emergency, and the cost of living crisis, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and Diane Abbott finished her speech on this theme, saying “This will the most important election of all of our lifetimes,” because “Jeremy will be a truly transformative Prime Minister.”

Telling us not to listen to the attacks in our media, she added “He offers hope.. that hope and that energy is what overturned the polls in 2017, and is what will overturn the polls in the next few weeks.”

This was a point also earlier raised by Richard Watts who –  in emphasising how our numbers and campaigning level are so important – explained how “we are up against a multi-million pounds lie machine”, but what we have is one key thing – people. We are, in his words, “a people-powered machine to turf the Tories out and build that better future.”

Jeremy concluded the rally by saying, “The effort that is being put into this election campaign is absolutely phenomenal. We are absolutely determined to get it right and win this election for Labour,” and that “our choice and responsibility is to give people a choice of a different future,” with “the power of optimism, hope and ideas.”

This is the fight we are in. Let’s keep united and our eye on the prize.

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