GP Taylor: May the force be with Obi Wan Corbyn

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Sitting in the downstairs bar of a venue in Scarborough I came across the most amazing music I have ever heard. A man in his late thirties with a hipster beard delicately strummed a guitar. Probably a scene that was replayed throughout the land a thousand times that night. Yet I knew I was looking at a performer who was going to do great things in music
and whose rise to stardom had just started.

Jesse Hutchinson may at the moment be the bloke who plays down the pub, but with the right chance he could top the world music scene. He may not be a spring chicken in a boy band, but, as a musician, he has earned his future success with hours of playing to a few faithful followers. I believe now he stands on the verge of being discovered and his music being appreciated around the world.

I see a similar thing in the world of politics. For the first time in years, I have actually been excited by the prospect of a leadership election. Social media and the conversations I have had in the supermarket have been full of the same questions. Who is Jeremy Corbyn and will he be good for Britain?

Like Jesse Hutchinson, Corbyn has been learning his craft in the back rooms of life. A Clement Attlee figure and a true democratic socialist. He is the first leadership candidate who has got people talking on the street. There is something about him that is really exciting.

Corbyn isn’t your usual politician. There is no pinstripe suit, only a jumper that looks as though it was knitted by his mother. He has the look of a character from the film Star Wars; a regal Obi Wan Kenobi about to fight the evil Empire.

The Conservatives are hoping that Corbyn will lead New Labour into oblivion and they will be done as an electoral force. The person in the street is hoping that he will be the one politician who changes this country and connects with the millions who don’t vote and get them to engage with politics.

What I like about him is that he is obviously different from all the other party leaders. Despite the invasive spotlight and investigative force of the whole British media, not much dirt has been found on him. Yes, he once met a man with links to terrorism, but guess what, so have David Cameron, Tony Blair and Her Majesty the Queen. Please don’t forget that Gandhi and Mandela were both feared as terrorists before being elevated to sainthood by western politicians.

The worse thing that the Press has been able to say about him is that he is divorced, badly dressed and has a beard. They discovered he is possibly the MP who claims the least expenses from Parliament and, scandal of scandal, he travels by bus and Tube.

Not bad for a man with over 30 years experience in the corrupting environment of Parliament. He has an open honesty about his politics that is refreshing. He is not a closet Tory pretending to be a socialist like most of New Labour. Corbyn is a socialist with a heart for the poor, the working class and underprivileged.

It is the lack of sleaze and the bloke next door persona that attracts me
along with lots of other middle Englanders to Corbyn. His appeal goes beyond typical Labour voters. There are thousands of people who would like to see the coal mines of Yorkshire reopened and mining communities brought back to life.

The idea of having a state run rail network is music to my ears. Why should foreign private companies be able to provide a national service where the only people that benefit are shareholders that don’t even live here?

Under a Corbyn-led government, we would see power return to the hands of the people and not to big business. The NHS would be safe again and students not burdened with debt. Unlike several members of the cabinet, I don’t believe Corbyn has financial links to medical companies that would benefit from the privatisation of what was once the best health service in the world.

As happened under the former Labour government, my worry is that he will open the borders of the country and we will again be flooded with people we cannot afford to support, house, educate and give medical attention to.

Despite this concern, I hope that Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour Party and returns it to the left of centre of British politics and like Attlee, brings about the social change needed at this time.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster and can be followed @GPTaylorauthor.