So you should probably be aware by now that Great Britain – my homeland, and I would argue, current reigning champion of the ‘who can be most politically unstable’ competition that most of the western world appears to be taking part in – will be having a general election in June. This is an early, ‘snap’ election, (our last election was in 2015, and we weren’t due another until 2020), and will decide whether our current Conservative government – led by Prime Minister Theresa May – retains power, or another party will take over. British politics typically sees leaders from one of the two main parties, Conservative and Labour, in charge at any given time, (though there have been some exceptions; our previous government was a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, but since the Liberal Democrats almost immediately back-peddled on their promise to keep tuition fees low for students, they’re now sort of regarded as a non-starter for many people).
This election has really provided me with something to look forward to when I finish this exchange – besides seeing my family and friends, obviously – because I was too young to vote in the last general election, and I’m really excited to cast my vote now, and take part in the democratic process. This is despite the fact that opinion poll ratings for the leader of my preferred party – Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party - are pretty low currently, suggesting that as happened when I voted in the referendum on Britain’s place in the EU, we may not actually get the election result I want us to get, (because politics, right? Why can’t it just be what I want all the time?) Yet, I remain hopeful. Jeremy Corbyn is not only a good candidate for Prime Minister, but a good person, and one who I would love to have running the government. With that in mind, America, I present you with five reasons you should know and love Jeremy Corbyn.
1. Mr Corbyn has a long history as a social justice advocate
From his protesting against apartheid outside the South African embassy in 1984, to his campaigning to support the wrongly convicted Guildford Four and Birmingham Six during the height of the Northern Irish troubles, his objection to raising of tuition fees, his opposition to Margaret Thatcher’s support of Chilean dictator Pinochet, his challenging of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, his public and vocal support for a woman’s right to abortion, his support of the miners’ strikes under Thatcher, to his early championing of LGBT rights often in the face of other members of his party, Corbyn has consistently been on the side of social justice and equality.
2. He isn’t into appearance-based politics.
In a world where our last Labour leader was hounded on by the media for both looking a bit like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, and being photographed whilst eating a sandwich a little clumsily, and where newspapers seem more interested in our Prime Minister’s kitten heels than her policies, Mr Corbyn refuses to engage with appearance-based politics. Here he is in 1984, defending his decision to wear a jumper knitted by his mum, in the face of Conservative criticism that it made him look ‘scruffy’, on the basis that ‘it’s not a fashion parade… it’s a place where the people are represented’.
3. He encourages disenfranchised people to vote
When Corbyn’s leadership was called into question my members of Labour convinced he doesn’t have what it takes to win a general election, a new leadership vote was called, and hundreds of thousands of new members joined the party, many wanting to vote for Corbyn’s continued leadership. Posts featuring Jeremy Corbyn are guaranteed to have comments posted by individuals who feel that the majority of politicians today don’t speak for ‘normal’ people like themselves, but that Jeremy Corbyn does.
4. He sticks to his principles
Corbyn’s principles are so hardened that he allows not even his personal life to take precedence over them; in 1999, Corbyn and his wife divorced over her belief that their son should attend a grammar school, and his belief that this was at odds with his opposition to selective education.
5. He’s environmentally friendly
Corbyn’s manifesto detailed plans for a ‘Green Investment Bank’ which would invest in renewable energy sources, he’s publicly opposed hydraulic fracking, and has pledged to support increased funding for public transport in order to improve air quality. elecCorbyn’s well loved by his supporters for his neglecting to drive, instead opting for travelling on his trusty red bicycle, (fun fact – a campaign aiming to raise £475 to buy Corbyn the bike he confessed to be his ‘dream bike’ in an interview, which in fact raised £6000, was instead donated by Mr Corbyn to charity).