At festivals and events all across the UK, the youth of today rally around and show their support for the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. How do they show this support? By donning t-shirts bearing images of Che Guevara with Corbyn’s face superimposed over the late South-American revolutionary, or, indeed, by wearing a different t-shirt bearing the Nike logo with the name ‘Corbyn’ in lieu of the brand name. Ultimately however, t-shirts must come second to the utmost display of support which is, of course, singing the timeless football chant set to the tune of The White Stripes’ ‘‘Seven Nation Army’: ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’.
Perhaps Corbyn fancies himself standing alongside Guevara and Ghandi; I myself am doubtful of this. History has a habit of romanticising the actions of such people, perhaps in such a way that they themselves would be unhappy with. The dangers of forming a cult of personality are well-documented. Idea takes precedence over action, misdemeanours and unattractive traits are conveniently forgotten as an individual transcends their human-form and becomes another’s token symbol. Corbyn would do well to avoid this.
It is saddening to think that Corbyn is held in such high-esteem by so many simply for being a genial, sane, normal person. His meteoric rise within the political world, despite having operated within the Commons for a number of decades, reveals what few decent politicians are on offer for the people. The passion and genuineness he shows is something that is absent from modern politics; from a grassroots levels, those who are likely to enter politics are not those who have a desire to effect change for the Everyman but instead the career-driven, aspirational, comfortable middle-classes. Holding office is no longer a duty but instead a rung on the ladder to a larger paycheck.
There is no doubt that Corbyn stands for the right moral and ethical policies. Adequate social housing, a properly-funded NHS and positive environmental change are fairly universally agreed upon as the right thing to implement- at least amongst rational members of society. However, such policies do not align with the agenda of the mercantile neoliberals who plague our political world. Jeremy Corbyn is an anachronism within our political system; his yearning for equality and social justice simply do not align with the current prevailing ideology. People have every right to be sceptical of him; it is not in their interests to lower their own station or quality of life to raise another's. Their argument being that life is too short to care or simply that the majority of people are ignorant of issues that do not personally affect them or take place in their immediate vicinity. Importantly, it is these people (the working class), the class for which Corbyn promises change, that do not offer him support. Instead, it falls upon those who flourish under the current system, the children of the comfortable aspirational middle class that march behind Corbyn and the Labour Party. Change is not important to them; their interest in politics operates on a purely aesthetic level and is merely appropriated populism.
It is, undoubtedly, good to see unity amongst the youth, especially at a time in history when social identity is fairly non-existent and counter-culture is a thing of the past. It is, however, a shame that such unity manifests itself through the vapid stroke of a brush used by bald men, known for drinking large quantities of lager and shouting threats of violence towards each other every weekend. It is ironic that such a vain attempt to counter political norms and form an opposition borrows all from a group of politically apathetic, sport-loving hedonists. If you wish to make an actual difference then write, speak, campaign; do not chant for 15 seconds and then go home. Enjoy the music and leave activism for those who care.