Since he was elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn has brought something to British politics that has been missing for far too long: substance. Over the last one hundred days, Jeremy has received the brunt of the blame for the lows and little praise during the highs. Distracted by Blairite smears the narrative surrounding his leadership has been soured. On this occasion, it is important that his supporters reclaim that narrative. After 100 days in the top job I am more convinced than ever that Jeremy Corbyn will change the face of British politics forever, if he’s allowed to.
The highlight of Jeremy’s leadership so far has been the fight against the Tory work penalty. In typical Corbyn fashion it was not a flash battle, it was fairly long and drawn out. Week after week Jeremy has challenged the Prime Minister at the dispatch box with questions from real people who would actually be affected by the Tory plan. Labour supporters were moved to petition the government and to get the wider public involved; and they did. Slowly but surely Jeremy is building a movement, with recent figures showing party membership has almost doubled since May. With every turn he is promoting the alternative and it is this alternative that is so desperately needed.
The anti-austerity message will be key to Jeremy’s future success, as well as stressing the inequality debate alongside it. The support of Nobel Prize winning economists and ex-members of the MPC will only bolster the credibility that Jeremy is looking to earn. The problem for the Tories, and indeed Jeremy’s own ‘bitterites’, is that this anti-austerity message is rather popular. Fighting tax avoidance, investing in infrastructure and raising taxes on the super-wealthy are all policies backed by the wider public. Over the next 100 days I hope that those who scream about electability will give Jeremy the chance to offer his positive vision with policies that are supported by a vast majority of the public. It may mean fewer meals in corporate headquarters and more cups of tea in children’s nurseries and local food banks, but Jeremy has given the Labour party back to the people.
When you strip back the spin, the newspaper front pages and the secret briefings, Jeremy has won an awful lot of battles on the behalf of both common sense and working people. From tax credits to the reversal of the Saudi prison deal, making the case against Syrian intervention to the definitive victory in Oldham, Jeremy has provided more than effective opposition and has found himself on the right side of the argument many times.
Some commentators disapprove of his sombre parliamentary performance, but while Benn’s speech has been praised as the speech of the year, it was full of rhetoric and lacked substance. There were no solutions offered as the shadow foreign secretary shouted about how much he hates Isis. It goes without saying that we all hate Isis. Saying so is easy, but analysing the arguments and presenting a substantive and reasoned case is difficult. One thing we have learned over the last one hundred days is that Jeremy certainly does nothing the easy way. I believe that this will be one of the defining principles of Jeremy’s leadership, the things we say or propose may not be easy, but they will always represent the values upon which our party was built.
Dogged with calls to resign and speculation about the longevity of his leadership, Jeremy has shown that even with the greatest levels of media intrusion a real Labour message can win. He promised change and he has certainly brought it. We move on now, even though shouting continues to emerge, to build a movement that will not just lead Labour to power, but the very principles on which our party was founded. The battle of growing inequality rages on, and Jeremy has mounted his assault – you would be wise to get behind him.