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Jun 2, 2017

I Thought Labor Was Heading for Disaster. Now calum Campbell Is Voting for Corbym: The Guardian | Opinion - June 2, 2017:


theguardian.com

Calum Campbell

When Theresa May called a snap general election, the first thing I did was call my dad, Alastair Campbell, to tell him how smart and strategic a move I thought it was. I believed that the Labour party would face catastrophe. That voters in Labour strongholds across the north of England would crave her policies on immigration, fear Jeremy Corbyn’s historical links to the IRA, and clamour for the modern-day iron lady. Theresa May clearly felt the same, kicking off her campaign in Hartlepool with a smile that suggested a belief that the election was over before it had even started.

What this campaign has shown is just how out of touch I was. Britain is a country that is desperate for change. People in Brexit strongholds, such as Burnley – the home of my football club and where I have close friends – voted for Brexit in unprecedented numbers.

I believed at the time – and still do to some extent – that the Brexit vote was about national pride, cultural identity and “taking back control”. But I have been humbled to find that there is something far deeper taking place. People feel neglected, let down and desperate to find a leader and party that represents them.
The emergence of Corbyn has given many young people and previous non-voters a clear choice. This election will be won or lost on turnout. The Tories know that, which is why they haven’t once called on the electorate to register to vote.

This feeling of real choice runs alongside a new sense of desperation among elements of the public. Friends of mine from underprivileged backgrounds have felt for a long time that there is little hope their situation will improve. The person giving them hope now is Corbyn. I have friends who consider themselves working-class English patriots who told me there was no chance they would vote for “that IRA sympathiser”. A month later, some of them are even wearing T-shirts in support of him.
What has attracted voters to Corbyn in the last month is the fact that he comes across as a human being. He doesn’t sound like a robot reading from an Autocue. My favourite Corbyn line is that we can learn from everyone, regardless of circumstance. I have learned this for myself as someone who for the past four years has run nights out helping homeless people across London, and as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Our level of education or financial situation does not determine our worth as people. Honesty, integrity and feeling for others does. Corbyn has demonstrated all of those qualities. He has won respect for his resilience in the face of constant personal attacks, refusing to retaliate in kind.
Theresa May, on the other hand, has invested her whole campaign in a meaningless soundbite, “strong and stable”, while arrogantly refusing to debate alongside the other party leaders. What is she going to be like in front of 27 EU member states if she lacks the courage to share a stage with a so-called weak Jeremy Corbyn?
When May called the election I believed the Tories would secure a landslide. It looks like I was wrong. A combination of Corbyn’s ability to connect with ordinary people, desperation for change and May’s complacency have transformed perceptions in the course of a month.
With Brexit negotiations looming, we have to decide what we want out of the process, who is more likely to protect our rights and prosperity. Like many of my friends, most of whom come from far less privileged backgrounds than I do, a month ago I wasn’t 100% convinced I would even vote Labour. Now, the choice is obvious.
Today, I pledged to get out the vote for Labour. I’ve joined thousands of people around Britain who have committed to knocking on doors on 8 June – the most important day of the campaign. Getting people who said they’d vote Labour to actually do it could be the difference between a Labour victory or five more years of Theresa May.
Twenty years on from the last time a Labour government, including my father, entered No 10, the country requires a radical change once again. There really is only one party for me to vote for now, and that’s Corbyn’s Labour.