There were jubilant scenes last Saturday as Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader was announced.
His supporters greeted him as he arrived at the count with chants of, “Jez we can”.
More gathered around a radio at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park to listen to the news. As soon as it was clear that he’d won by a landslide the crowd erupted.
Patrick Brough told Socialist Worker, “I canvassed for Tony Benn in Chesterfield in the 1980s. I always thought he was the best leader we never had.
“I’m in shock now. But it’s nice to have some hope.”
Supporters chanted, “Jez we did!” and cheered when Corbyn said his first act as Labour leader would be to join the protest to defend refugees.
Newer Labour members were there too. Kezia Fender, is a college student from Oxford. “I used to be torn between Labour and the Greens,” she told Socialist Worker.
“But it’s good that the left is joining Labour. A lot of people who never had anything good to vote for do now.”
Labour members celebrated across Britain. Jim Monaghan in Glasgow, told Socialist Worker, “I have been waiting 35 years for a left leadership of Labour. We now have a leader who represents the movement for change.”
But many acknowledged the pressure that will be piled onto Corbyn.
Matthew Dyson told Socialist Worker, “There’s going to be a battle now against the Tory machine. I think he’ll get a lot of abuse in the media and from people like Blair and Mandelson.”
Sure enough, the Tories and their rich friends immediately escalated their propaganda against Corbyn.
David Cameron tweeted, “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.”
Senior Tories obediently parroted the message.
Right wing rags painted Corbyn as doomed and talked up divisions within Labour. The Mail on Sunday’s front page headline was “Red and buried”. It claimed, “Labour will lose next 2 elections.”
The Sunday Times went with, “Corbyn sparks Labour civil war”. In a rambling article it claimed that, “Labour party staff wore black as if in mourning”.
Media baron Rupert Murdoch continued the assault in the Sun on Monday of this week. It declared Labour was in “meltdown” and branded the shadow cabinet “the new crazy gang”.
Columnist Trevor Kavanagh was outraged at the “Red Flag-yodelling zealot” as he called Corbyn.
But he had to admit, “A counter coup is impossible.
“The sheer size of his landslide majority puts him beyond challenge.”
Left union leaders support Corbyn
Many union leaders welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s victory.
President of the bakers’ Bfawu union Ian Hodson told Socialist Worker, “This is a huge mandate and is a recognition that people want politics for the people, not big business.
“It’s an opportunity to build a movement and fight to change society.”
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said the result “has shaken the cosy consensus that has infected our politics”.
CWU union general secretary Dave Ward said it was “an overwhelming rejection of austerity”. He added, “Labour supporters and trade unionists want to see the party being true to its values and standing up for working people.”
Hackney Labour MP Diane Abbott told Socialist Worker, “The result shows that ordinary Labour members want a return to core Labour values—peace abroad and social justice at home.”