Some 10,000 people turned out in the pouring rain to see Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speak at a rally in Gateshead last night, Monday.
The rally was one of the biggest of Corbyn’s election campaign so far, with just three days to go before polling day on Thursday of this week.
The huge crowd spilled over into the adjoining car park as people turned out to the rally long before Corbyn was due to speak. People whooped, cheered and chanted before, during and after Corbyn’s speech.
NHS care worker Alice was there. She told Socialist Worker, “I could barely see Corbyn as there were so many people.
“The atmosphere was really positive despite the rain. And there was a real mix of people there, not just young students or the usual faces.
“There were people there with their children, the bloke behind me was an electrician in a high-vis who must have just left work. Just loads of ordinary people who’d come to see Corbyn.”
Corbyn used his speech to hit back at some of right wing criticisms levelled at the promises in his manifesto. He said the Tories had a “magic money tree that cuts taxes for big corporations”.
Instead he pointed to the promises that have made Labour seem like a real alternative to the people who would never have turned out in such numbers for Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or Ed Milliband.
Alice said, “Obviously the bit that resonated with me was when he talked about social care and the cost of getting dementia.”
She added, “I want to train to be a nurse, so either I get into £27,000 more debt or I wait for Corbyn to get elected to reinstate the bursary”.
More rallies were planned on Tuesday night in Barry, Birmingham, Brighton, Croydon, Glasgow and Warrington. Every socialist who is able should attend.
Corbyn made fun of commentators who sneer at the idea of big rallies, and who say people at the rallies “don’t understand” politics.
“We do understand,” he said—and called on people to use the final days of campaigning to build the “popular movement” that needs to keep going after the election.
“We’re fighting to win,” he said. “But it isn’t just about getting people elected to office. It’s what we all do to take these ideas forward.
“In these three days left, don’t just knock on doors. It’s about framing the debate. We understand what this popular movement is about”.