As you may know from my last post, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Mr Jeremy Corbyn speak live in Southampton on Saturday July 15th. As he was making his declarations to the people of Southampton and beyond, it became evident to me that it would not be enough to merely see him speak live from a distance. I had to find a way to meet him.
This seemed like an impossible task to begin with; not only was I already squished between others, beside themselves with joy, but I was rather far from the front. I did not know whether Corbyn would even do a meet and greet after his speech had finished, but I had to be standing right in front of him if he did. Knowing the challenge that stood before me, and hearing his increased volume and meter, to suggest the speech’s end nearing, I set off on my way forward.
As I begun to squeeze between stubborn spectators and apologise in that typical British way, the speech came to an end. Whilst simultaneously the “Ooooooh Jeremy Corbyn! Oooooh Jeremy Corbyn!” begun, I felt a surge of people gravitate towards the front where a long metal fence stood between the infamous Jeremy Corbyn and us. I forced my way forward, darting into every spare air bubble I saw until I had made it to the very front. To my left was a tall and heavily built man and to my right was a girl, probably about my age, all of us equally as excited and waiting in anticipation.
Jeremy Corbyn made his way towards me. I felt ready. I had my camera in one hand, ready to take close ups and my phone in the other, with audio recording at the ready. Around me, everyone was shouting “Jeremy! Jeremy!”, trying desperately to catch his attention, if only for a high five or a moment of eye contact. It reminded me of a rock star greeting his star-struck fans. As he finished chatting to the self-confessed fan on my right, I realised I did not know what to say. I had prepared, but in the moment, everything vanished. I could not believe I was facing this man I had followed through many a House of Commons debates, on TV and in countless interviews. As this moment of shock vanished, I saw him go straight to the massive guy on my left. I was losing this once in a lifetime opportunity. I had to somehow catch his attention. So I shouted and stared and did everything I could. And I got it! I could not believe my luck.
So I did what any super-fan and blogger would do. I asked him a question, one he was perhaps not expecting, but had a splendid answer for all the same. Listen to my quick-fire interview:
Afterwards, I simply could not speak. It was all too much for me. Thousands of people trying to capture a glance from him, and Jeremy Corbyn had spoken to me. My day was complete. I could now go home happy. I watched with such joy and a sense of accomplishment, as he moved along, taking his time to listen intently to every fan he could, and their story and background of how Jeremy Corbyn had influenced them. I was amazed by his impressive level of concentration when surrounded by adoring and vocal fans from every angle. He took photos with murals and kept hold of a delightful red rose one fan had thoughtfully passed him.
It made me realise quite how much politics is improving. Politicians are regaining a connection with the people they should be representing. Maybe they do not always have the best policies, or the most consistency, but so long as politicians continue to grasp this connection with the people, I would say they are practicing politics, in its purest form.