Go Jeremy Go

Jeremy Corbyn, 2006

I’ve long ago lost count of the number of occasions on which I’ve photographed Jeremy Corbyn, and listened to him speaking. He’s an unusually good speaker, logical and clear, and even though I’m concentrating on his gestures and expressions I can usually also follow what he is saying. And often, though not always, I find myself agreeing.

If you have been relying on the mass media for your opinion of him, you will think of him as being some kind of left-wing extremist, but I think you would be mistaken. Jeremy is a liberal, perhaps a left-leaning liberal, but one who most of my left-wing friends decry as a woolly liberal. Islington man is nothing like radical enough for them, lacking the support for the deep structural and economic changes they feel are needed to move the country towards true equality and justice.

Jeremy Corbyn, 2014

I’m not a member of the Labour Party. I was as a student, but they threw us all out and I’ve never quite felt it worth going back to since. I do belong to two trade unions and am an active member of one, the NUJ, at least occasionally attending branch meetings and making my views heard. Until recently I used to vote Labour, solidly Labour, but I haven’t done so in recent elections. So I’m precisely one of those voters the Labour party needs to win back, though perhaps not a typical one, and my constituency is in any case one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

The only one of the four candidates I can envision doing so is Jeremy. Partly it’s because of his policies and those speeches, but mainly I think because he really isn’t a politician. He’s far too honest and sticks up for his principles; conviction rather than convenience. He’s a man I would trust to leave holding my bike and know it would still be there when I came back and not sold or left unguarded. And I would trust him with our NHS knowing it wouldn’t get privatised while he was busily assuring everyone it was safe in his hands.

Jeremy Corbyn, 2010

Photographically Jeremy can present a problem. A while back I got an e-mail from a young photographer I know asking how I managed to photograph him with his eyes open. He does have a tendency (and I suffer from it too) to close his eyes when speaking in public, and I think is more sensitive than most to bright light. Often you simply have to keep your eye fixed for the moment when his eyes open and react immediately before they close again. That one click zooming in preview mode is vital (its the top of the top ten Nikon customisations in SLR Lounge if you are a Nikon user and don’t know what I’m talking about) so you immediately know if you were fast enough.

Another reason I warm to Jeremy is that clearly he doesn’t take a great deal of thought about how he looks. Most politicians you feel spend rather too long looking at themselves in mirrors, and employing people to improve their ‘image’.  I rather prefer the more natural look to the highly manicured.

Jeremy Corbyn, 2015

The pictures of him that I’ve put in this piece are more or less random images from over the years from My London Diary. I used the search feature on that site (top right of page) and typed in ‘Corbyn’, finding 128 items and then clicked on the first few of them. Most of those 128 pages will include pictures of Jeremy, though I have taken just a few of his brother Piers Corbyn. But those here are really a fairly random selection of the pictures I’ve taken of him over the years.

I’ve also a few times photographed Andy Burnham, at the extreme left in the above picture, who would I suppose be my second choice, though I suspect he wouldn’t deliver a Labour party I’d ever vote for. He came I felt somewhat reluctantly onto the stage where other MPs were surrounding a doctor holding the ‘Five Key Pledges for the NHS‘ at the rally ending the People’s March from Jarrow for NHS in 2014.

As I took the picture with him standing a little to one side I couldn’t help wondering whether if the support he was expressing as Shadow Secretary of State for Health would be quite as whole-hearted if he got the real job of being in charge of the NHS. It isn’t a good picture – those microphones were in the way, but I took quite a few more of him at the event both with other protesters and speaking.

I won’t be voting in the election, but will be interested in the result, which the opinion polls seem to indicate will be closer than anyone expected. It would be good to see a future for Labour as a real opposition to the Tories rather than a Blairite Tory-lite.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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2 Responses to “Go Jeremy Go”

  1. ChrisL says:

    I did have a chuckle at your lead headline, go is indeed what a number of his own party wish he would do, apparently. What may have won him the election are the comments from Mr Blair which Lord Prescott was quick to comment on, don’t you love politics?
    Meanwhile the NHS struggles on under the administrative weight of the commercial internal market and the pervasive effects of the last reorganisation which fractured links just re-made after the last one before that.
    My local hospital trust is in the midst of a routine CQC inspection, forty plus inspectors have descended.

  2. Yes, I am both amused and also a bit excited by the success of Jeremy’s campaign. We certainly need a change.

    I’m shocked at what is happening to the NHS. I wouldn’t be alive without it, grew up on free orange juice and regular visits to the clinic and suspect I will need it more in the coming years – already very dependent on it. Last week was the first time I heard any sensible discussion of it on BBC Radio, when finally someone was allowed to mention the effect of PFI in crippling Barts. And of course that was brought in by a New Labour govt.

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