Corbyn rallies young supporters at SOAS as Labour coup continues
Jeremy Corbyn addressed a sizeable crowd outside SOAS yesterday evening, emphasising the strength of his mandate in the face of an increasingly fraught parliamentary coup.
Corbyn laid out his manifesto promises to Momentum supporters, arguing that a redistribution of power and wealth was the best thing for the UK, and that the Labour Party had lost the 2015 election because it had not promised this.
Ahead of a likely leadership contest, he pledged to change Labour, and in laying out his manifesto reminded supporters of the core values that first attracted them to his candidacy.
“Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity,” he said, and spoke in favour of improved physical and mental health services.
Other speakers at the rally included John McDonnell, who described what he saw as the irony of a bitter coup at the same time as a new MP for Tooting who had doubled the Labour majority, and emphasised the need to “nail the lies” about Corbyn’s supposed failings.
NUS Vice-President for Welfare Shelly Asquith then demanded the Parliamentary Labour Party accepted democracy in the party and the validity of Corbyn’s mandate. A member of the crowd also stood up and asked to speak, discussing the SOAS curriculum and describing an alleged plot against Corbyn by Portland Communications.
However there were signs of disaffection in the crowd. As Corbyn listed his anti-Austerity manifesto points, one man shouted, “What about Europe Jeremy? Where were you when we needed you?” The crowd booed and hissed the heckler, and one woman squared up to him before he left.
Shortly afterwards, another man shouted a sentence that ended in the word “moron”. Labour plotters have argued much of Corbyn’s support has slipped in the past year and hope they will be able to unseat him in a coming leadership election.
Momentum, set up in the wake of Corbyn’s leadership campaign, has mobilised tens of thousands to join Labour in the last few days in order to support him, and achieved a turnout of around 200 at the rally with just two hours’ notice.