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Posted on 8 June 2017 at 11:41 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Gateshead, June 2017, photo by Nick Fray

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Gateshead, June 2017, photo by Nick Fray   (Click to enlarge)

Corbyn's support increases further during last week of campaign

During the final week of the general election campaign Socialist Party members have been out in force to support Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity, pro-working class policies - on street stalls and at his large rallies across the country.

Clare Wilkins reported from Birmingham:

There had only been two days' notice of the rally on social media, yet crowds flocked to it. An overwhelmingly youthful audience of at least 5,000 poured into Millenium Point.

The audience listened to actor and comedian Steve Coogan, the band Clean Bandit and a first time voter who stood up to the EDL. Steve Coogan talked about Tory policies and the first time voter said that we should not let the Tories split grandparents from grandchildren with their policies. There was a huge cheer when she mentioned Jeremy's promise to scrap tuition fees.

Then a massive cheer went up as Jeremy Corbyn walked through the crowd to stand in the middle of it to speak. Adding to the atmosphere, a double rainbow appeared as he started to speak (see pic below)!

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Birmingham, June 2017, photo by Clare Wilkins

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Birmingham, June 2017, photo by Clare Wilkins   (Click to enlarge)

Jeremy ran through some of the key policies in the Labour manifesto and spoke of the importance of young people turning out to vote on Thursday; and of the crowds of young people who have come to his rallies.

Socialist Party members from the two Birmingham party branches - and also from Coventry - staffed stalls, leafletted and sold 157 copies of the Socialist. We gave out 3,000 leaflets for our Birmingham post-election public meeting at which socialist former MP Dave Nellist will speak, as well as hundreds of a 'Tories Out' leaflets.

Elaine Brunskill reported from Gateshead:

We had feared that the torrential rain might put people off going to Jeremy Corbyn's rally - not a chance! The crowd was huge - local media estimated 10,000.
2,000 couldn't get in to the main rally and were in the over-flow car park. At one point hundreds of young people managed to evade the police and break through their cordon.

The mood was incredible. Youth were out in force. Working-class school students were particularly visible, waving their home-made banners.

Prior to Corbyn's arrival, local MPs were on the platform. Their speeches were largely well received, though Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central MP (who had claimed Corbyn could be accused of racial discrimination when she lost her position as a shadow minister) received a noticeably cooler response.

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Gateshead, June 2017, photo by Nick Fray

Jeremy Corbyn rally in Gateshead, June 2017, photo by Nick Fray   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members noted that amongst a layer of people at the rally who have returned to the Labour Party there was a clear understanding of the necessity of ousting the Blairites.

The response to Corbyn was phenomenal. As soon as he was spotted, the chant: "Corbyn! Corbyn! Corbyn!" erupted. He spoke well, setting out his policies. He was cheered when he talked about the need for mass movements, against zero hour contracts, etc. Every time he mentioned either the Tories or austerity there were boos.

The sheer energy of the young people made this rally hugely inspiring. It was a glimpse of how young workers and students are starting to make a mark on history. When these young people decisively move into action they will be an unstoppable force.

Hugh Caffrey reported from Weaver Vale:

This is a 'swing seat' which the Tories hold with a 800-vote majority. At just 24 hours' notice, 1,000 predominantly local working-class people turned out to hear Jeremy Corbyn make a very good speech.

There was a real buzz at this rally and a very strong mood that 'this is the start of something' as well as a sense that Labour could win.

Paula Mitchell reported from Croydon and Islington:

The Croydon rally was called at a day's notice, as one of a number of simultaneous rallies around the country. John McDonnell and Ben Elton were among the advertised speakers and there was an impressive live link-up with Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Birmingham.

The rain beforehand was torrential, but around 2,000 were there and there was a lively mood - for instance we saw a teenager leap out of her mum's car saying "I'm so excited!"

And on the very last day of campaigning, Jeremy Corbyn toured the country, speaking at six rallies, and ending in his home area of Islington:

The turnout in Islington was hard to estimate - maybe around 3,000 - because people were in both the ticket-only rally inside the Union Chapel and there were also crowds outside, coming and going.

The atmosphere was remarkable, like a football match or a rock concert. People stood for two hours or more, singing, chanting, and when Jeremy Corbyn arrived in his tour bus the roar was huge - showing huge enthusiasm for political ideas!

Corbyn's bus arrives in Islington, 7.6.17, photo by Judy Beishon

Corbyn's bus arrives in Islington, 7.6.17, photo by Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Around 40 Socialist Party members were there to support the event and Corbyn's policies, and we sold 248 copies of the Socialist. As people were leaving they were carrying our leaflets, keen to take them home to look at later.

________________________

The Socialist Party has been fighting hard to help spread Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity message and bring him as much support as possible. Jeremy himself has done well during the election campaign - on television, in interviews and at his rallies.

His bold manifesto has attracted more and more support as the campaign has progressed, especially from young people, but whether he's had enough time to build this up to achieve a victory is still unpredictable.
Eve of poll opinion polls vary from one from Qriously that gives Labour a small lead over the Tories to several that give the Tories a sizeable lead - eg 7 points according to YouGov or 10 points according to ComRes.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 June 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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