Overflowing Corbyn rally in Leicester
Sofia Wiking, Leicester Socialist Party
On 6 May Jeremy Corbyn held a rally in Leicester. Labour had booked a large meeting room at the Tigers Stadium, holding 800 people. The room was packed full, with people standing at the back.
Outside, people who didn't get in started chanting: "Let us in! Let us in!" Inside, the anticipation was high, and people started clapping prematurely, taking several minutes to accept Corbyn had not yet arrived.
The meeting was only advertised through Labour members and held indoors. A bigger outdoor rally would definitely have been possible and could have reached more people, as well as providing a clearer contrast to the May campaign, to which neither journalists nor the public are being invited.
Corbyn's speech focused on how the economy is "rigged in favour of the rich," and how he wants to "draw a line" under the privatisations of public services, including the vast amount taken from the NHS.
Corbyn also made references to concrete Labour policies such as the £10 an hour minimum wage and ending zero-hour contracts, which got a massive cheer from the audience.
These are excellent points, but more is needed on how this can be achieved. While we do need to collect taxes from big corporations, he also needs to be explicit about the need to renationalise all the privatised industries, from transport to energy.
One highpoint was when Corbyn said that we are socialists and internationalists, and it is crucial for labour movements to link up across borders. This got a huge cheer from the audience.
Speaking soon after the local election results, Corbyn recognised that they were a disappointment, showed there is a long way to go, and that we have to fight even harder to win in June. He said that we face a huge challenge, but that this could be the chance of a lifetime to change Britain.
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