Jeremy Corbyn gets personal in one-off campaign speech
From The Guardian: “In 1983, I stood up in parliament for the first time and used my maiden speech to condemn deeply damaging cuts in public services and the NHS. It’s a tragedy that I could make a very similar speech today and it would once again hold true.”
“At the time, young protesters were being shot dead on the streets by the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. Nelson Mandela and hundreds of ANC leaders were in prison. The Conservative government refused to impose sanctions, entertained the leaders of the regime and banned protests outside the South African embassy in London.”
Being an MP helped bring attention to that ban and the wider cause of South Africa’s liberation, and got a group of us arrested. But the space for people in Britain to organise in support of freedom in South Africa was defended and strengthened. And I realised then that political leaders can, if they want to, create and preserve the space for others to organise and transform countries.”
His yardstick for measuring the performance of Labour and Conservative governments over the last three decades was the extent to which they dealt with unfairness and created a better society, he said.
“In that time, I’ve seen prime ministers and leaders of the opposition come and go, but for all their achievements and failures, what I didn’t see was a sustained attempt to rid this country of what really holds people back. I never heard a clear invitation for everyone in the country to work together and create a real alternative to our rigged economy,” he said.