Guest Publication: Joanna Rothon: Visit To A Corbyn rally


I asked Joanna Rothon if she would mind recording her thoughts about her visit to a Jeremy Corbyn rally on 28th August. She was kind enough to write up her thoughts- which, I think you’ll agree, demonstrate the power Jeremy Corbyn’s movement is having. And, being a wonderful person, she went one better and provided photographs from the rally. I’ve always held the opinion that inspiration is a chain reaction of proxemics. Joanna was inspired by Jeremy; now her descriptions truly have me inspired- Thank you very much Joanna.

The Man Of The People; The Voice Of The People

The invitation said to arrive at 12.30pm for 1.30. My daughter (Jacoba, aged 17) and I arrived just after half past twelve and the Guildhall was already more than half full, with a high percentage of middle aged to elderly leftie-looking types. It is many decades since I arrived that early for a gig in order to get a good seat.

By 1.30 the hall was full and I was getting restive. The organisers were taking selfies up on the platform, but no Jeremy.

There was a slightly incompetent sound-check which caused a mixture of laughter and noises of exasperation from the audience, who seemed excited and galvanized but by no means uncritical.

The local representatives took their seats, and then finally Jeremy Corbyn appeared to a welcoming cheer from the crowd. He sat down and listened unobtrusively while the four local speakers gave us their five-minutes worth on the issues facing young people, local politics ( the city turned Blue in May) and trades unions.

It was all straight talking stuff, with no sloganeering, no factionalising and no whipping up of emotions.

Then it was Jeremy’s turn – what we had all been waiting for.

I was determined to listen with a critical ear. My natural inclination is to believe in fairies – but I know they are no match for the “wicked wizards” of big business.

He spoke for around 40 minutes, with passion and a breadth of knowledge that showcased his three decades on the job. He spoke without any notes that I could see, and with a strong personal connection to the people of Plymouth.

Photo taken by Joanna Rothon during Jeremy's speech

[Photo taken by Joanna Rothon during Jeremy’s speech]

This was not a man sploshing uneasily around in a suit and brand new wellies in the Siberia of Somerset. He was relaxed and completely at ease, talking in his shirtsleeves, of his pride of the connection of his party with the trades unions and the social conditions that gave birth to the Labour party barely a hundred years ago.

My daughter, who had been dozing on my shoulder, was alert and listening hard. What came over was his passion for democracy, particularly in his own party in which the process of decision making has been funnelled upwards to a few of the high end elite.

He is not so much eager to push his own agenda, as to open up discussions in order to reach the best outcomes for the British people.

Photograph of Corbyn warmly greeting guests taken by Joanna

[Photograph of Corbyn warmly greeting guests taken by Joanna]

He talks and listens to everyone. His integrity shines through, rather than exploiting a seductive charisma aiming to pull people into agreeing with his point of view.

The rally finished with a few questions from audience which Jeremy answered easily and without prevaricating.

After three decades as an MP Jeremy Corbyn is without cynicism, full of passion and hope for the future. We gave him a standing ovation, after which he hopped off the platform to commune and submit to being photographed with his adoring fans.

All of us, who were distraught at the result of the general election, and have been floundering in the Slough of Despond, furious and exasperated at the impotence of political opposition to poisonous and destructive Conservative policies aided and abetted by right wing media moguls; we now have a voice, and the man to go with it.


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