The Arab Spring rendered broadcasters obsolete. Social media set the agenda. Amateur news reporters and previously-sidelined journalists were able to shape a new narrative: that it wasn’t Mubarak and his media elites that controlled Egypt. It was everyday citizens.
In many ways, our task is harder. We may not be faced with a brutal military regime, willing to crush public demonstrations and curb private freedoms at a moment’s notice. But we are faced with something more difficult: the illusion that our government is any better.
To campaign effectively and be taken seriously in these circumstances is difficult. Most people feel our government is a model-democracy. We have iPhones, clubbing, craft breweries and Burger King; we’re advanced. We’re professional.
And yet we have a government that treats its poor and disabled like third-class citizens. We have a government that slashes funding for public services and outsources them to free-market profiteers. We have a public and mental health crisis; directly linked to reforms of state schools and work/life imbalance.
We have a government hell-bent on destroying the environment through fracking and appointing ministers with links to “big oil.” We have a Health Secretary who wanted to privatise the NHS. A DCMS Secretary abusing sex workers and a Home Secretary who’s handed-out lucrative contracts to private security firms.
Does this sound like a “model-democracy?”
We have a wholly unelected Second Chamber, an unelected Head of State and a government run by an out-of-touch Eton-elite.
Things are far from perfect.
And, yet, because our government isn’t chopping heads off, banning drinking or blacklisting pornography, we have a “modern, liberal democracy.”
Our media is no better.
Not only have Corbyn’s views been sidelined for the past 30 years, he is now openly mocked by Labour MPs and media pundits; whether he’s fortuitous enough to be present or not.
The Iraq Inquiry, as revealed in the Chilcot Report, shows a series of events that could well be the most disastrous in modern political history.
Yet who was it that opposed this war from the beginning? Who was it that consistently voted for an inquiry from the beginning? Who was it to warn about the future consequences from the beginning? It wasn’t David Cameron. It wasn’t Tom Watson or Hilary Benn or Angela Eagle. It was Jeremy Corbyn.
Our entire leadership team has been proven right again and again; whether on welfare, war or cuts; Corbyn, McDonnell and Abott have all displayed the character and intelligence necessary to lead not just the Labour Party but the entire country.
And still, due to media disinformation and outright propaganda, we find ourselves in a position where this message is struggling to be heard.
We live in the 6th richest country in the world, we have technology at our finger-tips and the free use of social media.
An Arab Spring-style event could not be easier.
We need to use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that Jeremy is not just leader of the Labour Party; but Prime Minister of this country.
Corbyn has already begun to use alternative media channels to speak to people across the UK.
Virtual rallies have been held via video-link, allowing him to speak to thousands of people at once without being present. And the message seems to be resonating.
Almost 150,000 people have joined the Labour Party as full-members in less than two weeks; the vast majority of whom cited support for Corbyn as their main reason for joining.
Even if only 66% of these members joined to support him, that’s an extra £3.5 million in annual income for Labour from Corbyn supporters alone.
However, in addition to these new members, it is important to remember the hundreds of thousands who supported Jeremy in last year’s leadership election.
Many of these members had been members for years – even decades. Some had joined in order to vote for Jeremy or immediately after his election. But what matters isn’t when people joined; it’s that they voted for him.
Roughly 300,000 people have now joined Labour in the past year to support Corbyn. Taking the £3 per month standard membership fee (as above) and multiplying this by the number of new members; Labour has benefited from a £10.8 million income surge over the past 12 months.
This proves two things: first, Jeremy Corbyn’s message is resonating, despite all media and Parliamentary attempts to publicly destroy him. Second, unless the Labour Party wants to plunge itself into a financial black-hole; governing figures within the Party need to do all they can to hold-on to these members.
The PLP claims that Jeremy’s leadership is destroying the Party. If an increase of 300,000 members in 12 months and a seven-figure income boost is “destruction,” then perhaps they ought to answer what “success” is.
The truth, is this: We have the ability to not only ensure that Corbyn remains as Labour Leader – we have the ability to make him Prime Minister. We have the ability to not only transform politics through social media – we have the ability to revolutionise Labour. We have the ability to not only move social justice up the agenda – but the responsibility to love our neighbour.
So let’s pool our resources. Let’s get out. Let’s campaign. Let’s listen. Let’s harass. Let’s provoke. Let’s persuade…
And let’s do this!