Kate Osamor Resigns As Shadow International Development Secretary

Kate Osamor MP has announced she is resigning from her position as Shadow International Development Secretary.

The British Labour Co-operative politician has been the Member of Parliament for Edmonton since May 2015 and was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. She has stated that she is concentrating on supporting her family through the difficult time they have experienced.

In a statement Ms Osamor said:

I am resigning my position as Shadow International Development Secretary to concentrate on supporting my family through the difficult time we have been experiencing. I remain fully committed to our programme for creating a society that works for the many, not the privileged few and will continue to campaign for this from the backbenches.

Osamor’s son Ishmael Osamor who was a Labour councillor was caught with drugs at a festival and later on resigned as a councillor. He later pleaded guilty to four charges. Osamor came under criticism for continuing to employ him as a communications officer.

Labour previously claimed Ms Osamor did not know about the case until her son was sentenced to 200 hours community service but the Times revealed she had written to the judge asking for leniency.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thanked Ms Osamor for her service in the role that gave Labour a new dimension “by committing Labour to tackle global inequality as well as poverty”.

The MP has also come under criticism for allegedly verbally abusing a journalist who was seeking information about her son’s actions. This drew strong condemnation from the NUJ.

Michelle Stanistreet the Union’s General Secretary said:

“Journalists, like any other workers, need to be able to go about their work without fear of threats or assault. It’s completely unacceptable to respond to legitimate press queries, however unwelcome they may be, with physical or verbal abuse.”

 

More follows

The People’s Vote: Why A Second Referendum Won’t Solve our Problems

Has the Remain campaign and argument really moved on at all? The Stronger In campaign was led from Downing Street and called Britain Stronger in Europe. Its Press Chief was James McGrory, who after the referendum went onto lead Open Britain, the group which now runs the People’s Vote campaign as well as many ‘youth movements’, such as Our Future Our Choice. This is what is known as Astroturfing, which is when an organisation presents a campaign as being organised by members of the public when it is in fact funded and operated by more established interests. Astroturf is not real grass at all, and Pro-EU activism in 2018 is certainly no real grassroots movement either.

Open Britain is not just the spiritual successor to Stronger In, it is merely a rebranding. It has not moved on from staging the debate as between two factions of the right, the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers with pie-in-the-sky hopes for future free trade agreements against the sensible, supposedly economically stable (2008 had been forgotten quickly), neoliberal establishment. Despite outspending Leave , it still lost to the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers.

Two years on, gone are the establishment stylings, in are the astroturf campaigns. This self-described “populist insurgency” seems to be everywhere. “For Our Future’s Sake” for example often seen all over the media. All it seems to offer a hatred of the elderly, and the argument that the debate can be won now that some of the other sides are dead.

Another tiny issue is whenever you look at the people backing these campaigns it is the same old establishment faces. The likes of Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine, Nick Clegg, and Deborah Meaden are not ordinary people themselves, nor the champions of ordinary people, or even liked by ordinary people at all. Not to mention the frequent wheeling-out of Alastair Campbell to tell the public that they have been misled and now the country is on course for a national disaster. The jokes write themselves.

For this reason alone, I’d think Remain would lose a second referendum anyway. They have learned nothing. They still talk in general terms about the economy as though it benefits everyone in the exact same way. This couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s actually a key reason people voted for Brexit. As Grace Blakeley recently tweeted:

“Especially when experts are giving warnings about GDP growth without realising that growth has been decoupled from living standards in many places for years.”

“Reminded of the response to such an economist at an event in Newcastle: ‘that’s your bloody GDP, not mine’”. 

They have shockingly little to say about what vision they have for the UK inside Europe, how would Leavers feel in control, or how could the EU be reformed.

Furthermore, if the left is seen to be complicit or even pushing to overturn a huge democratic mandate, it will open the door to a resurgent hard right. The Leave vote was based on a feeling of a lack of power and voice, so to tell normal people, who are now finally feeling as though their voice is being heard, that they are wrong and must vote again and ‘get it right this time’ is incredibly dangerous. This is the sad and very likely outcome of a second referendum: a second Leave vote, and a Labour Party utterly unpalatable to Leave voters, just as so many of the Social Democratic parties on the continent have become to their traditional bases.

 

And here is the kicker: this is all based on the false pretence that the EU is a socialist organisation that socialists should want to be part of.

I often hear friends and comrades from different left-wing traditions argue along the lines that only remaining in the EU is compatible with our internationalist values. But this is to mistake the EU’s intergovernmental politics with genuine internationalism. The EU consistently undermines genuine international solidarity within its own borders, creating a northern core and a southern periphery with disastrous consequences for the periphery. Its approach to the migration of Africans and Asians across its borders is about as far from internationalism as you could get. I am sad to report that this is not an accident. Rather, this is by design.

I have written previously about how the EU will stop us implementing our programme, I shall not go into too much detail here other than to point out that on top of Greece and Portugal, we have seen how the EU has treated Italy when a sovereign democratically elected state tried to implement a programme outside of the neoliberal mainstream. In slapping Italy down, the commission demonstrated and made an example of how it would treat a Labour government. We must proceed with extreme vigilance in this regard.

Once we begin to look at the EU critically, we quickly find that the main obstacle to genuine internationalism is not the British nation state, but the counterfeit of internationalism that is liberal supranationalism, and it’s chief institution: the EU. Far from for the many, this is an undemocratic economic union rigged in favour of the few.

However, even if this is all true, how is a British nation state a gain to an internationalist socialist? Well, as any Remainer will tell you, leaving the EU will diminish Britain’s global influence. Frankly, this is why true internationalists will embrace Brexit! Surely the curtailment of a British state which has committed such moral atrocities around the world should be welcomed. The disruptive effect of British capital on the developing countries of Europe and further afield will be stymied. Empire is long gone and no Tory fantasy will bring it back.

I’ll finish with this: the dying call of each and every remain argument goes as such: “As socialists, we should push for change and reform within the EU where it can make a real difference at a global level.” This is a fantasy akin to that of the Tory neo-colonialists. Social Democratic parties are being decimated across Europe in favour of far-right authoritarianism. Our fight to convince the people of the United Kingdom is a huge challenge in itself, so why are we pretending we can reform Europe as a whole? After all, so much of the European bureaucratic apparatus is controlled by Heads of State and their appointees. There is not yet a single real socialist amongst them.

Furthermore, we must only look again to Greece. In 2015, when it became obvious that the Greek government wasn’t willing to leave either the Union or the Eurozone, the EU imposed a third bailout plan, a brutal prescription of austerity that has cost countless lives whilst compounding the country’s economic catastrophe. It was an act that can only be described as one of economic imperialism. Even if you believe the EU is capable of reform, which I do not because its founding principles are fundamentally neoliberal, Greece teaches us that for a socialist state to stand up to the EU, it must be willing to walk away. A People’s Vote, whether with a Leave or Remain outcome, would only hinder our ability to reform the EU.

In summary, Remain would lose a People’s Vote, rally the far right, split the left, and hinder rather than help our chances of reforming the EU. It must not come to pass. It must be rejected by all good socialists.

BREAKING: EU Backs Theresa May’s Deal

The ‘Final Deal’ proposed by Theresa May has received the backing of all member states of the European Union.

The burden of ensuring that the country leaves the European Union by March 2019 has now been placed on the House of Commons.

MP’s will be expected to vote on the final deal, but recent comments suggest that the deal in its current form will not pass through the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister has been criticised by rebellious members of the Conservative Party alongside members of the DUP – without a majority the deal will fail to pass through the House of Commons.

Labour have announced they will vote against the deal when it comes before Parliament.

This is a developing story, further reactions will follow.

Brexit has splintered British politics – and it means we’ve already become a vassal state. But something needs to give way to heal our divisions

Brexit has been one of the most divisive issues Britain has ever faced in its history. What was once a issue polarised into two camps, ‘Leave vs Remain’, it has now escalated into a much more complex affair.

Britain has turned to tribalism. Both the electorate and Britain’s main political parties have splintered into all sorts of new groups. Our political parties are lost in a mirage, with members blurring the lines, disengaged with the core of the party to create their own identities.

The spectrum of these identities spreads far and wide.

UKIP, once a party determined to leave the EU, has turned into a far-right entity with the leadership of Gerard Batten. Not only are they supporting racist, anti-immigration groups such as the Football Lads Alliance, as well as being supporters of Tommy Robinson, but Batten wants a “complete and total withdrawal from the European Union”, whatever deal is agreed with the EU. Some might place Katie Hopkins in this group, who has stated that she ‘struggles to see a downside’ of a No Deal Brexit.

UKIP’s previous leader, Nigel Farage, leads the less right-leaning group of Brexiteers which includes individuals such as the Tories Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson. These individuals also want to “regain sovereignty” and believe Britain can survive a No-Deal Brexit with the right economic direction. They’ve also gained the support of famous figures such as Sir Michael Caine, who stated he’d “rather be a poor master of my fate than having someone I don’t know making me rich by running it”.

Alongside the Hard Brexiteers are the DUP, propping up the government with their 10 pro-Brexit MPs – with the main intention of keeping peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by placing a border in the Irish Sea.

Within the Conservatives, we see many divisions. Theresa May, faces opposition to her Chequers Plan from from more central Tories such as Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve – both pushing for a People’s Vote.

Chuka Umunna has been the leading figure from centrist Labour who’s shared similar views with Soubry and Grieves, marching alongside Soubry at the recent People’s Vote march. Sadiq Khan has also been expressing his desire for a People’s Vote for the sake of London.

Many more significant figures have come out to support a People’s Vote, including comedians Matt Lucas and Steve Coogan, and Humans actress Gemma Chan. This is certainly a group which is growing in popularity, becoming more and more visible as a more moderate, less extreme way of urging the nation to remain in the EU.

But it’s the same story with Labour as it is with the Tories. Other progressives, such as Yvette Cooper, stayed quiet on the issue of a People’s Vote during the march. Those leaning to the left of Labour, such as Corbyn and his Shadow Cabinet, remained tight lipped on a People’s Vote, pushing for a different approach to Brexit negotiations. Corbyn avoided the issue on the day of the People’s Vote march, instead reminding us of his support for the people of Chile 20 years ago to the day, who faced the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Whilst this was a great achievement by Corbyn, he still shied away from addressing the elephant in the room.

Keir Starmer remains one to watch on Brexit, announcing at the Labour conference that “nobody is out remain as an option”.

This follows the lines of the Green Party, who are “campaigning for a People’s Poll on the final deal, that explicitly includes an option to remain part of the European Union”. Caroline Lucas was another figure present at the People’s Vote march.

The Lib Dems push further on this message, explicitly promoting an Exit From Brexit as their key policy. This is also a message shared by up-and-coming activist and co-founder of youth group Our Future, Our Choice Femi Oluwole. He’s been a prominent figure on social media, particularly demolishing Nigel Farage on his LBC radio show with his excellent knowledge on EU law and confronting Tory members on their hypocritical ideology on immigration.

Finally, the SNP who have now declared they will support a People’s Vote. But, of course, their greater intention is for Scottish independence.

I’ve not covered every single identity; for example, Owen Jones, who dislikes Brexit, has stated that he is opposed to another referendum because it might lead to a ‘viciously poisonous campaign’.

But where does this leave us as a nation? How can we move forward as a nation when there are so many Brexit tribes, so many Brexit identities, so many Brexit desires?

My answer: something has to give way in the next few weeks. One of these tribes will have to react to the realities of the situation and will give in to the desires of another. Boris Johnson has stated that Britain will become a “vassal state” if we agree to remain in the customs union and single market. But I think we have already reached this point internally; Theresa May has failed to lead this country towards a clear Brexit, and no one knows what we are going to achieve out of our negotiations. Because of this, every tribe has continued to push their own message in the hope of building support.

But what this has done has left British politics as a vassal itself. No one has made any clear progress with Brexit because no one has had the power to implement their ideas. And what’s worse – little progress with Brexit has meant little progress with any form of change to things that matter in our society. Britain is already a vassal state.

So when should something ‘give way’? There are plenty of opportunities for this to happen, from this year’s Budget, to the ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament. What’s most important is in what direction shall things give way?

An anonymous pro-Brexit MP has already insisted that Theresa May has a matter of days before a leadership challenge will be initiated. Then, the DUP have also threatened to vote down this year’s budget if it does not suit their own desires.

Because May does not hold a majority in Parliament, does this mean May will have to appease the right? Or will she appeal to those on the left to make sure she can pass through some form of Brexit policy?

Even if we were to have another general election, could these tribes still hold us back from making progress on Brexit?

What I think, and I hope, is most likely is that the importance of the People’s Vote march will revitalise British politics. It’s been claimed that 700,000 people marched in London – the biggest since more than a million Britons marched against the invasion of Iraq. Yes, you can argue that the march against the invasion of Iraq did not change Labour’s final decision. But will Labour want to make the same decision again? Would Corbyn, or even May, want to decide against another mass movement which could potentially taint their legacies as leaders?

We are not going to be able to please everyone, but a general consensus is needed at the very least to create some sort of progress. If Corbyn or May decide to appease the movement, these tribes will begin to coincide, and political divisions will start to heal.

What is certain is that we are only just entering the beginning of a long period of Brexit turmoil. We’ve had a confused leadership for two years. Now comes the time where we seriously scrutinise the direction of Brexit. Now comes the time where each tribe will come to the forefront to claim their ideological dominance. Now comes the hard part.

But, we have to hope that our efforts of showing our adoration for Europe will help soothe our Brexit woes. Now is the time for politicians to look at the reality of the situation, halt the madness of our political status as a vassal state and push forward with some sort of sensible decision on Brexit.

The release of Robinson is not an affront, but a warning sign

Tommy Robinson, founder of the EDL and an influential figure among the rapidly organising British Far-right, was recently released on bail from his sentence for contempt of court, with his conviction quashed by leading judges to be retried in the near future. Perhaps it is fitting, or perhaps ironic, that Robinson, who was jailed for contempt due to his attempts to influence the result of a court trial on paedophilia, has himself been released due to the apparent mistrial of an influenced judiciary proceeding.

Following his release, Robinson has already addressed the media, thanking the support of right-wing and anti-Islam figures such as Gerard Batten of UKIP, and has spoken of the apparent “mental torture” he endured during his sentence. Within hours, Robinson has already politicised the issue and seemed to martyr his ‘torture’. Without doubt, this is not a miscarriage of justice; it is, without doubt, a key moment in British politics that should not be overlooked or underestimated.

The decision to release Robinson on bail pending retrial is not itself an issue, but instead evident of the merits of our judicial system. One of the cornerstones of our judiciary system is the protection of all, regardless of ethnicity, religion or political belief. It is the correct decision, given the inevitable bias and mass coverage of the incarceration of such a politically active figure, to re-evaluate his incarceration and maintain the legitimacy of our judiciary system. Like many people, my personal opinions of Robinson’s beliefs and actions are exceptionally negative; this does not mean I would support the denial of his fair trial based on political beliefs.

The key issue that will rise from the release of Robinson is not judicial, however, but political. Robinson, who pleaded guilty in his original trial, almost certainly knew that his actions would lead to imprisonment. Though his release has perhaps arrived sooner than anticipated, the rhetoric that will arise from it remains the same; rhetoric of victimhood, political incarceration and an assault on the freedom of speech of his beloved ‘common [white] man’.  Robinson now has, alongside the near fanatical following and calculated political ability, a false story of his heroic imprisonment; jailed for his valiant defence of the good English people, victimised by the oppressive state and the evils of the Islamophilic Elite.

His incarceration has the potential to act as a flag behind which the insidiously growing far-right of this country can rally behind, as evidence of their imaginary assault against their freedom of speech and the necessity of their growing violence against those who oppose them.

Perhaps the near fantastical picture painted above needs some degree of justification. Such justification is not, by any stretch, difficult to come across. The violence of individuals and groups affiliated with such organisations as the FLA is already widely documented, including the assault on Steve Hedley following his speech at a counter-demonstration against the FLA. Recently, Far right activists, 3 of whom were UKIP members, attacked a socialist bookshop in London. The ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ petitions on such sights as change.org received tens of thousands of signatures. Darren Osbourne, who it must be stated is placed at the most extreme end of the political spectrum, was reportedly obsessive over the speeches and posts of the EDL before committing terrorism with the Finsbury park mosque attack. Even in peaceful political protest, the far-right attracts figures in the thousands at their marches and demonstrations; this is both a significant figure and evidence of a growth and mobilisation unseen for decades.

As argued by Owen Jones, in Robinson, the Far right now has their Oswald Mosely figure behind which they can further rally and organise. The far right now has its martyr, its leader, and its champion.

This is not something that anyone who respects our society, our democratic process, or generally human decency, should allow to happen unchallenged. The views and rhetoric of this movement, be it from the alienation and hatred of an ethnic denomination, to growing organised violence and unrest, is symptomatic of progression towards fascism and variants of fascist political support. Though it may be the right of all in our society to freedom of opinion, such views must be challenged, their validity wholly disproved and their growth prevented. It is the job of not only the left but all in society. Make no mistake – this is not an issue that can simply be swept out of sight. The far right now is an organised growing political group with a leader perceived as an apparent martyr; now, more than ever, is the time that they must be proven wrong and stopped.

British politicians are failing a nation – it’s time for progressive politics

A question for you. Do you think that the government has directly changed your life in Britain for the better in the last 10 years? One would guess that the majority would answer: not really.

Britain has come to a standstill. We could once boast that we were the fifth-largest economy in the world. But what good did this actually do for our society? How has the British government actually helped people directly?

One cannot deny that the Great Recession, which began in the late 2000s, has meant that Britain has needed to rejuvenate our economy.

Has that worked? Not really.

Growth in wages flail behind inflation, GDP growth has dropped dramatically, and tackling the deficit is continuously pushed back. And let’s not forget the harrowing impact which Brexit will have on our economy.

As we continue to boast about our economic prowess, homelessness is back on the rise, 30% of children live in poverty and mental health issues have steadily increased amongst Britons since the early 1990s.

Have our most recent governments begun to fail the British people? I think so.

For too long Britain has stalled at a ground level. We have bowed down to a Conservative government for eight years; a party who centre predominantly around the economy. And yet, they have failed at two levels; to revitalise the economy, and to bring social change promised to the lower and middle income earners. This needs to change.

I am sure many will shout: “but what about Jeremy Corbyn?” “Corbyn’s principles are what the country needs”. However, he will continue to live a lie until he opposes Brexit. A ‘jobs-first Brexit’ translates into, at the very least, a ‘soft Brexit’, which could also be classed as ‘no Brexit at all’. We have seen the countless number of jobs which shall disappear from a poorly organised Brexit; from industrial powerhouses such as Airbus and BMW, to the banks in the City of London. Corbyn has to get over himself, listen to his members and evoke some sensibility.

And that is exactly what British politics needs right now. Sensibility.

How does one class ‘sensibility’ in the face of British politics? Sensibility equates to progressive thinking. Sensibility equates to merging economics with social justice. Sensibility is placing Britain back onto an economic path which actually helps the poor, rather than lavishing the rich with more wealth.

A sensible politician cares about the people who live in this country, whether British, European, Indian, American – you name it. The diversity of British citizenship moulds the greatness of our nation.

A sensible politician cares about those who are suffering the most, those who struggle to maintain a basic standard of living. We cannot continue to live in a country where the richest 10th of Britain own 45% of the nation’s total wealth. Britain’s income gap is astronomical.

A sensible politician considers new 21st century social issues, pioneering groundbreaking legislation which allows every British citizen the freedom and liberty to live in this country. It is estimated that there are between 300,000-500,000 transgender citizens in the UK. Not one of them can determine their own personal identity without a series of lengthy medical tests and procedures, taking years to complete.

A sensible politician appreciates the environment. As global temperatures rise, it would be ignorant to deny the damage we are placing on the world. Investment into green technology, which nations such as Finland and Sweden have continued to do so, would prove our place on the global stage, eager to preserve the world we live in. How can we isolate ourselves as a nation intrinsically connected with every corner of the world?

Our two-party politics is in disarray. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are two politicians hung up on winning the political game. How can you vote for a Prime Minister who alters her position to sneak her way through power?

And there are many more on the British political stage who play a similar game. Boris Johnson, who once opted for Britain to stay in the single market, altered his views in the hope of grasping on to Tory leadership. Nigel Farage has backtracked on many of his views. Jacob Rees-Mogg knows that a no-deal Brexit will make many Britons a lot poorer – and make him a lot richer.

Do these politicians really care for our country?

It’s time we demanded action, change, progress. Away with the selfish, toxic politicians. In with the sensible, progressive demeanour which our nation greatly needs.

Britain deserves better.

The Labour Party Faces New Divisions Over Sex Work

Framed as an attempt to cut down on online sex trafficking, the pair of bills commonly known as the FOSTA-SESTA package became law in the United States in April this year. In essence, this new law was made to crack down on the advertisement of sex work online which in itself has been met with controversy on all sides of the political spectrum.

In the last week, the dispute has moved to the United Kingdom after a group of MPs, headed by Labour’s Sarah Champion brought the debate to Parliament. Ms Champion is openly in favour of the Nordic Model (the criminalisation of the purchase of sex), and wants to pressure the UK government to bring this model to Britain. Even Jeremy Corbyn himself has spoken out in favour of the this model. Divisions within the Labour Party over the issue are growing and many are calling on their leadership to speak out against the proposals and back full decriminalisation of sex work. Whether this actually happens or not, remains to be seen.

A key argument against Ms Champion’s proposals is that the criminalisation of sex work will just drive the industry underground, thus putting sex workers themselves at risk. It is naïve to think that any amount of regulation could completely eradicate what is a well-established industry. The internet plays a vital role in the safeguarding of sex workers. In a study undertaken by Beyond the Gaze, it was found that three quarters of sex workers identified the internet as an important factor in their safety. Through taking their work online, there is access to vital support systems and the ability to vet clients prior to meeting them. The idea then that getting rid of online advertising platforms would protect sex workers from exploitation is misguided to say the least.

In countries such as Greece where sex work is heavily regulated, many sex workers now practice illegally leaving them at the mercy of pimps and trafficking gangs who seek to exploit them. This is a real world example of how criminalisation is not always the best option. The aftermath of the law passing in the US has been the exact opposite of its supposed intentions leading to sex workers being pushed back onto the streets and back into the hands of those who exploited them. For those on the left who hold workers’ rights close to their hearts, this should be a real wake up call.

Sex work in itself is a complex industry and no two workers join the industry for the same reason. There is no denying that exploitation exists and no one calling for decriminalisation is arguing that. The idea, however, that a change in law would somehow ‘save’ those forced into the industry is very wrong. Even survivors of sex trafficking are arguing against the proposed changes and find it bewildering that very few of those in power are choosing to consult them. No industry is without exploitation, such is the nature of capitalism but to make potentially dangerous changes to the regulation of an industry without consulting its workers is dangerous.

Terminology is also important when discussing this issue. A transcript from the parliamentary debate appears to show Labour MPs Jess Philips and Sarah Champion forcing the use of the term prostitute as opposed to sex worker. The sex industry is broad and though there are some who refer to themselves as prostitutes, there are many who do not. In a model motion that is being put to CLPs across the country it is noted just how many different roles are included in the term sex worker. It is not the job of those outside of the industry to decide which is correct. This again is an example of how little dialogue there has been between those within the industry and those in positions of power.

For self-proclaimed feminist MPs to constantly use the argument that they are in some way ‘saving women’ by working to legislate against sex work is again damaging. Regardless of an individual’s thoughts on the morality of sex work, the industry exists and to introduce a law that would be harmful to sex workers of all genders is in no way going to ‘save women’. This rhetoric is far from helpful and takes attention away from the real problem at hand.

The Labour Party in the United Kingdom has historically prided itself on being the Party of the workers; indeed the clue is in the name, so to speak. For many, this fact is fundamental to the debate. As put in a recent article for LabourList, ‘it is self-evident that workers should be the ones to determine how best to improve their working conditions’. The sex industry exists and where an industry exists so do workers who must be protected. The Labour Party must recognise this and treat the industry just like any other. It must listen to the workers, and work to strengthen their rights.

The Inaugural LabourLive – Success or Failure?

‘A festival of music, art and politics’, LabourLive promised a lot and for all intents and purposes, it delivered. From the Corbyn merch-clad individuals to the pro-EU protesters, this was a day that went beyond all expectations, a day full of surprises. Glastonbury it wasn’t, but there was something unique, and rather special about it.

It would be wrong to put LabourLive into the same category as a music festival. Equally it would be wrong to compare it to a literary festival or indeed a conference. To quote the Independent, it was ‘part fun fair, part circus, part music festival, part socialist summer school’, there really was something for everyone. As a volunteer, the only complaint received was the lack of sufficient tea and coffee, a most British complaint. It is true that there could have been better food and drink provision but this just gives weight to the fact that there were far more people in attendance that expected.

For those looking to leave the festival inspired, LabourLive did not disappoint. From talks on liberation to a question time featuring MPs, trade unionists and journalists, the political education aspect of the festival was high. Certainly some speakers fared better than others, with Owen Jones drawing a predictably large crowd given the demographic of many of the attendees. Naturally, there were controversial moments with Unite’s Len McCluskey seemingly on the warpath against some of Labour’s more moderate MPs. Indeed the majority of guest speakers seemed to have a similar ideology to each other, which is unsurprising given the nature of the event’s organisers. Political events such as these will always struggle to move away from being echo chambers, but for many activists who spend most of their time battling with those of opposing views, it was almost a comfort to spend a day in the presence of like-minded individuals.

One could almost sense the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn in the air, the staff suddenly on high alert for the inevitable mob that would surround him. To those outside of the Corbyn bubble this almost cult-like behaviour is unfamiliar and for some, scary. Indeed if you were to visit the merchandise stalls, you were hard pushed to find something on offer that didn’t have some nod to ‘the absolute boy’. Many are quick to argue whether we have reached ‘peak Corbyn’ and whether the (small m) momentum is fading. But if you were to ask any of the festival goers chanting the infamous ‘oh Jeremy Corbyn’ yesterday, they would have given you a different story.

The main event was hotly anticipated and indeed many remarked that those who had purchased tickets had only done so to witness one of the Labour leader’s barnstorming speeches. This is however perhaps a naïve view of the day. There were people from across the Labour Party and indeed from other left-leaning Parties such as the Green Party in attendance. This was an event run and billed to the left of the Party as was clear from the choice of speakers. However it wasn’t a complete ‘JezFest’. It was children playing freely, it was students celebrating the beginning of summer, it was generally a fun (and in many cases free) day out. As a volunteer, it was hard not to catch the bug.

At the end of the day, this festival was about more than just ticket sales. This was about uniting a divided Party and bringing together people from all communities, all ages and all walks of life for a common cause. Financially it was not a great success for the Party but one must look beyond the media spin to the opinions of those actually there. The Tories can mock, and they will, but LabourLive brought something new to British politics. In comparison to the failures of Tory Glastonbury, LabourLive was a great success. ‘Why is it just the left who have all the fun in politics?’ lamented George Freeman, perhaps it is because we are willing to have events like LabourLive, willing to engage with all people, to take risks and to have fun.