Why I eventually changed my mind on Corbyn
2017 was the year I openly supported Corbyn.
On the 8th June I voted in a UK election for the first time. Despite spending the past two years of my life vowing I would never vote for Jeremy Corbyn, often putting him and his policies down, I had a complete change of political beliefs during his electoral campaign for many reasons.
To put this into context I was very anti-Corbyn. Around this time last year since I was so vocal at criticising Corbyn my friends would even label me as Tory. But, I have always been very much a Labour supporter. I was a staunch Blairite and everyone in my family has always voted for Labour. But with Corbyn at the helm I just felt I'd never be able to support the party and would have to go for the Greens or Liberal Democrats. (why not?)
Although I never disagreed with his left wing agenda, I just felt it was too unrealistic and over simplistic. Yes, we need to keep our welfare state but do we really need to nationalise the railway? Much of it seemed to me unfeasible and would just be another fake election promise.
I believed he would never win the support of his MPS or the wider electorate. He was an uninspiring leader. I remember sitting in my A-level Politics class watching his first PMQs where he was reading out questions from the public. It was a shambles, there was no attack, he was literally just giving Cameron the floor to preach Tory propaganda.
The failure of his leadership was only amplified in my eyes by the EU referendum. I don't think even a die hard Labour supporter can argue that Corbyn was strong during Brexit debates. To be that weak when you're in such an influential position is shameful. I do still partially blame Corbyn for Brexit. His lacklustre approach to the campaign and debates is surely part of the reason middle ground voters felt uninspired to stay in the Union.
All of these issues multiplied in my head and I was forever hoping that eventually one day Corbyn would resign or a vote of no confidence would finally be enough to get rid of him and John McDonnell.
However for some reason during this last electoral campaign my view on Corbyn completely altered. He was regenerated, a new man and leader, fiercer than ever. My turning point came when watching the electoral debates with Jeremy Paxman.
My friend's mum was talking to us about Corbyn when she went: "You know despite what you think about him, he really is resilient." And that's what turned me, because it's true.
He has spent the past two years constantly campaigning on morals he genuinely believes in. You can find old interviews and Corbyn is campaigning for the same ideals 30 years ago that he has now. There's not many leaders that is true for. None of what he does is for votes, if it was he'd probably have a wholly different manifesto.
Corbyn is a new breed of politician, a change that the UK hasn't seen since Blair. He truly engages with the public on more than just an electorate level, even though it was after the election his response to Grenfell was amazing.
He actually spoke and comforted victims, more than even Sadiq Khan did and not to mention Theresa May's effort. Corbyn makes an active effort to engage with the youth and see what we actually need.
Nearly all politicians fail to ever acknowledge young people as they see us a waste of time because we wont turn up, but Corbyn changed this, by us empowering him, he has empowered our generation. Now politicians see us as a vital section of the electorate and this may translate into policy.
In the debates Corbyn became a leader. No longer was his presence weak as seen in PMQs or the EU debates but he was angry and passionate with a clear vision. Whatever you thought of the debates, at least he bothered to show up.
Although Labour's policies may still be too left wing for some, under a government which is trying to privatise and remove any welfare we have, it's better to aim high. Even the unfairness of public sector pay caps and stretching of our national services needs to stop. I wanted to give Corbyn the mandate regardless of whether his policies are possible or not. Radical policies are better than nothing.
I think a lot of centrist voters were waiting for the next Blair but actually we need a whole new leadership, not a replica. Corbyn's style is unconventional but appealing. Whether you like it or not this man has the mandate of surviving two leadership bids and gaining 40% in 2017. He's still not perfect but ultimately, too many times people are focused on critiquing him and forget the bigger picture. He is for the many and not the few, and that's a breath of fresh air my centrist self is willing to endorse.