Immigration Mug

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Two – order now on Kindle

The afternoon was bright in early May. Corbyn dozed in his deck chair at the top of his allotment, his bucket hat pulled over his eyes. The radio buzzed, and he half listened, drifting between sleep and the spring air.

‘The Labour Party has won Britain’s general election of 2015, becoming the biggest party in parliament, not quite with an outright majority, but is expected to form a government with the twelve seats won by the Green party, who recorded their best ever result in a general election.

‘We now cross over to the Rose Garden in Downing Street where Ed Miliband is about to make his first announcement to the media following his party’s victory.’

The radio crackled over its frequency, and one could hear the hollow tub of a microphone. Then the unmistakably earnest, nasal voice of the leader pleaded across the airwaves.

‘The people of Britain have elected me as their leader, and the Labour Party as their party, for a fairer Britain, rejecting austerity, that puts the young first and is no longer prepared to accept the cost-of-living crisis.’

He went on to make the usual tributes to his wife and children, his parents, the people of Doncaster and of Britain. A joke about a new cat was made and he paid tribute to the plucky political cub scout activists who made Labour’s victory possible and who asked not for reward, nor influence, nor respect, but who lived only to do a good turn.

But then he said something unexpected:

‘I would also like to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers who were unable to win their seat this time round. I would like to mention in particular a very special MP who the Parliamentary Labour Party of 2015 will be poorer for having lost. One of our longest-serving parliamentarians, a man close to my father and who was, until last night, the representative in my own London residence. A man who epitomises the grassroots activism at the heart of our movement, that man, as you know, is Jeremy Corbyn.’

Corbyn turned in his deck chair as respectful clapping followed. The new Prime Minister continued:

‘Jeremy did not make the journey with us last night, the seat being lost to our new partners, the Green Party. He was for years a stalwart of the left, one of the first MPs to speak out against Blair’s shameful war, and a campaigner for the oppressed everywhere from the communities of Islington, to the Miners, to the Print workers, to his courageous stand against the Poll Tax, the Chagos Islanders, the disappeared student teachers of Ayotzinapa, and many, many more. It is for these reasons that the loss of Jeremy Corbyn is a loss to Parliament, to the labour movement, and to the national interest.

‘Although I am certain that Jeremy would not accept a place in the House of Lords, I hope to speak to him soon to see how he can continue to work alongside the new government in an advisory capacity. I look forward to working with our new partners in repairing the damage done by five years of brutal austerity.’ Corbyn rolled from side to side and woke abruptly with a snort.

The newsreader murmured the afternoon news, reciting the names of the party leaders caught en route to the polling booths that morning, partners outfitted in hand.

He had done no such thing. His rag-tag bunch of local party members had traipsed the streets of Islington late into the previous evening, trawling estates and balancing door steps, requesting and suggesting and counting on votes. Afterwards, they all went for fish and chips, and that morning had risen early to do it all again.

Afterwards he had decamped to his allotment for some time alone. The usual roll of clouds had come in off the sea and carried away the morning-blue sky. Finally off his feet, his back ached and ankles throbbed and into his bucket cap Corbyn had slowly slipped, until his dreams had stirred him.

He reached for his flask and poured green tea into his Labour Party mug with its locally sourced slogan:

“Controls on Immigration”

A dozen of the things gathered dust in his shed, a gift from party HQ. He had potted them with cacti.

From Jeremy and Corbyn, Chapter Two – order now on Kindle

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