Jeremy Corbyn was keen to ring the changes in his speech to the Labour Party conference – not just regarding politics.
He took a few swipes at the mainstream media response to his election as Labour leader, before going on to praise the social media as an instrument of information – and change.
“You might have noticed in some of our newspapers they’ve taken a bit of an interest in me lately,” he said.
“Some of the things I’ve read are this. According to one headline ‘Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the prospect of an asteroid “wiping out” humanity.’ Now, asteroids are pretty controversial. It’s not the kind of policy I’d want this party to adopt without a full debate in conference.
“Another newspaper went even further and printed a ‘mini-novel’ that predicted how life would look if I were Prime Minister. It’s pretty scary, I have to tell you. It tells us football’s Premier League would collapse, which makes sense, because it’s quite difficult to see how all our brilliant top 20 teams in the Premiership would cope with playing after an asteroid had wiped out humanity.
“And then the Daily Express informed readers that – I’m not quite sure how many greats there are here, but I think there are three or four – great-great-great grandfather, who I’d never heard of before, was a very unpleasant sort of chap who apparently was involved in running a workhouse. I want to take this opportunity to apologise for not doing the decent thing and going back in time to have a chat with him about his appalling behaviour.
“But then there’s another journalist who had obviously been hanging around my street a great deal, who quotes: ‘Neighbours often see him riding a Chairman Mao-style bicycle.’ Less thorough journalists might just have referred to it as just a ‘bicycle’, but no. So we have to conclude that whenever we see someone on a bicycle from now on, there goes another supporter of Chairman Mao. Thus, the Daily Express has changed history.”
So much for the mainstream media!
What about the social media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the like?
“Our new members want to be active and involved – want to have a say in our Labour Party’s policies; want to lead local and national campaigns against injustice and the dreadful impact of Tory austerity; want to work in their local communities to make people’s lives better,” said Mr Corbyn.
“They don’t want to do things the old way. Young people and older people are fizzing with ideas. Let’s give them the space for that fizz to explode into the joy we want of a better society. They want a new politics of engagement and involvement. Many of them are already active in their communities, in voluntary organisations, in local campaigns. And we’ve convinced them now to take a further step and join our Labour Party.
“What a tremendous opportunity for our Labour Party to be the hub of every community! The place where people come together to campaign; to debate, to build friendships, to set up new community projects; to explain and talk to their neighbours about politics, about changing Britain for the better.
“That’s going to mean a lot of change for the way we’ve done our politics in the past.
“Our new Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, is well up for that challenge. He’s leading the charge and leading the change of the much greater use of digital media as a key resource.
“That is the way of communication. It is not just through broadsheet newspapers or tabloids – it’s social media that really is the point of communication of the future. We have got to get that.”
This Writer couldn’t agree more.
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