By Sarah Green
“A new dawn has broken, has it not” was uttered with irony across the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre following the emphatic anointment of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. This famous line from a victorious Tony Blair in 1997, reappropriated by Corbynista’s in their finest hour, surely now closes the chapter on New Labour forever.
The result had been trailed for weeks but if final confirmation of the 59.5 per cent victory was still needed it came in the form of the rictus grins on the faces of defeated candidates as they took their seats on the front row. With the result official, Corbyn took to the stage amidst gleeful cheers and muffled sobs from the other campaign teams as they assessed the magnitude of their defeat. Not that his supporters will agree, or care, but his first speech as leader left a lot to be desired. At times it seemed as if he was not used to addressing a crowd large enough to require a microphone and the speech was littered with well worn phrases describing the “spirit of hope and optimism” of his campaign. Corbyn was gracious in victory as he praised his opponents individually and humble as he spoke about the importance of working with the entire Labour Party.
His messages to the press was less kind as he raged about levels of intrusion in his personal life. “I say to journalists: attack public political figures. But please don’t attack people who didn’t ask to be put in the limelight, leave them alone, leave them alone in all circumstances.” His scorn towards the media was a popular theme of his victory speech and met with applause from the crowd. News filtered out that he had cancelled a Marr interview planned for tomorrow, leaving several hacks to wonder who would be next for the Corbyn boycott. It has been a long time since a politician has received so much public adoration and the media at the event seemed to be united in bemusement. As one said “it’s not like they’ve elected Marx. More like Sarah Palin.”
As on air commentators tried to find platitudes to describe the scale of Corbyn’s victory, crowds of people gathered outside hoping to catch a glimpse of their hero. They had to make do with Ken Livingston who received a large cheer as he made his way into the media area. Corbyn’s victory lap came a few hours later as he joined a solidarity march for refugees, leaving this reporter to make a swift exit and hope that the hearing loss from the din of gleeful activists will not be permanent.
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