Francesca Martinez has been a hit on TV in shows from Russell Howard’s Good News and The Frank Skinner Show to Loose Women and Question Time. The award-winning comedian, actress and writer has had many sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival and other comedy festivals around the world.
But ever since former Grange Hill actor started a campaign against the brutality of Tory cuts to disability welfare in 2012, Martinez has also been an outspoken champion for disability rights and against Conservative attacks on help for disabled and infirm citizens. Martinez has cerebral palsy but prefers to describe herself as “wobbly.”
Last month she joined many public figures in an open letter endorsing Jeremy Corbyn as “a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world.”
And last week a video she filmed urging people to vote Labour and warning that the Tories are “creating a society where there is no support network, or compassion, or social responsibility” went viral.
On Tuesday afternoon Jeremy Corbyn filmed an interview with Martinez and it is rather different from other recent interviews on TV with the Labour Party leader where he has faced aggressive attacks from whether he watches the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day to his response to racism and antisemitism which Labour has far more robust systems in place for than the Conservative Party.
Francesca’s Martinez interview is rather more revealing about the Labour leader’s record and character and well worth a watch:
Among issues the pair discussed climate change and Jeremy Corbyn’s fight against racism since he stood up to the National Front in 1977.
They also talked about standing up for a belief in justice and disability rights. “We met when you were part of a group of people with wheelchairs that were blocking central lobby in Parliament and quite rightly so as Parliament wasn’t treating you properly,” recalled Corbyn.
“You were one of the only MPs to come to those demos and that meant a lot to us back then,” said Francesca Martinez.
Asked what he would like his legacy to be, the Labour leader replied: “I’d like our legacy… all the people who have put together this campaign… all those people who have worked in communities for years to improve their lives, I want them to feel more powerful, our communities to feel more powerful, above all our young people to feel both they have a sense of security in their lives – in the sense of education and work, but also the ability to achieve things for everybody else.
“If we end up with a society that’s more empowered and more equal and there’s no rough-sleeping and we are on the world stage and we are seen as the voice for human rights, the voice for peace and the voice for seriously looking at people’s security from climate change and all the other threats that are there, then I think we will have achieved a lot.”
Jeremy Corbyn added: “Tony Benn once said to me the best leaders are the ones that are forgotten because we have empowered ourselves.”
Asked what his message is for voters, Jeremy Corbyn added:
“Think very carefully about your democratic opportunity. Your democratic opportunity to decide the general direction in which our society goes. Are we going to accept the inequality, the poverty and injustice or are we going do something a bit different and try and change it around by investing in our people for the future and investing in our planet?”