Thanks to Barnaby Griffin for sharing;
My father, Andy Griffin, met Jeremy Corbyn last year in Blyth. I asked him to write down his experience. This is what he sent me:
Jeremy Corbyn at Blyth Spartans’ Club
19 November 2016
Ronnie Campbell invited Jeremy Corbyn to give a talk to the Blyth Labour Party in 2015 – after their last Christmas get together. He agreed to come.
Within that year he had become the Leader of the party and Ronnie Campbell had life-saving cancer treatment.
The afternoon prior to the visit he was chairing an important Labour party policy meeting at Loughborough but he drove to Blyth to honour his commitment to the local party gathering.
There was a meal at the club and when he arrived he received a standing ovation from his supporters.
There were around 100 at the venue and 10 tables with ten guests at each table. Between courses he visited each table and had lengthy conversations – mainly listening to the supporters’ situations in the dour economic climate. He was very patient and allowed group photographs to be taken.
There was never any posing he was just very accommodating to the public.
He sat beside me and I had a brief chat.
I commented that I had heard his interview (from Loughborough) and that Radio Five had given him an opportunity to comment on the success of the day. It was a brief, but very good interview and he came across very well. I told him so and he expressed surprise that they reported his words fairly and that they were not out to trip him up.
I said this was rare.
He laughed and agreed.
l asked how he could overcome the bias and unfairness and he shrugged and said he was powerless to change the media and all he could hope for was that his message could get through – like today’s meeting at Blyth.
He added that he had his own personal, permanent paparazzi photographer who sits in a blue car and waits for him to come out the house every day. He accepts that it comes with the job.
He continued to circulate around the entire room and was still talking to people late into the evening when we left.
It was genuine.
He really wanted to know about ‘ordinary’ people’s lives and how the Labour Party could help. There was no proselytising; he just showed human concern, and everyone who I spoke to, felt he was genuine and naturally sympathetic.
After dinner he first of all thanked the staff at the club who had served the meal. He praised Ronnie Campbell for his work and loyalty to the grassroots of the party. JC also knew the details of the Blyth MPs condition and praised his public battle with cancer.
The ground he covered was familiar territory: NHS, carers and the rich exploiting the poor. In his speech he showed a steely determination to change our unfair Society. He was eloquent and quietly determined and passionate. He had no notes but his sincerity could not be questioned. My wife, who is not political, was genuinely moved and emotional.
After his words he discreetly headed for the kitchen and spent some time with the staff that had been behind the scenes. He wanted them to know he appreciated their contribution to a very successful evening.
I have heard people say that ‘Corbyn seems a decent, honest bloke but I wouldn’t vote for him.’ Why not? It makes no sense.
Clement Atlee was not Mr Charisma with his glasses and pipe and quiet demeanour but he hammered the ‘war-hero’ Churchill at the ballot box.
And he gave us the NHS! If all those in favour of decency and honesty, vote for the man who has it in abundance, then the UK would be a better place to live for everyone.
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary