As the Tories’ lead in the polls narrows, and Theresa May’s malfunctioning android interview technique exasperates journalists and the public alike, I’m beginning to feel something resembling hope. I am aware that this is not good. It’s the hope that kills you, in the end.
More notable even than May’s incompetence in this general election campaign has been Jeremy Corbyn’s affable brand of charm. While May is swerving the TV debates and looking wooden around members of the public, Corbyn is sharing Pringles with them and passionately declaiming about food banks to audience applause. Seeing the things I always admired about Corbyn – first and foremost his commitment to a more equal society – translating surprisingly well on to our screens has been a strange experience.
Over the past year, I have become what you might call a shy Corbynite, and I suspect I’m not the only one. I went from embracing him enthusiastically at the outset and voting for him as leader in the first contest, to feeling deflated about his performance in the referendum and sceptical of his ability to properly lead the party. When I voted for him a second time in the leadership election, I didn’t spread it about. The reframing of Corbyn as a doddery old fool whose politics belonged in the 70s or 80s and whose incompetence would result in a Tory landslide was so complete that I felt somewhat embarrassed about the previous two years. What was I thinking? Was I high?
I had become so used to political commentators popping up every time I expressed admiration for Corbyn’s principles to call me naive or a narcissist or an Islington-dwelling champagne socialist or a loony lefty, as though we were in some pompous game of whack-a-mole, that I began to sort of believe it. But I never did stop believing in the same things Corbyn does – in equality, social justice, social mobility and peace. Nor did I ever doubt that families such as my own would be much better off under a Labour government than a Tory one. Which is why I’m going to vote for him again.