STEPHEN HEPBURN: ‘Selfie king of politics’ deserves to be PM

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with a young supporter at the Jarrow March at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with a young supporter at the Jarrow March at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow

Jeremy Corbyn is the selfie king of politics, as everybody knows who was lucky enough to hear and meet Labour’s engaging leader when he came to Jarrow.

No other British politician is asked to pose for as many pictures, and I love the way a man who deserves to be our next Prime Minister makes time for everybody.

He’s down to earth and agreed immediately to come to South Tyneside the moment I asked in the canteen queue, where Jeremy was buying teas and coffees for his staff, as he does every day, if he’d speak at the 80th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade.

Jeremy answered it would be a privilege and all of those fortunate to be in Monkton Stadium when he spoke passionately and with great insight and knowledge acknowledged they were in the presence of a leader in a different class.

In the stadium and at the Lakeside Labour dinner the night before, his ideas and integrity shone brightly.

Now contrast his genuine warmth and understanding with the sour tone set by Theresa May, whose plastic concern for “ordinary working class people” is as genuine as a 49p piece.

The Conservative Prime Minister reads out her scripted propaganda while dipping her hand into purses and wallets to grab wage-boosting tax credits and cutting the universal credit to come.

For her Brexit is a party game with Tory headbangers, and jobs in manufacturing - including the giant Nissan car plant in Sunderland - matter less to this PM than ideology and appeasing Conservative extremists.

I accepted the referendum result, as did Jeremy, the moment it was announced, and Mrs May, who was a Remainer, should focus on the best deal for Britain instead of publicly posturing.

May’s as unconcerned about your income, education, health, welfare, opportunities and prospects as she is in every other aspect of your life.

The only thing she’s after is your vote to keep her own job.

I’ve heard David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher declare they’ll represent working people and the centre ground of politics while lurching to the right and ruling for a wealthy elite.

May’s no different and is doing the same, but it was also bleakly amusing to hear her trashing the economic policies of Cameron and George Osborne which hurt working-class communities in the North East.

She speaks of them as if they were an alien force when May was their partner in crime, sitting in the Cabinet alongside the pair she now pretends were strangers to her.

May’s uninspiring and has no mandate when not one of us voted for her to be Prime Minister, and she’s deluded if this Tory thinks a referendum result she opposed is a blank sheet of paper to do whatever takes her fancy.

The gulf between Jeremy Corbyn’s decency and desire to make life better for all of Britain, and especially working class people, and Theresa May’s cynical positioning by the leader of a party that is the political wing of a wealthy tax avoidance industry is wider than the mouth of the Tyne.

He gets what we want and need. She gets speeches to deliver. He’s at home in the North East, as we witnessed on his visit.

She’s a Home Counties traditional Tory who is lost outside her cosseted comfort zone.

Theresa May is Prime Minister, but I know who would be a fantastic Prime Minister. His name is Jeremy, Jeremy Corbyn.