It wasn’t love at first sight, more like a cigarette end down the back of the settee* that smouldered unnoticed for many long hours through the dark night of the Brexit campaign. By dawn, the seat was alight, but even then I could have put it out with a bucket of cold water. However, the flames were fanned by the whoosh of resigning MPs until they caught the flapping curtains and before I knew it the wallpaper was on fire and my bucket of water was as much use as the Parliamentary Labour Party.
(*Damned EU bureaucracy ruining this analogy with their meddling and insistence settees are made of fire retardant materials.)
I tried closing all the doors and windows, denying my new found love of oxygen, but doors and windows have gaps and I live in an old and creaking house with floorboards.
Loving you is far from easy. My friends, family and mainstream media think you are a bad influence and that I have been brainwashed. They think I am fantasist with limited self-control*, that I have been caught up in a tsunami of the lefty unwashed* and that you, like Charles Manson*, expect cultish devotion*.
(*comments made by the Guardian and some of its readers – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/30/donald-trump-labour-personality-cult-hadley-freeman )
They criticise you for wearing sandals and having the charisma of an ageing labrador* and they think if they point at these faults I will return to my senses. They’ve even tried setting me up on a blind date with a man called Owen who says the same things as you while wearing a crisp white shirt with his sleeves rolled up.
(* the headline of a piece in the Independent recently http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-labour-voters-like-me-want-a-champion-for-british-workers-not-a-sandal-wearing-a7150601.html)
But as long as you wear those sandals without socks and try not to slobber on me I’d still choose you over Owen.
What they don’t realise is I don’t care how you look, or how you sound, although whispering dirty socialist slogans in my ear does send me all a quiver. It’s the fact you live what you say. You believe what you speak and you refuse to evade questions, however loaded they maybe.
Before I met you I was labelled as an idealist as if it were a dirty word. Now, because of you, I know that I am democratic socialist and that I am not alone in believing that there is a better way, one that respects everybody and not just those who have a ruthless streak, inherited power, intellect or money.
Because of you I have learnt about our political history, how neoliberalism was heralded as the end to our ills, but didn’t deliver. How democratic socialism is not a return to the past but a recognition that market forces alone cannot protect the disabled, the poor and ill because some things are not about profit, but about humanity.
It’s funny how others think I have become a blind follower when my eyes have been opened wider than they have ever been before.
However, I feel I must be very clear with you Jeremy. It is your ideas that I am in love with and the fact that despite your age, you remain optimistic about the nature of people, and that you still believe – after years of being ridiculed and misrepresented – that people can be better, do better, and care for one another regardless of differences between them.
If your ideas turn out to be hot air, spin and flim flam just to win my vote, I will dump you quicker than Farage’s escape from Brexit.
Yours adoringly but conditionally,