On Saturday 5 October, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, Laura Pidcock MP, Ian Lavery MP, Chris Peace PPC, Nick Brown MP, Chi Onwurah MP, and Lauren Dingsdale PPC, held a rally in Newcastle City Hall.
The event was accompanied by music by Jamie Bramwell and Tom Caulker and began at 6pm.
Thousands of people of different ages queued down Northumberland Road to attend the event.
Attendees I interviewed universally described themselves as “Traditional Labour voters”. None were deterred from the party by the recent anti-semitism scandal, and none would consider voting for the Conservative Party or Boris Johnson in the future, with one telling me he’d rather be “dead in a ditch”. Later, the speakers filed in, with Chi Onwurah telling the Courier that she was there to “stop a hard-right Brexit”.
Inside, DJ Tom Caulker played music while the crowd entered, before Jamie Bramwell took the stage. Bramwell sang 3 songs, the last about the difficulties of mental health. The theatre, which has a capacity of 2000, was full, with the exception of a few rows of chairs.
Brown noted that climate change would be, in his opinion, the biggest issue of the upcoming election
Nick Brown, MP was the first speaker. He was cheered for mentioning his 26 years of service and drew laughs when he remarked upon his record against Johnson’s government as Labour’s Chief Whip: 7 votes, 7 government defeats. Brown noted that climate change would be, in his opinion, the biggest issue of the upcoming election, and remarked that it was a “new phenomenon”, which the private sector wouldn’t act upon, but which needed an “immediate solution” from the state.
Afterwards, he called upon the crowd to do what they can during the next election and introduced Laura Pidcock, who received a standing ovation. Each speaker addressed the audience as “comrades” and ended by calling for “solidarity”.
Pidcock announced that she would refuse to let the next General Election to be “about Brexit”, claiming “that’s what millionaires want”. Instead, she asked the crowd to imagine a man in No. 10 who is dedicated to “Peace and Socialism”. She later stated that “the old system is definitely dying”, and called for attendees to make comments which “lowered the mood” in parties and taxis, but strengthened the movement. Chris Peace PPC told the audience that they were “getting through”, and asked members to campaign in her prospective seat; claiming, “The road to no. 10 goes through North Derbyshire”.
Ian Lavery, MP and Chairman of the Labour Party, took to the stage, saying of Boris Johnson: “he’s a misogynist, he’s a fascist, he’s a racist”. He later listed manifesto pledges made at Labour’s recent party conference.
After a standing ovation, there was a musical interlude before Chi Onwurah addressed the crowd. She remarked upon the “resurgent socialist revolution”, and Labour’s plans for a “green industrial revolution” to create jobs for the North East.
Next was Lauren Dingsdale, who condemned “an unelected Prime Minister running roughshod over the law”, and claimed that the Tories were “starting to get a bit scared” , before introducing Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn received a standing ovation, and the crowd sang “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” before he gave his speech. The speech lasted roughly 35 minutes. Corbyn received the loudest applause when condemning the “brutality” of Universal Credit, announcing the abolishment of tuition fees, and reading a letter from Sophie – a member of Ian Lavery’s constituency with Down’s syndrome, who wrote a letter of proposals for helping those with her condition.
The Leader of the Opposition also addressed Newcastle United fans, claiming that he is determined to “bring democracy to football”.
“Let’s take football away from billionaires and hand it to the fans instead”
Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, bought Newcastle United in 2007. However, as Corbyn pointed out, many fans are unhappy with how Ashley has run the club. This has caused protests around the city and led to people boycotting home matches.
Corbyn stated: “Football shouldn’t be just a business, football is our lives, our community and it’s the place where people go to socialise and enjoy each other’s company. Let’s take the beautiful game away from the billionaires and hand it to the fans instead.”
The night ended at 8.45pm, when the speakers gathered on stage, dancing and clapping to “Ain’t no mountain high enough”.
Last modified: 8th October 2019