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Jeremy Corbyn’s North London roots

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2017 by kmflett

Jeremy Corbyn’s North London roots

Jeremy Corbyn speaks to a crowd of several thousand at Ducketts Common in Haringey on 23rd April 2017

Dave Hill has blogged on Jeremy Corbyn’s North London roots, by which he means Islington, a part of which the Labour leader has been MP for over many years:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/june2017/2017/05/corbyn-and-cupcakes-how-islington-shaped-labour-leader

It would be fair to say I think that Dave Hill is not Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest fan but his memories of 1980s Islington look accurate enough to me, and I was also there quite a bit (although obviously living in Haringey).

Corbyn’s North London roots were however not in Islington but in Haringey where he was an official of NUPE (a forerunner of UNISON) and a Labour Councillor in the Borough until 1983 when he became MP for Islington North.

Jeremy Corbyn was well regarded in labour movement politics in the Borough. He was instrumental in sorting out what was then Wood Green Labour Club (now Social Club) and the system he devised for canvassing voters was so efficient that it is still well regarded.

In fact Corbyn was in Haringey just a couple of weeks back on 23rd April to mark the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Wood Green, when the National Front tried to march from Turnpike Lane down Wood Green High Rd on a Saturday afternoon and found their way blocked by anti-fascists.

Corbyn played a key role on that day. He brought together and acted as the spokesperson for two rather different types of opponent to the NF. There were those who wanted the march banned and staged a peaceful protest against racism on the day. Councillor Corbyn joined them. There were also those, the majority, who wanted to confront the march. Corbyn also joined them and managed to unite the two- no easy task.

You often see comments in the right and not so right-wing media that Corbyn is stupid or useless and very unpopular. None of that is backed up by his North London roots at all.

There is a further twist. An argument is that Corbyn may be popular in Norf London but it’s a weird place and not at all like the rest of the country. Agreed, it has Arsenal FC.

But at the same time as Corbyn was a Labour Councillor in Haringey another man who went on to become very well-known was also starting out in the Borough. His name was Tim Martin, a lawyer, who was fed up with pubs in the area and started Wetherspoons.

Martin is hardly a Labour left type chap but the principles he pioneered in his pub chain were those of North London. The pubs sold good beer, did food all day, had no music and were welcoming to all. There are more pubs like that now but not so much in the late 1970s. Martin was able to successfully apply those ideas of a pub open to all types and serving a wide variety of tastes nationally.

North London’s way of going on can be popular

 

 

 

 

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