The number of times that Jeremy Corbyn has been proven to be correct on the major issues of the day is somewhat staggering. From ID cards to his views on the murderous General Pinochet, from PFI to the present arguments surrounding super-rich tax avoidance, Corbyn has been right time and again.
It is easy to say what the correct and moral course of action is with the benefit of hindsight, yet it is something else to take a brave stand while issues remain contentious and in the public eye. Corbyn has a long history of standing against the braying mob mentality of the likes of The Sun and Daily Mail and finding the correct path of justice even if it means going against his own party or even public opinion.
Here are ten times that Jeremy Corbyn was proven right during his time in parliament.
10: Tuition Fees
Labour’s 1997 betrayal of their election promise not to raise tuition fees was unforgivable and set the stage for a decade and more of betrayal by the neoliberal centrist Tony Blair. Labour would go on to treble university fees and ensure that generations of British students were left with crippling debts owed to the state. The increases would treble again under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat alliance.
Corbyn rejected the increases from day one and has pledged to abolish tuition fees entirely and restore maintenance grants, saying that “I opposed those changes at the time – as did many others – and now we have an opportunity to change course.
“[I am] proud that I voted strongly not for students to be saddled with thousands and thousands of pounds worth of debt.”Jeremy Corbyn
The swathe of privatisations over the past few decades have seen the loss of the likes of British Aerospace, British Gas, Rolls Royce, British Airways, National Express, Royal Mail and of course British Rail.
These privatisations fly in the face of public opinion and the claim that privatisation would see increased competition and therefore higher quality and lower prices for the consumer have been proven not only to be incorrect but essentially one giant gravy train for Tories and the wealthy elite such as Richard Branson. The taxpayer now subsidises the railways with £4b a year with no increase in quality to show for the price.
Jeremy Corbyn has stood behind public ownership of services and has advocated for the nationalisation of the rail companies, a policy supported by the majority of the electorate.
Corbyn has also guaranteed that the stealth privatisation of the NHS will end and will not be on the table in any way in future trade deals with Donald trump’s United States.
8: LGBT Rights
Jeremy Corbyn was an early supporter of LGBT rights has voted favourably on almost every piece of LGBT rights legislation since 1980. He broke ranks in 1998 to support a Lib Dem amendment that would have outlawed sexuality-based discrimination and has regularly called for an end to all discrimination against gay couples in Northern Ireland and for gay rights around the world.
Like so many causes, Corbyn took up the mantle long before it was “acceptable” to do so, gay rights being derided as detrimental to society as the right-wing press and politicians regularly attacked the LGBT movement and individuals.
It is perhaps interesting to note that while Corbyn has stood in solidarity with the LGBT organisations, Boris Johnson’s most famous moment regarding the community came when he referred to gay men as “tank-topped bumboys.”
7: Israel & Palestine
Jeremy Corbyn has been a defender of Palestinian rights for as long as anyone can remember and it has become one of the main points of contention around his leadership as the state of Israel and it’s far-right backers here in the U.K. have launched a non-stop campaign of smears and lies against Corbyn, his allies and anyone who has the temerity to criticise the actions of a state practicing a form of racial supremacy.
The actions of Israel in promoting their ideology includes attempting to silence criticismat ever level and engaging in a widespread campaign of propaganda to whitewash their crimes. In many ways the international bully-boy tactics and wilful promotion of the state by our own politicians is comparable to South Africa under apartheid.
However, while Israel once enjoyed overwhelming support and their propaganda worked effectively, the rise of the internet and social media has allowed the truth about their actions to slowly begin to change opinions. Individuals such as Jeremy Corbyn are now being seen as being ahead of their time on the issue.
6: The Miner’s Strike
The miner’s strike of 1984-85 was far more divisive for the left than might be realised or even popularly remembered. Many ex-miners and supporters believe that the Labour Party betrayed the miners and would have won the dispute had they stood in solidarity with Arthur Scargill.
While Neil Kinnock continues to deny he betrayed the miners, Scargill insists that Kinnock and the right-drifting Labour Party could have changed the course of the strike had they given the miners full support. A loss against Scargill and the miners would have likely forced Margaret Thatcher from office years before her historic time.
Defying his party, Jeremy Corbyn stood in complete solidarity with the striking miners and invited them into the House of Commons gallery, security expelling them after shouts of “coal not dole” were heard. Corbyn knew full well what the issue meant for tens of thousands of families and dozens of towns and cities that relied on coal and risked his own position in the Labour Party to defend the working class. Ex-mining areas still suffer the effects of the closures even today.
5: The Birmingham Six and Guildford Four
Known as two of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British legal history, the cases of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four were a shocking indictment of the government’s dirty war in Northern Ireland, a failing justice system and both governmental and police discrimination against Irish Catholics.
With a wave of such miscarriages sweeping through the system, families of the imprisoned approached Labour MPs to plea for assistance. They were denied by most, nobody wishing to draw the ire of the far-right press such as The Sun who regularly spewed Irish hate on a near-daily basis. Two men had the intestinal fortitude to make a stand – Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
After a series of campaigns and appeals, the convictions of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four were quashed in 1991 and 1989.
4: Peace in Northern Ireland
While the hard of thinking enjoy smearing Jeremy Corbyn for talking with Sinn Fein during the 1980s, we now know that he was in fact far ahead of his time.
Corbyn took a particular interest in peace in Northern Ireland and met with Sinn Fein’s first MP, Gerry Adams, in 1983 alongside other Labour MPs. In 1984, alongside Ken Livingstone, he invited Adams and other Sinn Fein members to Westminster for a meeting. While controversial, two of those invited being former IRA volunteers, the gutsy move was ground-breaking for the peace movement.
In 1989 Margaret Thatcher began secret talks with Sinn Fein that developed into full lines of communication between the IRA and Conservative government by 1993. Since the end of hostilities, major figures such as the Queen and Prince Charles have met Gerry Adams, the late Martin McGuinness and many other figures associated with Sinn Fein and the IRA.
“Quite simply, I maintained contact with Sinn Fein and believed that there had to be a political, not a military, solution to the situation in Northern Ireland.”Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn was famously an anti-apartheid activist and served on the National Executive of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, a group dedicated to opposing the South African system of segregation and oppression while supporting victims internationally.
As part of the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group, Corbyn would be arrested in 1984 during a 1,084 day non-stop picket by the group who were seeking the release of Nelson Mandela.
Corbyn has been a life-long anti-racist campaigner and supporter of groups such as Unite Against Fascism. He was appointed the national secretary of the then newly launched Anti-Fascist Action in 1985, the group was active in fighting against the National Front and BNP.
Last year the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Mandla Mandela, endorsed Jeremy Corbyn and said: “this freedom we have today we owe to the likes of Jeremy Corbyn.”
“My grandfather and South Africans in totality would still look to him to be the conscience, the real voice of morals, in the British society. His heart was on the right side of history during the struggle for our liberation.”Mandla Mandela
Corbyn has been an opponent of austerity since day one, recognising that the policies are not only hurting the working class and the poorest in British society but literally leading to their deaths. The program of austerity, social cleansing by another name, has been a disaster for both the government and ordinary people of the country.
When the Conservatives came to power in 2010 they inherited a growing economy and subsequently proved the lie that the Tories are the party of fiscal responsibility. Under the incompetent Chancellorship of George Osbourne, the Tories pushed Britain into a double-dip recession and Britain lost its AAA credit rating.
“We are one of the richest countries in the world, and there is absolutely no reason why anyone should have to live in poverty.”Jeremy Corbyn
1: Afghanistan and Iraq
The so-called “war on terror” has been one of the most deadly spates of imperialism seen in the modern era, with an increasingly belligerent United States using terrorism as a pretext to invade or disrupt swathes of the Middle East. The wars, which have an astronomical cost in lives in the Middle East and amongst Western troops, have created an unprecedented refugee crisis, fuelled the rise of sectarian violence, prompted the rise of far-right nationalism and have a legacy that will last for generations to come around the globe.
While the West was losing its head to tub-thumping calls for blood, Jeremy Corbyn stood against the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 and campaigned and voted against the Iraq war in 2003 as one of the leading figures of Stop The War. While the stances were brave in the face of rising xenophobia and nationalism, as time passed Corbyn was proved to have been correct as the British public moved to his side to stand against the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and lately Libya and Syria.
“I want a world of peace. I’m not interested in bombs. I’m not interested in wars. I’m interested in peace.”Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn is a man who has been ahead of his time and on the right side of history far more than he has been wrong. While Conservatives have stood for the oppression of apartheid, he has stood for freedom. While Tories have stood against the LGBT community, Corbyn has stood for equality. While the Tories have stood for war in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, he has stood for peace.
While it has been a difficult road at the time, Corbyn has stood in defiance of the right and stood with the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden and the persecuted. History has proven him correct time and again and in twenty or fifty years there can be little doubt that it will prove him correct on a great many issues of 2019, not least the execrable leadership of Boris Johnson.