Corbyn Has Ascended to Rock Star Status, Particularly Amongst the Young
by Joud Halawani Al-Tamimi
Demonized by the media, rebuked by ranks within his own party, mocked by the Conservatives, Jeremy Corbyn stands unabashed. Prime Minister Theresa May may have been hiking the mountains of Snowdonia, but the only person going uphill in British politics today is the mischievous Jeremy Corbyn. It seems nothing has stopped this rebellious North Londoner from leading a strong and dignified campaign which indeed beat all expectations.
When May first announced the snap general election, the Conservatives enjoyed a 52 point lead over Labour. Two months later, and one day before election results, Corbyn has managed to narrow the gap down to 4 points. The previously self-assured May now has her feet in cold water. Meanwhile, Corbyn has ascended to rock star status, particularly amongst the young, who are going to be the old man’s biggest bet at the polls tomorrow. But what do we know about this bearded old man, away from the unforgiving media war that has been waged against him?
UPBRINGING AND EDUCATION
Mr. Corbyn was born on 26 May 1949 in Chippenham, Wiltshire. His father, an electrical engineer, and his mother, a maths teacher, were both peace campaigners who met at a demonstration against the civil war in Spain. It seems the defiant North Londoner was destined to activism from day one. The youngest of four boys, he had a tranquil childhood in what he described as a rural “Tory shire”.
Jeremy attended Adams grammar school in Newport, Shropshire until 18, then went to study at North London Polytechnic. But he soon left university following disputes with his teachers. Young rebellious Corbyn then travelled to Jamaica for 2 years to work with a charity. Upon return, he stayed in Islington in North London, a hub for the Lefties at the time.
ACTIVISM AND POLITICAL CAREER
Corbyn was well-known for his political activism and was vocal on anti-war campaigns and racism from a young age. He joined the Labour party at the age of 17, and he first became MP in 1983 in the Islington North seat. He would clash repeatedly with members of the Labour party throughout the course of his political career.
Corbyn came to represent the radical left wing in a party that is still under the influence of the “Third Way”, cemented by Tony Blair. A rebel in his own party, he voted 553 times against Labour policies since 1997. The clashes reached a peak after the Brexit vote, as Labour MPs attacked Jeremy for not doing enough to stop Brexit from happening. Cameron said to him at the time: “For God’s sake. Leave!” But Jeremy stuck around. And he is on the warpath!
CORBYN’S THREE MARRIAGES
Feisty old Corbyn has been married three times. His first wife was Professor Jane Chapman. They met during Labour’s 1974 Election campaign. The marriage ended after 5 years, but the ex husband and wife remained friends. Chapman says she married Corbyn for his “honesty” and “principles” but she soon grew tired of his constant focus on politics. “Politics became our life. He was out most evenings because when we weren’t at meetings he would go to the Labour headquarters, and do photocopying – in those days you couldn’t print because there were no computers,’ she told The Mail.
Corbyn’s second wife is Chilean campaigner Claudia Bracchitta, whom he married for 12 years. Corbyn has 3 sons with Ms. Bracchitta. It is claimed that they ended the marriage because Mr Corbyn refused to allow his sons to be sent to private school.
Corbyn is currently married to his third wife Laura Alvarez, who is 20 years younger than him. Corbyn married her in her native country Mexico in 2013. Ms Alvarez imports coffee to the UK from her home country Mexico.
LIFESTYLE AND HOBBIES
Corbyn currently lives together with Ms Alvarez in a humble house, which is consistent with his very simple lifestyle. He usually has the lowest expenses claims of any MP. “Well, I don’t spend a lot of money, I lead a very normal life, I ride a bicycle and I don’t have a car,” he told The Guardian.
Asked what is his favourite biscuit he answered: “I’m totally anti-sugar on health grounds, so eat very few biscuits, but if forced to accept one, it’s always a pleasure to have a shortbread.” The old bearded man is a vegetarian and rare drinker. In an interview with The Guardian he said that his favourite restaurant is Gaby’s diner in London’s West End, where he goes to eat hummus when he is done demonstrating in Trafalgar Square.
The Arsenal-supporting north Londoner’s hobbies include running, cycling and cricket. According to the Financial Times: “He loves making jam with fruit grown on his allotment, belongs to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cheese and is a borderline trainspotter.” Jeremy also harbours an unusual hobby – the history and design of manhole covers.
An avid reader, Corbyn is a fan of Irish poet WB Yeats. He also loves the work of the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, whose renown book Things Fall Apart explores the tensions between colonialism and traditional societies. It comes as little surprise that Corbyn is also a fluent Spanish speaker and a big fan of Latin American literature. As for his favourite films, they are known to be The Great Gatsby and Casablanca.