Jeremy Corbyn Tour Aims To "Raise The Morale" Of His Supporters
The #JC4PM tour is kicking off in London this Thursday. BuzzFeed News spoke to one of the organisers.
A touring variety show of singers, comedians and poets will kick off this week aimed at boosting support for Jeremy Corbyn and "raising the morale" of those who voted for him.
Organisers hope the #JC4PM tour will recreate the spirit of Corbyn's leadership rallies last summer, when the left-wing hopeful attracted thousands of supporters to packed-out venues.
But they have complained about the lack of coverage in newspapers and admitted ticket sales have been slower than expected at the first event in London.
Crispin Flintoff, a Labour campaigner and former stand-up comic, set up the tour along with comedians Francesca Martinez, Mark Steel and Jeremy Hardy.
He told BuzzFeed News: "The aim of the tour is to inspire people to get involved in supporting Jeremy Corbyn and also to raise the morale of Corbyn supporters. Last summer was incredible and it would be fantastic if we could recreate that spirit – even if Jeremy isn't there himself."
Flintoff wrote a blog on Sunday hitting out at the media for ignoring the show. He told us that the hits for his piece "were just incredible" and said it proved that social media was crucial for the Left.
"Newspapers don't want to make Jeremy Corbyn look attractive," he said. "Even The Guardian aren't interested. So it leaves him with very little room in the media. There are constant, unnecessary attacks on him and anyone he is associated with."
It comes weeks after shadow chancellor John McDonnell warned of Corbyn's "appalling" treatment by the media. He said the coverage was an "object lesson about the establishment using its power in the media to try and destroy an individual and what he stands for".
Each show in the #JC4PM tour will feature songs, stand-up, poetry and speeches and will last just under three hours. Singers Charlotte Church and Billy Bragg, comedians Sara Pascoe and Shappi Khorsandi and poets Michael Rosen and Attila the Stockbroker are among the stars.
The tour will start in London on Thursday before moving to Bristol, Edinburgh, Croydon and Newcastle. Friends of the Labour leader told us it was "unlikely" he would attend the shows, but Flintoff said he was hopeful he might make one of the dates.
The events evoke the memory of "Red Wedge", a 1980s group of musicians fronted by Paul Weller, Billy Bragg and Jimmy Somerville who organised concerts in an unsuccessful attempt to get Labour into power.
But Flintoff, 45, insisted the new tour was not directly aimed at making Corbyn prime minister. "There may be an idea that Red Wedge didn't win Neil Kinnock the general election, but that's not the point of this," he said.
"On its own #JC4PM won't get Jeremy into power, but it will certainly help to inspire people to campaign for him."
Standard tickets for the shows are £20 each, but £5 for the unemployed, £15 for concessions and £50 for "premium" seats. Flintoff said the money would go towards booking more venues and potentially paying for advertising.
He admitted that sales were slower than he hoped for the first event at Kentish Town's O2 Forum – "some people are a bit sceptical about it" – but said the Bristol show on 23 February had nearly sold out.
Flintoff said he believed Corbyn was "doing well" as leader. "I like his style and the way he talks about principles, not personalities," he said. "I think he is also very popular wherever he goes. People relate to him better than other politicians who they can see are just looking for votes. Jeremy is genuine."