Glastonbury’s pyramid stage last year saw populist politics being brought to the masses. With thousands chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” over and over and over again. The chant, inspired by Seven Nation Army, has been dubbed ‘the political chant of a generation’. Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep the weekend’s Labour Live event, well, live.
With Jeremy Corbyn’s ill-fated festival occurring on the weekend, the blame game has already begun on who is at fault over the low ticket sales. To add insult to injury, is the fact that things could have been so different had the organisers managed to get Stormzy to perform. The “crowd-gatherer” Grime artist and a big Corbyn supporter; ‘My man, Jeremy! Young Jeremy, my guy. I dig what he says.’
While his absence was first blamed on scheduling issues, the Evening Standard reports that it is actually down to money. Corbyn’s team apparently balked at his ‘six-figure’ fee. ‘If they paid him they’d be turning people away instead of losing ten times the amount he asked for,’ a senior Labour spokesperson told the Standard. Replacing him, the cheery folk band The Magic Numbers. Ironic in that they weren’t able to attract those “magic numbers” to the festival.
The £100k that Stormy requested to rail against capitalism? Well, definitely couldn’t be described as old school socialism. The organisers of “JezFest” struggled to sell tickets. With Reverend and The Makers, Declan McKenna and Owen Jones among its headliners. It’s a wonder why it didn’t attract the expected numbers.
I suppose that there weren’t many Jews in attendance. Anti-Semitism could not have been further from everybody’s mind. The MP David Lammy, who attended the anti-Semitism protest in College Green walked away from an interview when the issue was brought up.
With Glastonbury on a fallow year, the Labour Live organisers were hoping for similar images as last years festival at their festival this weekend. This roused fear amongst the Tory MPs ranks earlier this year, getting themselves riled up about how they could reach out to younger voters. Yet it has become a source of entertainment for Tories, and perhaps the only reason for good morale that they have at the moment. The Labour Live fiasco is looking to be the Tories gain as images of the “deserted” event riddle the internet.
Though the organisers managed to fill the venue with enthusiastic campaigners in time, it did not reach the desired numbers. However, it can not be denied that the past year has seen Corbyn-mania tone down, partly because there is no imminent election. Since the snap election, senior Labour politicians have been hard pressed to keep Labour on an ‘election-footing’, with the idea that an election could be called at any minute. In this way, they hoped to keep the momentum up. It certainly hasn’t turned out exactly as they would have expected. And, perhaps it would have been more aptly named LabourDive than LabourLive.
As Theresa May continues to cling on and a recent YouGov poll gave the Tories a six-point lead. Labour is in a bit of a pickle. This is not to say that Corbyn-mania has fused or that the Tories are in the clear. But that the LabourLive festival serves as an unnecessary reminder that Labour is loosing momentum.
The fact that the festivities fell on the first Saturday of the World Cup made selling tickets nigh-on-impossible. Add to this the anger over ticket pricing, with a percentage of the tickets being free and others £35, you have a recipe for disaster. I feel for the person who takes the brunt of the backlash. The fact remains that Corbyn-mania is dwindling and Labour has demonstrated that themselves.
Perhaps a part of the festivals inability to tap into that youth group was down to anti-Semitism not being “cool”. People will not put up with Labour’s nonsense when it comes to anti-Semitism anymore. At least that’s what I want to believe happened.