By Juliana Christianson
On Thursday 7th November I went to a Labour Party event at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory. It was unlike anything I’ve attended before, and was definitely not what I expected my first event at the Invisible Wind Factory to consist off, however, the bar was open so I suppose that’s one thing the event had in common with all the music events held there.
I was sat with all the other media representatives at the event, including teams from ITV, Sky and the official broadcaster for the Labour Party who was streaming the event for party members on the Labour Party’s website. That part of the event was definitely a highlight as I had the recorder plugged into the main audio, the same output that ITV get, and did all the level checks feeling very professional with the massive headphones on. Although, I have to admit I was pretty alarmed when the sound check high pitch noise came through, as I thought I’d broken the recorder but really it was just a chance to set the levels right so you didn’t deafen anyone who listened to the audio afterwards.
The speakers at this event were Lucy Powell, Labour candidate for MP for Central Manchester, John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Labour candidate for MP for Hayes and Harlington and Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, Leader of the Opposition and Labour candidate for Islington North. As it was the beginning of the election campaigns for all parties there was a drive to fire-up the base of supporters and Liverpool is a historical Labour stronghold, so what better place to kick-off the campaign and enjoy a passionate crowd that loves the party.
Lucy Powell started the talk by rallying Northerners against the Conservatives and talking about how “they (the Conservatives) just don’t understand us (Northerners) do they?”. I found it interesting how although she says that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are going to end the North-South divide, she also played on sentiments that cause that divide, by pointing out the stark differences in areas like education or life expectancy. She also mentioned the Social Transformation Fund, which John McDonnell later expanded on, but was introduced as something that will help to balance out the inequalities in investment in infrastructure in the North compared to the South.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke briefly to encourage people to keep turning out to support the party on the campaign trail, as there were supposedly more people out supporting Labour at the beginning of this campaign than there were halfway through the general election campaign in 2017. He continued on to introduce John McDonell, a man he acknowledged he’s not always agreed with, but still wants as his right-hand man in the treasury.
John McDonnell came to the stage and began to outline aspects of Labour’s economic plan, including policies like increased taxes for the rich, with the tax revenue funding many of the other proposals. He came across well in the speech and he seemed more at home in Liverpool, perhaps due to his Merseyside roots. The economic plan was well received, but then again, most things would’ve been well received considering it was a labour rally.
Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience, and an eye opener for me to see grass-roots mobilisation in action. I speak more in-depth about the event in a segment I did for an episode of the UK Politics Hour; find the link to below or by clicking on the show’s icon at the top of the page.