At Glastonbury 2017, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told festival-goers that poetry can inspire. And award-winning poet Kate Tempest quickly proved him right.
We achieve inspiration through lots of things. In every child there is a poem, in every child there’s a painting, in every child there is music… I want all our children to be inspired, all our children to have the right to learn music, to write poetry, and to paint in the way that they want…
And he insisted that we can all:
learn from those that have written music or written poetry for us.
Ripping into Theresa May’s government through poetry
Kate Tempest is no stranger to exposing the “diabolical regime” of neoliberalism with style. But at Glastonbury 2017, she opened her set with a powerful message about Theresa May’s government and its cheerleaders in the corporate media. And it was just the kind of inspirational poetry that Corbyn was probably referring to in his own speech.
Strong and stable into ruin…
Murdoch headlines – leeches for the letting of our blood lust,
Blame it on the migrants, suffocating in containers…
Privatise and privatise in private – let the nurses burn,
Along with every other resident who voices their concern…
Under May, there is a gulf that separates us,
And it seems to gape a little wider every day…
‘I want to create a truly “hostile environment“‘ –
Her words, not mine.
See Tempest’s full set at Glastonbury here.
“Rise like lions after slumber”
Corbyn’s speech, meanwhile, echoed a number of the sentiments in Tempest’s monologue. He said:
creativity… can be a tool for getting a message across: a message that racism is wrong, divisive, and evil in our society…
Surely, we can – as intelligent human beings – do things differently and do things better.
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew,
Which in sleep had fallen on you.
Ye are many. They are few.
A “rock star” reception
After his speech, one NME interviewer said to Corbyn:
You’re essentially the biggest rock star at Glastonbury 2017.
While the Labour leader denied that, the fact is that he was indeed treated as such. At a time when more people would apparently prefer Corbyn to be prime minister than Theresa May, the festival was full of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” chants. And comedian Mark Steel is just one of the people who clearly think that Corbyn deserves such “rock star” treatment.
Hee hee, I just have to wish for something and 2 years later it comes true https://t.co/RZZMggIB4s
— Mark Steel (@mrmarksteel) June 25, 2017
The tide of public opinion in Britain is clearly changing. The ideas put forward by Corbyn’s Labour Party in the recent general election were evidently inspiring enough to break through the smears of the right-wing press. And with influential figures like Kate Tempest joining in with powerful critiques of Tory rule, the momentum in favour of change seems likely to continue.
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