Students cheered and applauded as the leader of the Labour Party took the stage, proposing an equal society for all.
The talk was arranged by Liverpool Young Labour and sold out in just over 24 hours, confirming the students of Liverpool overwhelmingly support their new Labour leader.
Corbyn took the stage, accompanied by Izzy Hocking – leader of Liverpool Young Labour, Steve Rotherham – MP for Liverpool Walton, and Margaret Greenwood – MP for Wirral West to the sound of thunderous applause.
Rotherham spoke first, saying “hopefully today you’re going to see something that will have a life-changing effect on you”.
Margaret Greenwood went on to say “it’s wonderful to see so many students here.
“What you’re experiencing now is an extreme right wing Tory government, which why it is just so important we rebuild the Labour movement as a mass movement.”
It was then that Jeremy Corbyn himself took the podium. He succeeded in empowering his young audience, emphasising that collectiveness has to live on in our society.
Following a recent student protest in London Corbyn pressed on the importance of maintenance grants, a topic which hit home for the predominantly student audience.
“Let’s value learning for what it is. And let’s not condemn the arts to endless cuts and closures and ending of regional and local theatres and support for arts courses in universities. A society needs engineers, it needs doctors, it needs lawyers, it needs accountants, but it also needs poets, historians, philosophers and writers. that is in the very DNA of all of us, that we all wish to have; that right to express, that right to enjoy things.”
In a university with such a rich arts department, this struck a chord. His sense of pride was overwhelming.
Speaking of his immensely oversubscribed meetings in Camden this summer – “There’s this wonderful picture of a group of teenagers trying to climb in through a window to get into a political meeting.
“Think about that; teenagers climbing a wall to go to a political meeting – something has changed. Because it isn’t that young people, are not interested in politics. It is that young people are being put off by a politics which is theatrical elites playing games with each other, rather than representing the real needs and aspirations of ordinary people.
“Politics is an endlessly fascinating process and parliament is an endlessly fascinating place, but also a place that must be more democratic and more representative of ordinary people. And so, what we try to do, is open up the political process.”
Corbyn’s love for his party was evident throughout, he spoke with enthusiasm and passion.
“All I want is an open democratic process, where everyone’s ideas, inspiration, knowledge and optimism can be shared with others.
“Dream high, work high, dream of that society, but work for it; where we do have that real equality of opportunity, that real equality of justice and that real hope for a peaceful, sustainable world in the future.”
Izzy rounded off the event by urging students to be active in their political endeavors, and to join with MPs like Margaret who campaign tirelessly in Merseyside.
Then, LSRadio News were given the opportunity to ask two questions.
We pressed him first about the disproportionate representation of women in parliament.
“The selection process, whilst we do have all women shortlist which is an improvement, we do have women councillors in the party that is a big improvement, there is a problem about support for candidates, there’s a problem with support for working class candidates in the labour party, I have put a proposal to the national executive that we support candidates far more both in selection process and then later on in the election process. There’s also a way in which parliament operates but theres also an issue of sexism within our society, I have, I hope set an example by appointing a majority of women in the shadow cabinet for the first time, there’s 16 women and 15 men and I’m going to continue that in all the other appointments that I make.”
Then we asked about his opinion on grammar schools.
“I would rather we ended selective education, personally. I did go to a grammar school myself and my great contribution to the grammar school was to put up proposals to the debating society we became a comprehensive, sadly I was defeated, my dad later on became the school government and similarly defeated at a school governors meeting, I would prefer non selective education. But I would also think that we have got to make sure that all of our schools and all of our education system works for the best of all children, I become concerned about the competitive nature and the way in which secondary schools operate, the community they have to operate in which means that students aged 13 and 14 who look as though they’re not going to do so well at GCSEs are discouraged from applying for other subjects and not given great opportunities. We are only young once, you have to make the very best of it. So I spend a lot of time in the company of teachers , I understand what they’re going through, I understand the stresses that they’re under and we need more support in schools not less support in schools and also just simply every student matters the same as every other student however brilliant they might be. We are not all going to get to Oxbridge, I didn’t actually go anywhere.
His intense eye contact made everyone in the room feel a sense of belonging and everybody left with a refreshed hope for a better country, a fairer, a more equal and more tolerant place to live.
He ended his interview with one line, seeping with optimism.
“Democracy does work, in the end”