Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

While Others Head to Tuscany, Jezza Is on the Road Keeping the Red Flag Flying

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

While Others Head to Tuscany, Jezza Is on the Road Keeping the Red Flag Flying

Article excerpt

Byline: Ayesha Hazarika

OLD habits die hard. This is the first summer since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party two years ago when he hasn't faced a leadership challenge. His surprise perky-positive election campaign means he's seen off any challengers from the Parliamentary Labour Party and can bask in the comfort of job security, chillax a bit and spend some time with his allotment.

But not our Jezza. He's discovered an impressive new work ethic (oh, to have seen that energy during the EU referendum campaign sniff). Gone are the days where we heard tales of "time off in lieu" for appearing on The Andrew Marr Show. This summer, Corbyn is channelling his inner Jack Kerouac and going "On the Road". He's touring the country campaigning in marginal seats across Scotland, England and Wales in a bid to keep up the momentum from the election.

At the start of the book, Kerouac's alterego Sal Paradise is "tremendously excited with life" and the prospect of the road trip. "Somewhere along the line, I knew there would be girls, visions, everything: somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me." I'm sure the JC4PM tour will be very similar. But with fewer drugs. And more houmus.

The summer blitz will target around 100 seats and is one of Labour's biggest operations outside of a general election campaign. It's impressive, ambitious stuff. As well as high-profile appearances from the "Absolute Boy" and other key Labour figures who haven't escaped to Torremolinos or Tuscany (depending on their poshness), there will be an accompanying well-resourced, targeted social media campaign. So it really is all systems go for the Labour Party. As opposed to all cisterns go at the start of the election campaign when the party lagged behind in the polls, and Corbyn did a photocall in a toilet.

I absolutely applaud this summer campaign. Keeping up the momentum is vital and good for morale. But before we all start chanting "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn", I have some advice. …

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