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Reform Magazine | August 22, 2017

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Editorial: Don’t look back in anger

Here’s to hope. In times of violence and hardship, worry and instability, hope is often a grim determination to carry on against the odds, but sometimes it is a glimpse of something more.

Three days after the terrible terrorist attack in Manchester in May, many of us joined in a minute’s silence, including 400 people in St Ann’s Square in the centre of Manchester. As the minute finished, one of the crowd, Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow, started singing the Oasis song ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Before long, the whole crowd was singing, and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ became the anthem of Manchester’s tragedy.

It’s only a song, but what a choice. Of all the hits to come out of Manchester over the years, Ms Bernsmeier-Rullow and the mourning crowd chose one which – in their hands – repudiated hatred, bitterness and escalation of violence. They rose above the reckless rhetoric of politicians to say something Christlike. If that spirit is alive in the UK, that gives me hope.

And talking of politicians… I said in my editorial almost two years ago that the rise of Jeremy Corbyn was about hope. I also noted that hope can be deluded, and there can have been few of his supporters who, since then, have not felt the weight of disappointed hope. But what a difference six weeks can make. In that time, he went from 25 percentage points behind in the polls, and the prospect of annihilation, to depriving Theresa May’s team of a working majority. Transformation is back on the menu.

Of course, the hope that Mr Corbyn inspires in some Reform readers is that he will go away. For others it’s the hope that he will earn the chance to translate his words about peace, equality, fairness and community into action. But perhaps we can all find hope in two aspects of his giddyingly successful campaign. One is that he inspired so many young people – long said to be apathetic or disengaged from politics – to vote and convinced them there was something to vote for. The other is that he won over undecided voters by standing for something and by talking clearly and openly about his policies, rather than through empty rhetoric, slippery posturing or invoking fear and prejudice. All those involved in politics could learn something from this, and, if they do, we will be the better for it. I hope that happens. Here’s to hope.

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This article was published in the July/August 2017 edition of  Reform

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