'Ye are many - they are few!' Jeremy Corbyn quotes Shelley at Glastonbury

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn enlisted the power of poetry when he delivered a rousing speech to thousands at Glastonbury music festival at the weekend. Concluding his speech on the main Pyramid stage by quoting Shelley, “one of my favourite poets”, he said: “I’m inspired by many poets, and by many people.”

The lines he quoted are these, from ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, written after the Peterloo Massacre in 1819: “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!”

Earlier in his speech Corbyn spoke about inspiring chidlren. He said: "We achieve inspiration through lots of things. In every child there is a poem, in every child there is a painting, in every child there is music. But as people get a bit older they get embarrassed about it, ‘Ooh, can’t be thinking that sort of thing, can’t be writing poetry.’ No! I want all of our children to be inspired, all of our children to have the right to learn music, write poetry and to paint in the way that they want."

Jeremy Corbyn has previously said that he writes poems himself. Last year an anthology of poetry supporting the Labour leader was published.

There’s always poetry at Glastonbury, of course … Kate Tempest delivered a very political opening to her set, taking aim at Theresa May, to great acclaim. And appearing at the festival's regular Poetry & Words stage this year were John Hegley, Luke Wright, Phill Jupitus, Jemima Foxtrot, Jonny Fluffypunk, Emily Harrison, Scott Tyrrell, Kieren King, Toria Garbutt, Anna Freeman, Laurie Bolger, Paul Varjack, Murray Lachlan Young, the Antipoet, and Elvis McGonagall, to name but a few. Poet in residence was Dominic Berry, and also in attendance was experimental poet Winston Plowes, a Glastonbury regular, with his Spoke-n-Word Random Poetry Generating Bicycle.      

 

 

◄ Spaced out on cosmic poetry in starry night at the Troubadour

'Pheasants' by David Blake is Write Out Loud's Poem of the Week ►

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 30th Jun 2017 16:45

The contents of the Bible - like other religious works -
are open to individual or collective interpretation as to meaning -
as has been witnessed for good and bad down the centuries. And that can apply when Christianity is
associated with socialism - defined in my dictionary as
"political and economic theory of social organisation and
control of commercial activities, policy or practice."
Any sweeping use of the word "poor" today is likely
to mislead since the contemporary condition seems far
removed from its meaning and obvious evidence of the
past. I've asked politicians for their interpretation of the
word today and have yet to receive an answer of any
sort. Hence the suspicion that it is being used for
a purpose other than its contemporary reality which
contrasts sharply with the emaciation and no shoes
/no hope of other days. That said, I'm all for the rich
paying more in tax or charity and would put the well-heeled names of show-biz and sport alongside
the corporate candidates for that purpose. But there is
a world beyond our shores and socialism seems the
least appealing of political systems for many who see
the concept to be far removed from the reality they
witness. My own memory - visiting Cold War Russia
(The USSR or The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics")
which had traffic lanes set aside for sole use of the
limos of the Politburo...Orwell's "some more equal than
others." Let us keep aiming for the best while striving
to improve the worst in the world in which we find ourselves.

Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

Fri 30th Jun 2017 01:03

M.C. When Jesus said "The poor are always with us", he did not mean “Ensure that the poor remain poor”.

As for “…vulgar abuse”: It appears that you are more offended by people who use naughty swear words than by those who indulge in the vulgar abuse of my brothers and sisters, who, it is deemed, that they and their children should be incinerated in their own homes, on the premise that their lives are of less value than the financial vested interests of some of our politicians and our alleged “public servants”.

Sorry to go on about it, but….like Jesus suggested: How about some justice in our society? Surely you aren’t opposed to a “Christian” society…but, that’s SOCIALISM and oh my GAWD, we don’t want any of that do we!

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John Coopey

Thu 29th Jun 2017 20:16

I well recall Nigel Mansell winning Sports Personality of the Year in 1986 for finishing second in the Driver's Championship. We are easily pleased.

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 29th Jun 2017 17:52

A fascinating variety of views about equality and the
state of the human condition that affects its existence -
or lack of it. As for Christianity getting involved - didn't
Christ himself observe that "the poor are always with us"
when seeking recognition of/support for his own situation from the demands of his followers during his brief stay?
The composite human condition is always vying with its
individual aspirations as history shows and we'd need to
start over from scratch to have any realistic chance of changing that blueprint.
As for any high-minded pious stance about ideals, I
doubt that a resort to vulgar abuse would be a persuasive factor in altering anything. The phrase
"easier said than done" comes to mind. Let us, instead, each in his or her own way try to contribute
to making this a better world by
action or example and go on our way knowing we made it just that
bit better for others.

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Laura Taylor

Thu 29th Jun 2017 11:20

Why did you ask the question if you're simply going to ignore the response?

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 29th Jun 2017 10:32

As I said in my last post "best leave it there for me". I'm off back to my narrow life experiences and counting my money.

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Laura Taylor

Thu 29th Jun 2017 09:42

Graham – without typing out an epic reply, I will summarise it for you. What we mean by equality is true equality of opportunity. From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs. It’s an oldie but it’s a goodie.

That labour force you mentioned managing may well have responded very differently had they had a more equal education, wage, nutrition, housing, healthcare, recourse to support in all areas, human rights in general, the opportunities to develop in ways that are not limited to creating wealth for the few, less worries about financial concerns, including housing, hunger, the ability to keep sufficiently warm and clean.

Do you consider yourself a Christian, by the way? If so, you must be aware that Jesus was a socialist, that the New Testament is a socialist text in the main.

I would urge you to read the book btw, rather than base your opinions on your own narrow life experience. It might give you a broader understanding of the subject. Then again, given your emphasis on creating more wealth for yourself, it might not.

Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

Thu 29th Jun 2017 09:13

What is amply evident from some of the sneering commentariat on the WOL site, within the media, and amongst some of our politicians is that:

a society in which hundreds of the less affluent and vulnerable in society are incinerated by the hundred in their homes, along with their children, simply because of who they are, because they do not have the means to provide safer homes for themselves, even though they pay their fair share of taxes, is to be welcomed and is approved of.

A society in which the poorest amongst us even though they pay their share of taxes, no longer have access to justice within the law, simply because of who they are is acceptable.

A society in which the poorest amongst us no longer have access to excellent health care- simply because they are who they are, is acceptable.

A society in which the poorest amongst no longer have access to a Police Service is acceptable.

A society in which the poorest amongst us no longer have access to excellent education is acceptable.

A society in which the poorest amongst no longer have access to a Fire Service or an Ambulance Service is acceptable.

A society in which our armed-service men and women who may suffer from PTSD and physical injury etc, are living rough on the streets, is acceptable.

Well fuck your Armed Forces Day, with your "Great and the Good" poncing about on our Town Hall steps, with your radicalised children strutting about in uniform behind men with bayonets drawn, to the beat of the big bass drum, off to the Parish Church to show God what a wonderful bunch of Christians you are.

Fuck you and your hypocrisy.
How about some justice in our society?
That's what I would call a "Christian" society.

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Colin Hill

Thu 29th Jun 2017 09:03

equality is like organic farming - a preferred end point of reference to be aimed for. And although it might not in practise be achievable all of the time in every situation it should still be what we work towards continually as a society, together.

It seems the argument here is who would be better placed to forward that advance, fairly for all.

Status Quo voter mentality gives the green light to politicians to do as they wish - a situation that should never be encouraged imo.

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M.C. Newberry

Wed 28th Jun 2017 17:23

Having been around witnessing life at all levels and in many
of its varieties I have yet to be convinced that there is
such a thing as "equality" in the human condition. How to
define it? Can it be defined in health or wealth? size or
lack of it? possessions or lack of them? advancement or
lack of it? rank or lack of it? social position or lack of it?
eminence or lack of it? creativity or lack of it? usefulness
or lack of it? The list is goes on and I propose that it defies
the simple/simplistic meaning inferred in various WOL posts.
The nearest in my own estimation is equality of opportunity,
from which so much else can emerge, plus the obvious "equality
before the law".
Even George Orwell recognised the impossibility of pinning
it down...with some "more equal than others".

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Jun 2017 16:58

By the time I've read the book Laura and its myriad statistics (and we all know what they can be made to say) I'll be a week older and no wiser.
I prefer to build my opinions on REAL life not someone else's stats.
So here's to the UK becoming more like Russia or N Korea. You'll be an awful lot more equal but bugger all better off!
Best leave it there for me, my blue pants are beginning to show.

Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

Wed 28th Jun 2017 14:10

"It's a wonderful idyllic notion, peace everywhere, everyone of us equal etc, fair shares for all."

So let's have none of that then Graham -status quo rules-let's follow the caravan of despair, straight over the abyss!

Lancashire County Palatine Tourist Bard

Wed 28th Jun 2017 14:01

True equality= Anything which is better than what we've got now...ie the Tories in a hole and still digging.

Which is why the Tories are now appealing for socialism.

Guardian headline: my brackets.

"Oliver Letwin (admits Corbyn is right). government must look at tax rises for sake of public services.
Former head of policy for David Cameron believes people are willing to see taxes go up to fund NHS and social care."

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/28/oliver-letwin-government-tax-rises-public-services-nhs

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Laura Taylor

Wed 28th Jun 2017 13:23

You first Graham. I'm interested, as mentioned, to hear what your opinion is based on. Besides, I've already offered a reading recommendation that will answer your question.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Jun 2017 13:05

Please describe what you think true equality looks like Laura.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 28th Jun 2017 13:01

You don’t have to have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth to be a Tory, Graham. Where do you think Robert Tressell got his idea from? And given that we have never actually had true equality in our country, I’d be interested to hear what your opinion is based on.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Jun 2017 11:03

Laura, far from missing the point, the point is that whatever macro decisions/policies/aspirations/treaties/laws etc are aspired to or even put into place, it is at the grass roots level that they are tested and succeed or fail.

I am a son of shoe factory workers (who earned far less than train drivers/miners/car workers) so did not grow up with a silver spoon in my gob.

JC is all about control, just on a different level to TM that's all. I'm sorry you can't see that.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 28th Jun 2017 09:34

Missing the point somewhat there Graham. When socialists speak of equality, we're looking at a much bigger picture than simple small differences between working people. We're looking at vast financial, social, educational, physical and many other inequalities. You're closing down a debate that you only have a tiny amount of knowledge of, clearly.

If you can get hold of a copy, I would recommend reading The Spirit Level - Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson. It'll give you a better idea of what we mean by it.

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level

As for your last sentence - all art forms are subjective, and given that, there is room for us all. Not only that, it is essential that there are as many diverse voices as possible in order to reach as many diverse ears as possible, and to satisfy the inner need for creativity that human beings have.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 28th Jun 2017 09:29

It's a wonderful idyllic notion, peace everywhere, everyone of us equal etc, fair shares for all.

For many years I had in excess of 250 people working for me and it never ceased to amaze me how diverse those people were. Some worked their socks off, some were feckless, some turned up in wind rain and snow, some turned over in bed if it was only drizzling, some were great colleagues in a team, some were always in dispute with others.

It's a wonderful thought JC but I'm afraid most people in the country know its unachievable domestically let alone globally and quoting the fancy of poets is all very well and on message but as poets we all know it's easy to write something but harder to turn it into a culture for all.

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Greg Freeman

Wed 28th Jun 2017 08:31

I've added a bit more to this story today, reflecting Jeremy Corbyn's comments about inspiring children. Thanks, Laura - and to Winston Plowes on Faceboook - for alerting me to this. Important stuff. Read more at http://www.nme.com/festivals/jeremy-corbyn-glastonbury-2017-speech-full-2093107#yrcvp6Q6tTpZW5Pm.99

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Wendy

Wed 28th Jun 2017 04:52

He is the pinnacle of all Charmers . But will he won't he . Does He really care . Wendy

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Laura Taylor

Mon 26th Jun 2017 15:53

Well, he had me welling right up - brilliant speech, with all that emphasis on the arts (poetry mentioned at least 5 times) and anti isms, all for an equal society. Never thought I would actually hear it being said out loud by a Labour politician ever again, and it does my heart good.

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Stu Buck

Mon 26th Jun 2017 15:13

heard in an interview he likes the stone roses but isnt too keen on the foofighters

'for the mani - not the foo'

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 26th Jun 2017 10:39

Just a thought, if Jeremy really wanted to be taken seriously at Glasto he should have formed a band.

What name though? I'll kick you all off

The Corbyn Minority.....?

Jerry Cans......?

etc etc

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Graham Sherwood

Mon 26th Jun 2017 10:28

As new profiles meeter and greeter I'll let you all know when Jeremy joins WOL!

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Colin Hill

Mon 26th Jun 2017 09:10

or Kate Tempest

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suki spangles

Mon 26th Jun 2017 08:59

I'm more than disappointed that Theresa May hasn't done Glasto. She could at least have introduced Radiohead..

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Wolfgar Miere

Mon 26th Jun 2017 08:44

Yep, poets with opinions should keep their mouths shut, screw this freedom of speech malarkey.

Sheeple, got to stay on trend though.

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David Blake

Mon 26th Jun 2017 01:44

So a political leader quotes Shelley on stage to thousands of people and WOL lines up to sneer at it.

You've got to love 'poets'.

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Wolfgar Miere

Sun 25th Jun 2017 23:38

Little men revel in evoking warrior like behaviour, seldom are they able to enact it on the battlefields of everyday life.

He's the new kind of lie, or not. He's just the old lie repackaged.

Sad, sorry and shiny, searching for the Gollum's of workaday life.

Good luck with that, a man who denies his Marxism like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane.

David.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpDQJnI4OhU

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Greg Freeman

Sun 25th Jun 2017 18:28

The survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster would agree with your last sentiment wholeheartedly, MC.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 25th Jun 2017 17:44

Wasn't Corbyn's visit to Glastonbury on the national Armed
Forces Day when the latter event was marked in Liverpool?
By their deeds, you shall know them.

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