There have no doubt been many significant meetings in the run-up to next month’s General Election, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s casual café-based chat with JME might yet prove the most important.
A member of the first family of grime – his big brother is Skepta and his little sister is Beats 1 DJ Julie Adenuga – JME is one of the most influential voices in British pop culture, as well as one of the most compassionate. And with a whopping 700,000 Twitter followers, his online sway is almost as hefty as Corbyn’s 888,000. Poor Theresa May is trailing with just 302,000. Maybe she should start posting more jokes, medieval art memes and kitten GIFs? When it comes to all things political this is noteworthy, because many of JME’s followers are in the 18-24-year-old age group; the group who could legitimately swing this election, the group that you, dear reader, are more than likely a member of.
Corbyn’s meeting with JME, which was orchestrated by iD magazine, saw the pair urging the youth to register before the May 22 deadline. Jezza popped it on his Snapchat and posted some pics of the two, causing an avalanche of retweets. A promotional ploy for the Labour Party it might have been, but we can’t think of a worthier cause. In the 2015 general election, less than half of young people voted – the result was a landslide victory for the Conservatives, a party that prides business and privatisation over people and which is hell-bent on demolishing the NHS.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s young people that the Labour Party’s progressive policies would help the most. Don’t believe the Daily Mail hype – Labour don’t want to drag Britain back to the ’70s; they just want to make it a nicer place to live, especially if you’re not a member of the privileged few. In the party’s manifesto, it was revealed they’d get rid of tuition fees and bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance, a £30-a-week grant I received when I was in sixth form to help with the cost of London living, which was scrapped by the Tories in 2011.
Unpaid internships would be banned, zero-hours contracts done away with and more council houses built, with thousands of homes reserved for rough sleepers. None of this is shocking – it’s about looking out for each other. JME isn’t the only one backing Labour. Stormzy, Lily Allen, Ellie from Wolf Alice and loads more musicians are Team Corbyn. I’m proud to say I am too.