Morning Star editor Ben Chacko took part in a discussion, “Where Next for Jeremy Corbyn's Labour?” at the Cambridge Universities Labour Club.

Good evening and thank you for the introduction. I am delighted to be here tonight addressing the Cambridge Universities Labour Club.

The Morning Star was the only British daily newspaper to back Jeremy for leader, and that probably didn't come as much of a surprise to anyone in this room. 

Morning Star backs most left-wing candidate is hardly front page news. But Morning Star backs winning candidate is.

At the Star we backed Jeremy before he even got onto the ballot paper - after all he'd been a weekly columnist of ours for 10 years. 

But it didn't mean we expected the scale of the enthusiasm, the rock-star reception - rooms packed to bursting and teenagers climbing the sides of buildings to catch a glimpse of the man - that he received.


The economic crash of 2007-8 has hurt huge numbers of people. The Tory response has made things worse. 

Working people are £1,600 a year worse off than in 2010; if you work in the public sector you'll have lost even more.

At the same time, the wealth of the richest has ballooned. The richest 1,000 families have doubled their net worth since the crash. 

I was at a Momentum launch in east London recently and Ken Livingstone gave an address by video-link. In it he mentioned how everyone who went to his school, an ordinary comprehensive, had a job within six months of leaving and within a few years was earning enough to start raising a family.

Clearly the same isn't true for school-leavers - even university leavers - now. Britain has become a worse place to live over the course of my lifetime.

2008 was the failure of Thatcherism. The global economic crash showed up the risks of her 'big bang' banking deregulation and the necessity of public intervention in the economy. The assumptions on which three decades of British economic policy-making rested were in tatters.

But in Westminster, nothing changed.

The mass movement around Jeremy Corbyn is the direct result of popular frustration at the political class and its failure to address the fundamental problems with our economy that the crash exposed.

The accusation thrown at Jeremy and his supporters is that they are dragging Labour away from the centre ground.

I believe it was addressing this very audience that Tristram Hunt said Labour risked turning into a 'sect.' I don't want to underplay the risks here.

A piece by Geoff Mulgan last month in the New Statesman made an important point about the left in the 1980s. The passionate enthusiasm of hundreds of thousands does not necessarily mean any shift in political attitudes among the millions outside the ranks of your activists and campaigners. It's easy to end up talking to yourselves.

But members of the political elite are in no position to lecture us on this point. If there's any group of people in this country trapped in an echo-chamber of their own making, it's members of Parliament.

That's why the issues some Labour MPs seem to have with Jeremy Corbyn - the things they say make him unelectable - make no sense. 

Large majorities of the public in repeated polls support taking the railways into public ownership. 

Smaller, but still significant, majorities favour taking energy and utilities back into public ownership. 

A majority is opposed to renewing Trident, a majority wants to raise taxes on the highest earners, a majority thinks we have been far too lenient on the banks. 

An overwhelming majority is opposed to private-sector involvement in the NHS.

I'm not saying there's a left-wing consensus in the country. If you take other issues such as immigration or welfare, you'd find the right have the upper hand. 

That doesn't mean they're correct - we need to challenge them and beat them. 

But what I'm saying is not that voters are all naturally pro-Jeremy Corbyn, but that what right-wing MPs identify as Jeremy's weak points are actually often his strong points.

Getting that message across is not going to be easy. Jeremy Corbyn is a socialist. This is a capitalist country and very powerful vested interests will do everything they can to keep a socialist out of No 10 and to avoid or suppress the radical change that could mean for this country.

We've seen how the gloves are off with Jeremy. Other than the Morning Star, he faces near-universal hostility from the press. 

That's no accident. 

The press by and large operate in the interests of the people who own it. 

The Morning Star is a readers' co-operative whose management committee is elected by its members, so it is free from corporate influence. You can become an owner of the Star for a pound, but other newspaper proprietors tend to be billionaires and that does affect their political priorities.

Media hostility is backed up by the hatred of other wings of the Establishment. Twice now we've had generals stating their opposition to a Labour victory under him, a serious breach of constitutional conventions. One even suggested the military would take 'direct action' if Corbyn became PM. Britain hasn't seen military coup threats in a while. Jeremy has them rattled.

But this presents us with a problem. It's not really a new problem for Labour, which has always lived with media and Establishment hostility, except during the Blair period. But it's certainly more acute than before.

Hostile media can be challenged with supportive media, so obviously I'd recommend you all start reading my newspaper for a start. Jeremy's campaign has also made excellent and innovative use of social media. But here, Tristram's point does stand. Social media audiences are self-selecting. You can't win an election on Twitter.

Labour needs to win by engaging with its natural allies. That does not mean retreating to any kind of comfort zone. Labour's natural allies are the majority of the population, because Tory policies hurt most of the population.

Labour needs to project a convincing alternative, and the new leadership will have to confront some of the sacred cows of the Westminster consensus if it is to make a convincing case to the nation. 

The party cannot afford to ignore widespread misgivings about the undemocratic and corporate-dominated European Union, which is imposing neoliberal policies on governments elected to do the precise opposite. 

It cannot afford to cosy up to the Tory obsession with free schools and academies. It doesn't matter that Labour brought the latter in - they don't raise standards and they remove democratic accountability. 

Local government needs to be energised, not disempowered. A new drive for high quality and locally accountable schools staffed by qualified teachers is a vote winner. 

It could also allow Labour to reach out more widely in the trade union movement, bringing in unions who have never been politically affiliated to the party. 

Trade unions are the biggest democratic organisations in the country, the biggest voluntary organisations, the greatest social movement Britain has known. And it is only with their organisational expertise and their activism that Labour can hope to defeat a Tory Party backed by big money and riding on a sycophantic monopoly media.

Jeremy's victory marks a renewal of Labour and its mission. We need to harness this energy to build a movement.

We can already see the embryos of such a movement. The hundreds of thousands who have joined the party, the huge rallies summoned by the People's Assembly show that the appetite for a mass extra-parliamentary movement is there. 

But rallies on their own don't achieve much.

It's too early to predict the precise direction of Momentum, but if right-wing Labour MPs are worried about being deselected I'd say they're wide of the mark. 

Of course the current parliamentary party is out of step with the party as a whole and with its leader, which means the new mass membership will need to put pressure on some of the more self-indulgent MPs not to sabotage this whole project. But I don't see Momentum's most useful focus as Parliament.

There are clearly millions of people who ought to be voting Labour but who, for a number of reasons, aren't doing so.

We need to extend the Labour family. And the best way to do this is going to be locally. 

This week we got news of even more sweeping cuts headed the way of local authorities. Councils are struggling, services are suffering. A campaign to save a library or a swimming pool or a youth centre attracts support from across the spectrum. 

Labour, locally, needs to be leading these campaigns and winning them; and, importantly, joining the dots between the services local people rely on which are suffering and the broader picture, the way Conservative cuts to funding and Conservative privatisation policies are the reason services are getting worse. 

Labour will need to co-operate with all sorts of other groups on these matters - this is a cause for the whole left. But only a combination of mass extraparliamentary mobilisation putting pressure on Westminster, and widespread localised activism that takes Labour into the heart of communities, will allow the party to reach new audiences, draw more people into its orbit and lead us to a victory of a new type in 2020.

Jeremy can't win the old-fashioned way - the hostility, the lies and distortions aren't going to stop. If we're going to win, we need to do things differently.