The new Labour party leader snuck out of the Westminster conference centre where his victory in the Labour leadership had been announced and – evading most journalists – went to The Sanctuary pub to meet his campaign team and activists.
Supporters crammed in to hear him give an impromptu speech and chanted “Jez we did!” before finishing with a rendition of the socialist anthem The Red Flag.
“We’ve been through the most amazing experience most of us have had in our lives,” Corbyn told supporters, paying tribute to his youth support base: “Who says young people aren’t interested in politics? Politics wasn’t interested in young people.”
“Our campaign was founded with absolutely nothing apart from a very small amount on my credit card to pay for some train journeys,” the new Labour leader said. “That was a problem.”
He reiterated his pride that his campaign had raised hundreds of thousands of pounds from the general public: “We received, asked for, and got no corporate donations whatsoever.”
He pledged to travel the UK campaigning against austerity measures and pursue a foreign policy that focusses on “human rights, justice, and protection of the environment”.
“I’ll be campaigning all around the country all of the time to bring about the decent, social, just society we want,” he said. “[I’ll be] challenging the idea that austerity caused by a banking failure should be paid for by the poorest.”
At one point Corbyn read a Tony Benn quote from a tea towel handed to him by a supporter and paid tribute to Labour’s socialist heritage. He also revealed his trick for getting a seat on railway journeys while criss-crossing the country: “I give railway history lessons to anyone who listens. It’s a great way to get your own seat – give a railway history lesson to someone and they soon move.”
The biggest applause was for an attack on the media’s treatment of his extended family: “The amount of abuse that’s been heaped on my widest extended family has been utterly disgraceful and I hope the media if they’re hearing this feel ashamed of themselves. We don’t do personal abuse, we don’t give personal abuse, we’re not interested in the theatre of politics.”
In the crowd were many of the handful of left-wing Labour MPs who thought they would never see the party return to the traditional socialist policies it last espoused in the 1980s.
“It’s the most joyful day of my political life,” Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins told BuzzFeed News. “Look at the number of young people here, young people are going to be turned on by radical politics.”
Corbyn also apologised to four American tourists from his “favourite city” of Chicago who had gone to the pub to have fish and chips for their lunch. The Americans inadvertently found themselves squeezed into a corner as the pub was occupied by hundreds of activists cheering on the left-wing politician – but even they were won over by Corbynmania.
“He came across as very, very personable,” said Republican-voting retiree David Patton afterwards, while mopping up his mushy peas. “He was very comfortable with us. Obviously he’s dedicated to what he’s running for. Anyone who can attract this many young people at his age must really having something. If I lived here I’d definitely vote for him.”