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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reveals that he has been a geography teacher

19:38 07 January 2016

Jeremy Corbyn at the regional lobby lunch in Westminster

Jeremy Corbyn at the regional lobby lunch in Westminster

Archant

Jeremy Corbyn’s famously disdaining look across the despatch box has been dubbed his “geography teacher stare”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s famously disdaining look across the despatch box has been dubbed his “geography teacher stare”.

There may be an explanation. Recounting tales of his youth to regional journalists on Thursday, the Labour leader revealed that he had in fact taught geography in his past.

At his first press lunch, Mr Corbyn told how he had been asked to teach the subject to 70 children in Jamaica, describing how he had headed off to the Caribbean island aged 18 to be a volunteer youth worker and teacher.

“It was really a defining moment of my life because I was thrown in at the deep end as an 18-year-old who arrived in Jamaica and somebody said: ‘would you teach geography?’. But it was not just general geography, it was Caribbean geography.

“I was then confronted with a class of 70 kids to teach geography to of something I was barely aware of. I worked out what all teachers do. If you are a chapter ahead of the class you are okay until you have a really bright kid, and then you have got a problem. “You say ‘don’t be so pushy, give a chance to the others’,

“So I learnt tactics of crowd control during that process and also a great deal about people and how you deal with a crisis, because you have to deal with it because you have got no choice.”

The 66-year-old has done a number of jobs since coming back to Britain. He spoke with fondness about his career as a local cub reporter on the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser - describing how he had learnt the process of “making something out of nothing”.

But joked with self-depreciation that: “I understand one of my brothers [not climate sceptic Piers] says I am a very bad journalist. I must speak to him about it.”

It was his writing which he claims has given him an interest in the issues communities face and it is not just since he became leader that he has travelled around the country.

“I find this growing sense of regionalism and local identity something that is really interesting. Even in student communities, who in the past the last thing they would want to do is be seen to be part of the local community, actually want to be part of the local community. I find that fascinating.”

His regional tours help to feed his interest in Britain’s train links, something he feeds on his travels as he reads about the history of railways.

“I had a discussion with Andy McDonald who has just been appointed as our shadow rail minister about the whole issue of reopening railways and branch lines and the community railway idea, and the discussion that goes with that.”

He claimed that travelling south to north in Britain was “like a study of rolling stock history of Britain where you end up with almost slam door trains in the very north and you start off with very sophisticated new electric trains in the south”.

And after a visit to York after the Christmas floods he is keen to give his views on what to do about protecting communities from deluges of water - an issued he raised in PMQs yesterday.

“The style I am trying to do for PMQS is very different to what has been done before. Some of my colleagues here are disappointed in it, because they want to retain the theatre of this place and they say it is damaging to the atmosphere of parliament. I don’t see it that way at all. As far as I am concerned I was elected the leader of this party on a strong mandate of party members in all parts of Britain.

“I have said all along that I want to change the style of the way we do things in parliament, hence I am doing these questions which are basically crowd-sourced.” - an initiative which can prompt as many as 40,000 emails in a week, all of which he admits he does not read.

“If politics is to be made relevant and serious for people’s needs then it has to be conducted in a relevant and serious way here. I want to be part of improving that process,” he added.

Among a number of policy reviews he wants to revive the idea of a constitutional convention, which he said will look at powers in Westminster such as the role of the House of Lords, the powers of the House of Commons and how it holds the executive to account.

But not everything has been plain sailing for the Labour leader since he was elected by members in September.

He admitted the struggles of this week’s cabinet reshuffle - which he described as an “adjustment” - was like playing multi- dimensional chess”.

“You start off with a chess board and that’s fine, then you realise you’re playing a game on a parallel board as well and then you suddenly find there’s a third board down the way,” he said.

“Because if you move someone from department A to department B, that creates a vacancy in A, which you might need to fill with somebody from C, that then creates a vacancy in E, and by the way somebody in group G is very upset with the job they’ve got and wants to move somewhere else,” added Mr Corbyn.

And was candid about the mammoth 66-hour marathon admitting that it had taken so long because so many Labour members wanted to talk things through.

“My great failing in life is to listen to everybody at whatever greater length they wish to speak to me,” he said.

“And this building is full of people who speak at great length on lots of things. And so I sat in my office until midnight for two nights running to go through all of this and we finally completed all the appointments last night by a series of text messages whilst I was on the platform at a huge rally in support of legal aid with me and Helena Kennedy and Peter Kavanagh from Unite speaking at Conway Hall,” he added.

He is philosophical about the travails of being a leader.

“Of course I appointed a shadow cabinet that has changed a bit, not much. But it does reach out to all parts of the Labour Party. I said during the campaign I would build this coalition.

I know there are critics, there are always critics, always critics of a reshuffle. No reshuffle goes the way it was initially intended.”

Something his predecessor attests to.

“Ed Miliband has told me the same,” he adds.

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32 comments

  • just seen an election rally on twitter of donald trump . I knew straight away it wasn't a labour one . Men and women were sitting together

    Report this comment

    billy smith

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • Freedomf - that would require medical rather than geographical knowledge.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • Now that explains a lot!!

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • @hereandthere . you have hit the nail on the head . Just how did emily thorn berry get the job of shadow defence . . Just where is her experience? . But the big question is why did she get a large sum of money from an ambulance chasing law firm who are hounding hundreds of our brave servicemen and women ?.

    Report this comment

    northwind56

    Monday, January 11, 2016

  • Here there and everywhere seems to want to defend the antics of Danzcuk in his incessant spamming here, not surprising for a Tory really. Where was the scrutinizing media when that filth MP spread his dirt all over the screens, well, they gave him extra time, with hardly a murmur in the left wing press, collective amnesia. But if ace cricketer Chris Gayle dares to ask an interviewer out, the Guardian feminists went crazy, the tabloids ran out of ink and here there and everywhere choked on his muesli. Just with those 150 chaps in Oregon, armed to the teeth shouting their mouth off to the international media, all ears. If they would have been Afro Americans, Mexicans or Muslims, half of the US forces would descend on them.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 11, 2016

  • northwind56 I think he has just made it more difficult for anyone in his cabinet, who is pro Trident, to remain as he has just replaced his Shadow Attorney General with one who is anti Trident. We are just going to finish up with a whole of of sycophants in Corbyn`s cabinet who are not there on merit; but because they are willing to dance to his tune just to get a job on the front bench. A job which will come to an abrupt end as soon as Corbyn returns to the back benches.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Monday, January 11, 2016

  • @hereandthere . The only person who thinks he is doing a good job is jeremy corbyn himself . Its like watching a sinking ship

    Report this comment

    northwind56

    Monday, January 11, 2016

  • Another day, another two resignations from Labour MPs. Plus Jeremy has lot his bottle and won`t be attending tonight's meeting of the Labour PLP. Would the last Corbyn sycophant MP left standing please turn out the light. Heard that somewhere before. Oh yes, that was when Kinnock lost a general election. Oh, yeah.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Monday, January 11, 2016

  • northwind56 , ted , billy smith .........come on , at least make some effort to appear different people. Play the game .

    Report this comment

    Larson Whipsnade

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • I like Jeremy , he standsfast holding a glowing lantern of goodness in a commons that reeks of evil and depravity ,, good on yer Jezza !!!

    Report this comment

    cal

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • @.billy smith - just logging in as nirtgwind doesn't make your argument any better..its really rather weak. On Saturday the 2nd of January on an article entitled '2015 a year of political revolution on both a local and national scale' you said 'I've never hid the fact I voted for parties like ukip and the bn,p'. Leaving aside the fact that, according to Herr Farage, people like you (he specifically referred to bn,p supporters) weren't welcome in ukip. This demonstrates you are at the absolute extr,emity of British politics. It therefore stands to reason that absolutely everyone is to the left of you. I voted for Richard Bacon because I happen to think he is a decent man who, in my experience, represents his constituents. I am far from the 'far left' as you claim although I accept I have clear libertarian ideas and I'm very happy to see the good in people. The point I was making was that a cursory glance of today's edp website demonstrates that 'local' people are just as capable of committing very unpleasant crimes (today there is a report of r,ape, knife and illegal weapons crimes and a drug crazed maniac with a jcb) as anyone else. Can I suggest that instead of spending so much time on bn,p and certain supre,macist websites you spend a bit more time getting some perspective into your opinions.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • Two things, whilst I think Jeremy Corbyn`s politics are daft I would rather buy a second hand car from him than David Cameron. Also, what`s wrong with being a geography teacher?

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • surprise surprise, a school teacher, that just about sums him up.

    Report this comment

    ted

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • the last two rants on here from rushall just about sums up the looney left . . These are the kind of rants you get when someone has completely lost the argument

    Report this comment

    northwind56

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • @billy smith - you told us last week you were a bn,p man. The tories are far left of a right wing ex,tremist like you!

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • just who are the far left defending on this post? . Certainly not the right of the people of europe to remain safe in their own homeland

    Report this comment

    billy smith

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • @billy smith - no mention from Farahe or tiyr mates the bn,p about the three headline sickening stories on today's edp website. Two attacks one with a machete and the other with a knife alongside a drug fuelled 37 mile rampage through the county. The point is criminals carry out crimes wherever they are and regardless of where they are from.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • Another unintelligible rant from Ingo which shows why Labour is unelectable. Danzuck was not sacked by Corbyn. He was suspended from the Labour party by its general secretary. Corbyn does not have it in his power to sack an MP. Billy Smith sort of hits the nail on the head about Corbyn and his sycophants. who voted for Labour, not the three quiders. They are not representative of the millions of people who support Labour. What they want from Labour is far removed from what Corbyn and his hard left supporters think they should have. The left were a disaster in the 70s and 80s and they will be a disaster again for Labour as long as Corbyn is allegedly in charge of the party. Although one increasingly gets the impression that Ken Livingstone is pulling Corbyn`s strings and making him dance to his tune.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

  • no mention from corbyn or labour about any change to labours open door immigration policy .. After the sickening attacks in cologne and many other german cities how are labour still going to be able to defend the same policy as the german leader on immigration after whats happened

    Report this comment

    billy smith

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • Corbyn seems to be a breath of fresh air to young enthusiastic voters who are severely suffering from the cuts, and the poor, unionised labour, and many more. The media is building up the May elections as a milestone, make or break moment, when they are just mid term council elections, conducted, once again under an unfair disproportional voting system that stinks of fraud and often proofs it, big deal. We have a media that fails to scrutinise and keep an eye on Elliott Johnsons suicide, ignorant of the fact that Corbyn sacked Danzcuk and rightly so, although our feminist media sores are unable to write about his disgusting behaviour. Corbyn acted, period. A point often raised during the Labour leadership contest: do you agree with Conservative welfare reforms to tax credits that have hitherto provided the bridge to the gender pay gap caused by women’s biology and will increase maternal and child poverty? Here are the positions of the candidates and the media feminist commentariat. Liz Kendall: Yes. Labour is not the party of welfare. Yvette Cooper: Yes. Tough decisions blah blah blah. Andy Burnham: I don’t know. My triangulation optics data report is late. Jeremy Corbyn: No. The bill is anti-women. All media feminists response afterwards: VOTE YVETTE! SHE IS A WOMAN! Ergo, in my view, Jeremy Corbyn was the only feminist standing in the Labour leadership contest and all the media feminists are a waste of (very noisy) space more occupied with themselves and glass ceilings for a certain type of go getting women, but they could not give a hoot about those women who protested outside Mr. Danzcuks office and called for his resignation. Shame on journalism shame for failing to scrutinise the failures of Government. Feministi rubios.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • Corbyn made a right hash of his reshuffle and he knows it. Appointing MPs to his cabinet who have only a few months experience in the job was mistake number one. His second mistake was appointing that obnoxious woman Thornberry to defence who today, admits she doesn`t know why Jeremy gave her the job. She`s right there. Neither does the rest of the country. Especially as she took a bung from the law firm that made false allegations against British soldiers. Corbyn will be 70 by the time of the next election. Far too old for the non stop life of a leader of a party. My guess is he will begone sooner rather than later if Labour does badly in May`s elections. Opposition parties historically always do well. If Labour loses too many councils then he will have to take the walk of shame.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • more negativity created by our smearing tabloid journalists, citing his 'disdaining look', his 'geography teachers stare'. It was coined alright, Ms Dickson, but by whom? was it by you? who coined this term? And why the absolute silence and lack of scrutiny regards this Government and its shady affairs, whether its Europe, financial money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, preferential treatment of bankers, nothing the Government does fazes our neo con servant journalists, as long as they can 'get Corbyn' they are happy. Also take note of the lack of feminists who got to grips with Simon Danzcuks sexual discrepancies, not a single Guardian feminist that harangued him? what a surprise...Is it because he's a neocon, a Blairite, or the paedo hunter general nobody wants to touch? what is it that does make him invincible? Journalism today is one big joke.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • At least as an ex Geography Teacher he knows where he is in the world !..unlike Cameron who doesn't know if he's on his ar_e or his elbow !..

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • At least as an ex Geography Teacher he knows where he is in the world !...unlike Cameron who doesn't know if he's on his arse or his elbow !.....

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • A failing teacher then and poor at geography as well. He obviously has never been to the east by rail and seen the original Stephenson 3rd class coaches which are passed off as 1st class. Probably not even by road as Norfolk is one of the few counties with no motorways. Perhaps he'll explain how Norfolk people will be able to pass that bit of the new driving instructions test as well.

    Report this comment

    manbythesea

    Friday, January 8, 2016

  • So he's done something useful in the past, wonder if Cameron has any chance of matching that?

    Report this comment

    PaulWho

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • From a former geography teacher :) - I would suggest that Annabelle Dickson might need an english teacher. Mr Corbyn was not "Regaling tales of his youth." To 'regale' is to entertain, so he was no doubt regaling an audience (the nature of which is unclear from this article, although a section of it at the top is not displaying properly on my screen) with the tales. Maybe Annabelle meant 'relating'?

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • @stoneman - why surprised, it can't be libel as it's the truth.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • Great. He can tell Donald Trump republican that Paris is not in Germany...and never was.

    Report this comment

    sue douglas

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • You would think a geography teacher would have a better sense of direction.

    Report this comment

    Desmond_22

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • 're: yesno its a wonder the censors at archant let that one through

    Report this comment

    stoneman

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

  • Certainly beats fornicating with deceased pig parts.

    Report this comment

    Yesno

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

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