Corbyn joins seatless commuters on floor for three-hour train journey
The Guardian, by Charles B Anthony and Karen McVeigh
Spending a busy train journey without a seat, crushed up against other commuters in the aisle, or crouched uncomfortably in the luggage compartment is an all-too-common experience for many. But you don’t expect to spot the leader of the opposition on the floor of a train on your way to work.
Jeremy Corbyn, famed for standing up for his principles, sat down for them last week, along with 20 other seatless commuters on a three-hour train journey from London to Newcastle.
In a video shot as he was on his way to debate with Owen Smith in the Labour leadership hustings in Gateshead, Corbyn is seen sitting on the floor of the train, a coffee and brown paper bag at his feet, reading Private Eye. The freelance filmmaker Yannis Mendez, who has been following Corbyn and volunteers for his campaign, filmed the footage.
From his spot on the floor, which he chose rather than upgrading to first class, Corbyn turns to the camera and says: “This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed. The staff are absolutely brilliant, working really hard to help everybody.
“The reality is there are not enough trains, we need more of them – and they’re also incredibly expensive.” He said the whole experience was a good case for public ownership.
Later, Corbyn said: “Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.”
Ellen, a mother-of-two who travelled on the same train and and also had no seat, said: “It was a surprise to see him there, but it was refreshing. It made me realise that it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a politician travelling alongside average commuters. They should be on the same level as the general public.”
It is not the first time Corbyn has experienced the reality of Britain’s transport woes. During the 2015 leadership campaign he was spotted on a night bus after a day’s campaigning.