Some of you may have seen this photo before. It was used by the right-wing press back in 2016 to slate Jeremy Corbyn, with the headline ‘Where’s Corbyn’. Instead of answering questions from the Tory party conference he was ‘lost’ on Hadrian’s Wall, buying recycled knitwear knitwear from The Woolly Pedlar. It was even suggested that he be called The Woolly Pedlar becuase he dealt in woolly politics.

As a socialist, can you imagine how gutted I was to hear that my photo was on the front of The Sun, the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The London Evening Standard? It got worse – it appeared on Have I Got News For You?, in Private Eye , the BBC Politics Programme and New New Statesman. It was on BuzzFeed……it went viral.

I rang the Labour Party press office and said that I had done a very stupid thing. I’d had a phone call from The Daily Telegraph after I’d written a blog post about Jeremy Corbyn buying his wife one of my woolly wraps in our village shop, and had given them permission to use my photo. How utterly naive and stupid I was. I was elated that a man I so respected and admired, and hoped would be our next Prime Minister had taken the time to chat to my son on the station platform at Bardon Mill, then go into our very small village shop at Bardon Mill and buy is wife one of my woolly wraps.

He had indeed been working that weekend and was on his way from the Jarrow March celebrations. He was taking a Sunday afternoon off to go for a walk in our beautiful Northumberland countryside. For the record, we are contactable here in Northumberland. It may be north of Watford Gap, but we still have phone signal.

I was relieved to see that Peter Bradshaw had written a piece in The Guardian, coming to Jeremy and my defense. I was only a small business owner trying to show how happy I was that someone as famouse a Jeremy had bought one of my garments, and Jeremy was not sitting in his kitten heeled Westiminster bubble buying expensive designer clothes, and had indeed been working and engaging with ordinary people.
I lost some followers of my business, such as the woman who said she was about to but one of my woolly wraps, but couldn’t possibly as she knew Jeremy had bought one. What utter tosh! Would you walk out of a shop becuase you didn’t like the customer infront?

I was about to go on holiday when all this broke, and my photo went viral. My husband, not a huge fan of social media, had said that I was to stop looking at my phone as we were on holiday. I couldn’t leave this! My business grew after this, and I gained a lot of new followers, many of whom were of the same political persuasion as me. At least that was something positive to come out of this sorry tale.

I no longer recycle knitwear as The Woolly Pedlar, and one of the regrets of closing my website was that this story and the photos disappeared with it. I thought, therefore, that in the run up to this moneumentous election, with the country on the cusp of a revolution, it would be timely to tell my story again.

I now have a different set of social media accounts, under Sue Reed Writes – feel free to find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as I head off to Newcastle University to follow my dream to become a writer.

I am proud to be a member of the Labour Party. If I am ever lucky enough to meet Jeremy, I would like to apologise to him for being so naive as to give the Torygraph permission to use the photo, but thank him for being the humble, beautiful man that he is. I do hope he is the next Prime Minister, and we can put an end to homelessness, child poverty, food banks, zero hours contracts, save the NHS, address the climate emergency………the list goes on.

4 replies
  1. Gina Deen
    Gina Deen says:

    I’m sure Jeremy will forgive you – he is that kind of a man. I, too, so hope he will be our next PM. What a difference that will make to our currently dreadful country.

    • sue
      sue says:

      Hi Gina,

      thanks for that lovely comment. I have been hiding after that shock of an election result, but am ready to face the world again. I hope you had a Happy Christmas, and wish you all the best for the New Year,

      Sue xx

  2. Colin
    Colin says:

    Hi Sue

    It’s good to see your positive story about Jeremy. I admire him in many ways, but mostly because he is so down to Earth and principled. And good Lord how he has faced a hammering over the years, and yet always remained calm. Never rising to it.

    You might wish to apologise to him, but I bet he would tell you: “tosh, utter nonsense, you aren’t to blame.” And he’d be right.

    I am also a writer, and also a Labour party member. I simply cannot fathom how anyone can vote Tory and if they get back into power I am going to have to put in serious thought about leaving the UK, if I can. I don’t want to live in a country that chooses inequality and poverty.

    Anyway, as a writer, I’m glad to hear your following that new dream. What kind of writing are you doing? Are you aiming to get published, or to self publish?

    Feel free to get in touch.

    Kind regards

    • sue
      sue says:

      Hi Colin,
      I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to reply to your lovely, supportive message. I was in shock after the election result, and retreated into my shell somewhat. However, with a new year, it is time to come out fighting. I’m writing memoir at the moment, but I have no idea if I will get this published or not. I’m at Newcastle Uni doing my MA and am being fairly open to where the course takes me. Next semester we are learning about writing for children and young adults, which will be interesting.

      Wishing you all the best for the New Year.



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