In the last few days or so (perhaps since the press discovered that Jeremy Corbyn was in with a shout) I’ve been told that I’m stupid and naive, blinkered, backward looking, likely to be siding with Palestinian terrorists (thank you Nick Cohen) and pretty much all round making Labour unelectable. Huh, and all that just because I don’t fancy voting for one of three candidates anointed by the (mainly right wing) press.
Meanwhile the aforementioned right-wing press are supposedly rubbing their hands in glee because ‘my’ candidate is a ‘bearded voter repellent’ that will ensure Tory hegemony for decades to come. Blimey, such power.
The thing is, all I think I’m doing is exercising my right to vote for the leadership of the political party that I joined many years ago. I joined then because I wanted to be part of a movement that valued the rights of workers over CEO’s, who believed in the NHS and the social security system set up post-war to ensure that poverty wouldn’t stalk the unemployed again, and I hoped for a better life for all (not just the monied classes). I didn’t vote for Tory, oops, Tony Blair because I mistrusted a man who put pragmatism before values and I think I was vindicated: he secured elections wins but never made the changes to UK life that I hoped for.
I will be following my conscience again and I won’t be lectured, browbeaten or shamed into making a decision that I’m not comfortable with. If you decide that an election win at any cost is all that matters, well that’s your choice too, but a pragmatic leader delivering populist policies has been done before. Was it worth it? Well…Iraq, PPPI’s, partial privatisation of the NHS, stagnating wages, a dearth of social house building, casino banking, Mandelson, the birth of buy to let and the housing bubble, academies, student loans, continued support of privatised utilities and public transport (the latter propped up by public subsidy) etc etc.