A couple of months back I got myself comfortable on the sofa, and settled down to watch what I thought was going to be a Labour election win. Or at the very least a Labour coalition win and a bit of Tory mocking as an added bonus.
Then that exit poll happened. ‘Well, that must be wrong’ I thought. ‘They must have asked the wrong people’. Then Labour won the first few seats and I relaxed a bit. Just a bit as it soon became clear the exit polls were correct. Eventually I went to bed, but woke every half hour or so, checking the latest on the phone seconded under my pillow. Nope. It was still true. The Conservatives had won.
The next morning I was glued to the coverage in a post-apocalyptic fashion. I alternated between crying and swearing most of the day, filling the gaps in between with social media jaunts, where everyone else seemed angry too. Then in the evening I did what every good socialist should do in this kind of situation – I drank a raft of rum, listened to Billy Bragg and raged against the world in a slightly incoherent fashion.
The next morning, hangover firmly in place, I felt a shift in my mood. Still angry, still sweary, but also with an added bit of ‘not in my name’. You Tories may have won, but the havoc and misery you are going to bring will not be in my name, I will stand up against you and register my objections. Yes reader, I decided to join the Labour Party.
I have always voted Labour. I come from a Labour voting family. I talk about politics, I write about politics – but had never signed up. Now was the time to get properly involved, I decided.
So here I am, newly fledged Labour Party member, as of Saturday the 9th of May. Now according to the newspaper reports I could be an infiltrator, not a true supporter, but someone who wants to see them in opposition for perpetuity – and wearing donkey jackets and singing folk songs. Why? Because I will be voting for Corbyn in the leadership election.
When I joined the ink was barely dry on Ed’s heartfelt resignation. I hadn’t even heard of Corbyn. So the chances that I joined with the sole view of voting for him are small. (Well, impossible unless I have hitherto unknown psychic abilities). I joined because I believe in the Labour Party, because I wanted to help, because I wanted to register my disgust at some of the policies being bought in by the new government. I wanted to be part of the fight for fairness and equality, for the NHS and schools, for a society that cared.
Scroll forward to now and the papers aren’t writing about Labour taking the government to task about their frankly life threatening behaviour, they are writing about some members of the Labour Party insulting other members of Labour Party.
I need a heart transplant. I am deluded. I am a Trotskyite. I don’t remember 1983. (I do actually, I wanted to marry Adam Ant and spent my days bombing about on my bike – it had ribbons on the handles, those were the days!). And why? Because my vote will be going to the only candidate who seems to be saying anything that represents me.
Heart over head they say. A bit maybe, but equally Corbyn isn’t offering Owls for everyone, or suggesting we all take it in turns to be Queen, or that we march into Amazon with our hammers and sickles and take it back for the people. He is offering hope. Economics that work in Germany. Education that is free at the point of service. Investment in the health service. Investment in people not bombs. A much needed increase in housing. Re nationalisation of vital services. Paid for by big business paying what they rightly owe and the wealthy contributing a little more. Less inequality, better public service. A society that works for the majority not just the chosen few.
I like what he says, and I trust he believes what he says. A rare thing. I am not barmy. I am hopeful. I am not desperate. I am finally inspired.
I went to my first party meeting a couple of weeks back. I got called a ‘youngster’. I am 42, that made my year. (There is a point to this other than getting to share that flattering remark!). My CLP are in the vast majority voting for Corbyn. They are not new party members, many of them have been there for 40 years. They are not young (sorry peeps!), as shown by them thinking I was! They are voting for someone who has views in line with their own.
For members of the Parliamentary Labour Party to insult me is one thing, I am new, they are right I don’t understand the minutiae of party politics. But in insulting me, they are also insulting them – the long-standing life blood of the party, the normal people who when they spoke at the party meeting, spoke with passion, huge intelligence and a vast amount of experience and knowledge.
So you know, I may be a bit loony. I have the excitement of a new found passion, and I, as a youngster, still think I can change the world. Actually I think we can all change the world. I think Labour Party members old and new are saying we want something better than this, and unless any of the other candidates suddenly find a way to talk without using sound bites and start offering hope and possibility then Corbyn will remain our only option. Whatever insults they choose to throw at us.
Love Miss Wolfie Smith Cisco XXX