OK – I’ll admit it…I once voted Liberal Democrats. In my defence, I was young and someone told me that the Lib Dems were going to legalise weed if they got into government (this was my first and foremost political concern at the time). I quickly realised the error of my ways.
I was brought up in a Tory-tastic, Daily Mail reading environment. I can remember the 1992 election very clearly, and my Dad using the fridge magnets to spell out ‘JM IS PM’ on the dinner table when my mum got home from work. I couldn’t understand why they were so happy that the grey puppet from Spitting Image was the Prime Minister. And, as a kid, I once saw Edwina Currie in Belper Safeway carpark getting the trolley lad to load her shopping into her car, which made me think that all Tory MPs were dicks.
Secondary school history lessons were my first introduction to a slightly wider world of politics. Despite hating my history teacher at school (it was definitely a mutual thing), I always enjoyed learning the subject. And despite that teacher telling me that I would most likely end up as a drug addicted prostitute (a man who really knew how to inspire his pupils), I managed to scrape together a B grade at GCSE and retain a love for looking into past events and seeing how society had evolved. I remember so clearly learning about poor houses, debtor’s prisons and huge social divides, and all the while believing completely that these issues were in the past. My youth and blinkered life gave me a strong faith in humanity and the belief that All the World’s Issues were now sorted because everyone had learnt lessons from The Past. And of course, only fools would repeat the same mistakes that lead to poor houses, debtor’s prisons and widening social divides, right?
Up until the 2010 election Labour had been in power all my adult life. And up until my Lib Dem wobble, I have always voted Labour – maybe initially to rebel against my Tory upbringing, or maybe because Tony Blair had a good PR team (‘he parties with Noel Gallagher! He must be cool’). But during these years I never really felt a connection with any politician – they all seemed a world away from my own reality and, for me politics always seemed like a strange archaic performance. Surely these posh shouty people aren’t the ones in charge of the country?! The way I saw it as a young teenager, the way that politicians behaved would have resulted in a month of detention. My view on this has remained. I find PMQs and parliamentary debates utterly cringeworthy to watch. In what other profession is jeering at and openly mocking your peers an acceptable practice?
I hate the fact that it feels so clearly that history is on a repeating loop. Many of us feel it and can see the social injustices going on right in front of us. I’m cautious of sounding like a stereotype, but for the last few weeks I have often wondered if we are heading towards some kind of revolution. As ever more underhand moves are played out, the numbers of the disillusioned hopefuls grow and we are desperately looking to someone who we can believe in.
This post initially set out to explain why I am supporting Jeremy Corbyn, but instead I have explained some of my life experiences and feelings which have lead me to believe in the things I believe in. I’ll do a Part 2 on this subject, but right now I urge people to register to vote in the Labour leadership election (see link below – you have until 5pm today!). The £25 issue is beyond shocking and I know this will put a lot of people off, but if you do believe in Jeremy Corbyn then please show your support. We all need to show our commitment to helping to create a fairer society – all the old ways (Tory, ‘New Labour’, Lib-Con Coalition etc) haven’t worked so please help by being a part of a new approach to the issues which affect us all.