I’ve just finished watching a DVD about, and by, Tony Benn, “Will and Testament”. Highly recommended, even if you think you have no interest in politics. It reminded me of my own history, and of my parents’ and their parents’ histories. It also reminded me of why I’m voting Labour, even though I think a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn will not win. I was recently asked by someone “Why are you voting for him if you think he can’t win?” My response was a) he’s not my parliamentary candidate, I’m voting for my constituency candidate, b) I’m a socialist and I believe in what he’s trying to do and c) I’m not voting for a leader of a political party. Leaders come and go and at least one serving Prime Minister has been replaced by their party. However I was puzzled why anyone would decide their voting intentions on the basis, not of policy or principle, but of wanting to be on the winning side. That seems to me to be worse than not voting at all; not voting is a betrayal of those thousands who have died to win us the right to vote, and those all over the world who still don’t have a vote. I’m not encouraged by the fact that 30% of the electorate couldn’t even be bothered to vote in the Brexit Referendum. Please, you have to vote.
Now, back to my DVD. I’m sorry, but Jeremy Corbyn is no Tony Benn. If he were, though, he would be subjected to the same vicious character assassination that Tony Benn was. The same vested interests, the same powerful forces, (and some in his own party, just as Tony Benn was), would make sure he failed. Unfortunately (or fortunately if that’s your view) he’s doing that job for them by being, well, Jeremy. It doesn’t matter that the words coming out of his mouth are much the same as those of other socialists in the past, he’s not seen as a threat. What is a threat, is you and me. Our votes for our constituency candidate are a threat. When I put my bit of paper in the ballot box I’m saying, “I don’t care what you think, this is what I think”. It wouldn’t matter if Jeremy Corbyn lost his own seat, after all he is only one MP, as long as a Labour government was returned. The choice isn’t Corbyn or May it’s Labour or Conservative. Left or Right. The choice is between a party and government with a history of making the poor and defenceless pay for the excesses and failures of the rich, and one that doesn’t (even the right-of-centre New Labour). The choice is not between two people but between two parties whose gut instincts are diametrically opposed: one wants more “austerity”, more cuts in education, police, social care, health, pensions etc., and one doesn’t. The choice is between a party that believes having any kind of job (even one with no contract) is enough, and one that believes you should be secure and paid a living wage for what you do. The choice is between a party that believes the social and industrial infrastructure of the country should be in private hands, and one that doesn’t. I know what I want. I’m voting Labour.