I have registered as a Labour Supporter to gain the ability to vote in their leadership election happening soon. The four choices for leader are Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn. I shall be voting for Corbyn, and I’d like to explain why.
My first political engagement was marching to demonstrate against the Iraq war in 2003. Somewhere between three quarters of a million and three million people demonstrated in London — and Blair took us in anyway. The dossier they fabricated, the scientist David Kelly whom they drove to suicide, the democratic will they spat upon, the feeling of being part of a vassal state to the USA, how our name was used to legitimise a phony war, the half-a-million Iraqis that died as a result — these are my first political memory. I loathe Tony Blair and his attitude that truth is negotiable, flexible, unimportant.
I support the trades unions rights to strike. I think zero-hours contracts are monstrous, unpaid internships almost as bad. I think that private ownership of companies that have monopolies — like the train companies do of their areas — is pure foolishness. I am happy to pay my tax and contribute to society, and if some of that tax goes to rehabilitating prisoners or supporting people in difficulty I’m glad. These values are Labour values.
Because I hold these values, I have never voted Labour.
I don’t trust any of the Blairites further than I could kick them, and I would dearly love to kick them, hard. I can only assume that the Labour front bench get up in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror and gnash their teeth, hating themselves for not being Tories. Why in the name of all that is sacred would I ever vote for a party that seems to despise itself? Why would anyone? People are still voting for Labour despite the scum coating the front bench, not because of it.
I’ll vote for Corbyn because he doesn’t stink of shame.