For the last two years I have spent an inordinate amount of time campaigning in elections or organising for internal party contests. I’ve lost more than I’ve won, but I hope I can say I gave it a bloody good go.
But this election tomorrow, well that’s different.
On Friday many people in this country could have years added on to their lives. Children will be born who would not have otherwise. Homes will be built that will be the birthplace of the history makers of tomorrow.
You can be part of that – but only if we get Labour into power. Only if we secure the most unlikely victory in British electoral history.
It can be done, but not by people like me. I’m the faithful. It’s those of you reading this who think I’m half mad that will tip the scales. You’re the key characters in this now rapidly concluding act.
And why should you? Because we have the most transformational set of policies we are likely to ever see from a major party, and the personnel to deliver it.
When I was a younger man I worked in warehouses, shops, bars, and before I realised I was better off with the books than the breeze blocks – manual labour.
Without exception I was underpaid, undervalued, and as a result felt I contributed little to society and in return society didn’t care all that much about me.
I was, without going into the theory, alienated. Many people are. In fact most people are. It’s this sense of alienation that some accept in return for a fair wage for a fair day’s work, but few actually receive.
Giving workers a £10 minimum wage will transform this country. It will tip the balance towards the many, not the few. Getting rid of the under-25 exemption would have changed my life drastically and the lives of many of those around me.
I was fortunate enough to have a Labour government at that time who helped me through the Future Jobs Fund and decreased tuition fees, but it wasn’t half of what Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are offering young people now.
This platform truly is life altering, and these young people deserve a break. Like you or your parents, they just want steady employment, a decent home, and enough spare change to put a smile on their loved ones faces. There’s nothing ‘radical’ or ‘fantasy land’ about that – it’s common decency.
Yes, Corbyn didn’t take the traditional path to power. Yes, he probably liked Gerry Adams more than he liked Margaret Thatcher – but that does not make him the caricatures he is depicted as in the papers.
I saw this man speaking to a crowd as far back as 2008. All you could get out of him was the need to end the war and the state of housing in this country. A decade later we’re still seeing young working class men come home in coffins, and those who get back alive have nothing but a damp prefab to go into.
Corbyn is leading this party because the country has left a whole generation – millions of people – out in the cold. We have created a society of precarious living in which the measure of a person is whether they manage to scrap together a meagre living in the face of insurmountable odds that sought to push them off a cliff. I accept prosperity should not be handed to you, but you should still have the energy left to enjoy it once you get there.
Labour is a party for those who work, and we want to enable people to do that. We won’t achieve it by pushing their faces into the dirt with the soles of our boot.
Just look at these policies. We could completely redefine Britain.
No income tax rises for anyone earning under £80,000 p/a
£250 billion National Transformation Fund
A genuine industrial strategy based on plugging skills deficits
Introducing a ‘right to own’ for employees
A National Education Service
Removing the pay cap in the NHS
Doubling the number of apprenticeships
100,000 council houses built a year
ALL FULLY COSTED – with a guarantee of no borrowing on day to day spending.
I accept Corbyn has his flaws.
Whilst being a wonderful champion of the solutions to the ills that afflict our worst off communities, he at times fails to understand the cultural preoccupations of working class people. He is a bit too much of a dove in a time where strength is in short supply. Christ, he thinks free instruments for school kids is an important political issue, and he even supports Arsenal…I digress.
Yet despite all this, this strange old man from Islington North has acted with utmost dignity and principle throughout his years in Westminster and the leaders office.
Could anyone else have put up with May’s attacks on his character after Manchester and so adeptly laid into her heinous record on police cuts? Could anyone other than Corbyn have answered a man frothing at the mouth about having to pay increased wages to his staff and come out the other side having convinced both he and the country that in fact investing in people is the key to driving profits?
This is a time for new ideas.
This is a time for Labour.
Please cast your vote for your Labour candidate tomorrow.
There are a lot of people who won’t survive another 5 years.
Thanks to the grafters who have campaigned all the way with me, they know who they are.