Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why do I support Jeremy Corbyn?

I moved north to rural Lincolnshire in 2013.  I love it.  I moved away from a constituency where I was happy to vote for my constituency MP because he had been very supportive of me and other Home Educators in 2004, when the incumbent Labour government had been threatening to change the rules to make home education much more difficult for parents.

He was an unusual Conservative: he spoke against the Iraq war, and stood on a platform with other people from other parties to oppose it.  He cared deeply about the local constituency and attended countless local events and gave his support to local people.  He was a Conservative MP but he was someone who voted with his conscience... which is probably why he was recruited to the whip's office.

Moving to another part of the country and another constituency meant that I had to re-examine the choices I had made in the past.  I think I am probably a natural Green supporter, and I am a Quaker, which means that social justice and equality are highly important to me.

I had been a Young Conservative in my misspent youth, because I associated the Conservatives with individual choice and freedom, and for reasons I can't account for I didn't feel mass movements were a positive thing.  But as I have got older I have become more and more left wing.  I have begun to connect to the things I actually believe in and the world I really want to live in, and it isn't an island of rich people surrounded by poverty, even if I were one of the rich ones.

By 2013 we had the coalition in power, and I was not at all happy at the changes that had been wrought in the welfare system, in the NHS, in the way that corporations and companies seemed to have more power and clout than the constituents that MPs were supposed to represent. I yearned for social justice, for fair pay for fair work, for a politician who wasn't on the make or screwing the expenses system, and who would stand up for ordinary people.

I joined the Green Party and eventually attended a meeting locally, but that attendance coincided with the beginnings of the leadership campaign after the Election in 2015, and as it happened, one of my social media friends posted a video of Jeremy Corbyn speaking.  I watched, found more on youtube and watched those.  Once he had confirmed that he was against fracking, I signed up to vote in the leadership election and then joined the Labour Party.  Here was someone who stood up and said the things I wanted said, who worked for the common good, and took public transport.

In the months since then, my affection and admiration for Jeremy Corbyn has only grown.  When he refused to deal in personal insults and instead insisted on dealing with the issues, when I heard him talk passionately about the need to reduce social inequality and saw how charismatic he was, my support turned into a passion to see him in government, able to implement his policies.

I was grateful to Jeremy Corbyn for something else:  before I supported him I believed we had a more or less free press and that Noam Chomsky was exaggerating when he said that the belief that we had a free press was actually as damaging as anything else.  I have been horrified by the way in which the press handled the first nine months of his leadership and how partisan they are - even the Guardian which was my paper of choice.

It's possible that the people briefing against him have been on his own side for all these months, and if that is true, I think it is disgraceful.  The democracy in the Labour Party was one of the things that drew me to it... if the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) manage to oust Corbyn against the will of the membership, that democracy is dead.

I don't want spin, or blustering politicians who don't have any principles and can spin on a penny, I want real conviction and real commitment to serving the people of the country.  That's what I find in Jeremy Corbyn and is exactly what seems to be missing from the PLP who seem to think their views on the leadership overwrite the will of the membership because they are in parliament, eeven when their own Constiituency Labour Party (CLP) are loyal to Corbyn and instruct them to be likewise, please.

I'm no fanatical SWP supporter, I'm a peaceful anti-fracking activist who believes, as Corbyn does, than in the end it all comes down to talking, and we should do that earlier, not as an afterthought.  I'm not an extremist and I offer no threats to those who are in opposition to my views.  But I'm not a pushover either.  I examine what I am told, and I think for myself.  And I support Corbyn because he has shown no lack of leadership in my estimation, only a lack of people willing to submit to leadership.

I agree with him that a resignation would only serve to betray the Labour Party members who are the party and to destroy the Labour Party as we know it.  Perhaps that is coming anyway, but I don't think we should allow the PLP or the shadowy companies and groups who support them to be the arbiters of that.  For if the Labour Party abandons democracy and Corbyn, who will stand up for them then?

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