Thank you Jeremy Corbyn
Thank you Jeremy Corbyn, you have inspired me to get my arse into gear and engage in Politics once more. You have helped me see again how important our Labour movement is, how vital we are to the country, and the consequences of our potential demise.
And whilst the fervour of the Labour Party Leadership announcement and Conference in Liverpool this week rumbled on, my thoughts were on memories of her; my home city for 20 years. Of a socialist city, a proud city; a now two tone city.
After the pledges, the rhetoric and the promises, we needed the senior Leaders of our great Party to find better uses of their time than pizza making, Fringe events, sub-group rallies and dinners. With the whole of the media focused on us, Leadership reverted to type. It stayed inside comfort zones, it spoke about the people whilst staying away from them, it celebrated transforming the world; and then it got a taxi back to a warm and comfortable hotel.
I congratulate you on the result Jeremy, I am happy we have a growing Party, but I am deeply concerned about how irrelevant we are becoming. For me and millions like me, can you please start to engage with people at and around the issues you champion. It would earn my respect, eliminate my discord, and allow me to believe in you.
What a waste this week, focusing efforts in the fabricated Liverpool, the invested in Liverpool, when the real Liverpool lay just beyond. An opportunity missed, I fear it will never be taken, reality is currently beyond Leadership in Labour.
Why not visit our estates, speak to real people in their homes, and understand how it is? Why not reinforce our message, our pledges, our promises in the places that need us most? The places you will find generations of unemployment, zero hour contracts, inequality, expensive rents and a two tier education system. Show the media this, focus them on the substance of socialism instead of you; put the media attack on the back foot.
If you are to succeed Jeremy, please see the need to encourage, to engage, to be there with our long serving grass roots members and our councillors, the real Labour Party. A social movement my arse Jeremy, it is middle class speak for working class problems. It is futile and it insults, it disengages and it disenfranchises; it pities.
We need our communities back, on that I agree. We need work that pays, we need investment and we need opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few. When Leadership realise the path is through our Party and our true grass roots, not in spite of it, we will get our Party back from whence it came. When we speak with the people, not for them or at them, we will get our country back.
My old estate, where the adjacent council fields were sold to make ends meet in a round of Tory cuts, would have been a better place to engage this week. With that sale of the fields, a generation of 30-a-side football came to an end. Whole families in one game, all gone, the community left bereft of one of the amenities that helped it bind. Replaced by 8 foot fences that kept the new private estate separate, segregation apparently needed.
Go and stand where the pub used to be Jeremy, where many a socialist argument took place and where people found solace from job cuts and wage cuts. Stand where the shops used to be, where people stopped for a chat and built relationships, or the site of the old bookies, where many a dream crumbled; now all gone and replaced with nothingness. Try getting a bus, but make sure you take plenty of money Jeremy, and waterproofs for the wait. Get off at the ex-Labour Club, now privately run. Imagine it full Jeremy, full of 700 Labour supporters and Members playing a game of bingo, having a laugh, coming together. Socially.
It’s a different community to the one I grew up in now Jeremy; it’s a place you could feel lonely. It’s a place my nephew did; a place where he had work for 15 months in 5 years; casual on minimum wage, or schemes that promised the earth whilst delivering disappointment and destroying esteem. He left his home, as I did, probably never to return.
But it’s also a place of hope, of humour and of brilliant and decent Labour people. They are waiting for you Jeremy, still, but they grow impatient. It’s a place where my Mam knew everyone, where she loved her church and her community. It’s a place where my Dad stood up for his socialist beliefs, to his dying day, a place where our beacon shines, if less brightly.
It’s a place that voted Leave, a Labour area that voted against the status quo, and a Labour area that will turn away unless we speak for it, with it and amongst it.
Please go see for yourself Jeremy, please understand the irrelevance of your rhetoric and your precious Momentum to people who built our Labour movement. Please explain why you preached to the converted during the referendum, please apologise for the further destruction in rights and jobs you played your part in achieving.
For me Jeremy, our real enemy is not each other. We need you in our reality and not in your rallies; we need you in our communities, not in protest. Our greatest strength, our breadth of thinking and argument is now our greatest weakness. No longer capable of debate and understanding, we are cast as either with you or against you Jeremy. It is thoroughly depressing, it betrays and destroys us, and we need you to lead. Right now. We need the country to see itself in you, we need all our Party to believe in you, and it is all in your gift, it is your choice.
Many like me accept you will never be our first choice, our inspiration and orator, but we accept you as Leader. I will put down my Red Lines, and I will give you this chance Jeremy; please choose well. Please be humble not dogmatic, please be unifying not divisive, please be Labour not Momentum.
I thank you again Jeremy, for my part you have helped me see I have been a hypocrite, on that I am quite sure. I have been a proud Labour Member, but an invisible one. I complain about what we have become, yet I watch it develop with my own eyes. I have been in the shadows, in my own comfort zone, and I need to change.
I need to engage in my local community, and I will. I need to contribute, not live in hope. Be part of the argument, not sigh at it. Be part of our future, help to get our communities back, and I will…
….in small steps.
A CLP meeting here and some envelope filling there. A small contribution, a Moderate one you might say, but a real one. Part of the Labour movement, not in protest but in pride; that is how I will help.
Our Party is the Labour Party, 116 years old; a Party of Parliamentary Power first and foremost. Thank you for making me remember this Jeremy, I am alongside for now, for or against you, based on your choices.