Dear Mr Corbyn: Why you Must Win the General Election…for us.
An open letter/article to the only potential leader who will listen.
Dear Mr Corbyn
Cards on the table: I have never voted Labour. In fact, in 2010 I tactically voted specifically against Labour for the sole reason of the sheer destruction of the Education system.
I trained to teach in 2003/2004 and spent six years watching the damage worsen in a career I should have been able to love. Indeed I loved teaching the children and young people, but the job itself was nothing but lies, deception and political undermining at every step. I had watched “Curriculum 2000” unpick the fabric of good education and turn it into a grotesque point-scoring that had nothing to do with educating, and everything to do with politics and league tables, buried under a hidden, stealth privatisation that the current arm-chair experts still know nothing about.
So I voted Lib Dem — because they weren’t Labour, and there was no damn way I was voting Tory. I knew the Lib Dems could never get into power, but I wanted them to damage Labour enough and maybe squeeze a hung parliament, and get into a coalition. When they did that, I crossed my fingers and hoped they might be able to buffer the shit-storm I knew a Tory government would bring.
Quite predictably, I watched a turn-coat public switch from really liking Nick Clegg, to deriding him for everything that went wrong in that coalition. Admittedly, the Tories played that one well by engaging the long game: use Clegg and the Lib Dems as canon fodder; switch the electorate off and on again; and squeeze into power by a slither of seats in 2015. To give you an example: I have always hated how people blamed the Lib Dems for the increase in tuition fees, which they had promised not to do. So many people are still tutting and huffing at Nick Clegg, pointing the finger at completely the wrong people.
It was the Tories who made that happen, and then put the Lib Dems out there as cannon fodder. And the public fell for it.
And we ended up with the Tories, elected without the mandate of the public, since more people did not vote at all than those who actually ticked a Tory box.
It pains me greatly to think that anyone could vote Tory. Okay, that’s not totally true. I completely understand why the rich, narcissistic, self-serving top 10% would vote Tory: to protect their money. But anyone else…
…I just don’t get it.
And I think you are the same. Every time I see one of those classic “Corbyn-Bashing” photos where you are captured with a slightly puzzled look, I imagine you thinking: “I don’t understand you people — how on earth can you not see, and hate, what the Tories have done to this country?”
You have stated your case perfectly. You have made it clear that you want to fight for the people — for everyone. The Tories have attacked the disabled, the sick, the young, the elderly, those dependent on care. They have neglected and failed to support the 124,000 homeless children — or any other homeless people, for that matter — and they continue to dismantle the education system.
Popping My Teacher’s Hat on again for a Minute
Yes, I come back to the education system, and I do that for a reason. I am QUALIFIED to talk about it. I have the specialist, professional training, the recognised qualification, and over 15 years’ experience in that field in one way or another. I have taught and supported children and young people in so many contexts: in Primary and Secondary schools; in youth clubs; theatre and music; private tutoring; and various voluntary work with some of the most vulnerable in our society. I have helped, advised, and trained people working with children.
And yet our ministers of education (and all other areas) have no experience or knowledge. Michael Gove spent more time whining about calling the times-tables “multiplication tables” because he thought children were confused, and would mix them up with clocks. (Honestly. That’s true. That is an ACTUAL DIRECTION from an Advanced Skills Teacher/Adviser when I was teaching.) Under Tory direction, the target setting got so bad that I was told to focus on the top 75% of my year 5 class who would meet the target level and “dump the bottom 25% — 7 children — onto my TA. (Again, honestly, that is an ACTUAL DIRECTION from a highly regarded Head Teacher.) The intention was to ensure the school scored enough points on league tables. “Every child matters” — yeh right. That was the moment when I finally walked away.
I continue to see education battered more, and each day that goes by makes me more glad I left. The Tories keep trying to distract the public with big numbers and claims that they are pumping money into schools. What they DON’T realise is that we — REAL TEACHERS WHO KNOW OUR SHIT — know that on the ground level schools are losing money, increasing class sizes, closing schools, sacking teachers and TAs…
And I am not on my own in this — here’s another story of experienced teachers walking away.
Theresa May has Patronised us for Too Long
I know this isn’t news to you, as you have to stand opposite her in the House of (Not at all) Commons, most days. But the notion — first spouted by David Cameron — that we are “all in this together,” and that we should “unite” is very easy for someone to say when they get to go home in an expenses paid car to their second paid home, to sit on their luxury sofa in the £1000 leather trousers.
But let’s be clear: we aren’t in this together. When the shit hits the fan, it is the people who get covered. Just like the Clegg-Dems were used as cannon fodder, so too are the sick, disabled, and weakest of our society. Again, I am qualified to talk about this because I not only KNOW THESE PEOPLE, but I had to survive as one of those scrounging bastards for 18 months. You know, living off my £Millions under Universal Credit. (£568 a month, actually).
It doesn’t take much time with Google (for BBC readers: other search engines are available) to hunt down the UK national average salary, which is quoted as £27,200.
Nice try, politicos! But anyone who paid attention in maths when they were in Year 5 and above will know how to calculate the MEAN. You include ALL figures. And if you have just one (or a small number) of substantially different data points it can create a misleading “result.”
Forgive my vanity — I am about to quote myself:
Read Poorest Households Pay More In Taxes Than The Richest 10%, New Figures Reveal from the Huffington Post for more great info on this issue — how those are the bottom pay MORE tax than those at the top.
So this kind of thing is why the Tories simply must not be allowed to remain in power.
Should you need any other reason — try watching this film:
…try watching it without shedding a tear, or standing up and screaming at the screen. An outstanding film mentioned and championed by the astoundingly impressive Mhairi Black, MP whose voice is sadly swamped out by the habits of the Commons.
Why My Vote for Labour Will be Easy
I understand the voting system, and how it works. Don’t get me wrong: I fully support you and would vote for you because you represent something that is entirely and shockingly different in politics.
My vote will be for Labour because my local Labour MP — Steve McCabe — has proven his integrity to me on many occasions. He is a doer — he says what he believes in, he stands by it, and he gets it done. He might not always have the power to enforce a policy through, but he ensures that his constituents’ voices are at least heard. This week, I received my copy of the letter he sent to the current minister for (screwing up) Education. Two years ago he represented me in letters challenging the sickening treatment of innocent people left on pre-charge bail for cruelly extended times. Again, he has no power to change such laws alone, but he did what he said: he stood up for constituents’ views.
That’s why I will vote for Mr McCabe, and not specifically because he is Labour. The only thing that would stop me voting for him would be if he was a Tory! Nevertheless, since he is a Labour MP — and appears to be one of the same kind of straight-talking, no-bullshit type — he definitely gets my vote (and help) in securing his seat.
And I think you should buy him a pint some time!
Mr. Corbyn: this is why you must win this Election….
Forget your advisers — who are paid too much — and ignore the biased press, and the hilariously biased BBC. You have said you want to see change, and I totally agree with you.
Not just change in party-politics, but a change in political discourse. If I had my way I would do away with party politics altogether because all it does is waste money. Let’s be clear: all the money spent on mud-slinging matches could be spent the most needy in our society. I know that not all MPs are to blame for this, but consider this:
- Under the ECHR, it should be our legal duty and responsibility to ensure that every single child (and person) has a home to live in; is safe; is fed; and educated;
- So why can we find money in the £BILLIONS to tart up Westminster — a building that is nothing more than a workplace for a couple of thousand people, who are amongst the upper 10% of the country…
- …and find money to continue wars in foreign nations…
- …and fund a weapons system that can achieve nothing but the end of the world…
…when we have 124,000 homeless CHILDREN? Why can we afford £250,000 a year champagne budget for the House of Lords when we have people dying as a result of stress, ill health and suicide due to benefits sanctions and cuts for the most vulnerable?
SHAME ON US, as a nation.
SHAME ON US, as a people bestowed with the power to change, but too damn lazy to get up and do it.
SHAME ON US, as individuals when we all shout about our rights before embracing our responsibilities and duties…
…and this is HOW you can win this election.
Don’t play the usual game of back-biting and shaming the current government. Keep your integrity and avoid the mud-slinging. You have plenty of people like me who can do that for you.
Focus on the Positive
What can you achieve for us? What hope can you offer? How can you move us forward by giving us genuine solutions to problems that exist. You don’t need to harp back to the cause of the problem or throw blame around. What is done is done, move on. We’re all wading in a pile of shit: I don’t care if it is horse, cow, dog or human shit: just get me a jet washer or a hose, and help me the hell out of it! Be that fresh water, Mr Corbyn.
Be Honest — for pity sake, be honest!
Let’s be pragmatic in our solutions, please. We don’t need big red buses. We don’t need false promises which only serve to damage trust when you have to break them. Don’t do what the Tories did in 2010, and what Labour did in the late 90s. You can play “Things Can Only Get Better” as much as you like: but if you end up dragging us into a war based on lies, as we all know, you end up looking like a dick, sounding like an arsehole, and being called a lying c***. Let’s not offer to slash taxes here and there and raise benefits and pay beyond what can be achieved. You know how easily the public is duped by big numbers on buses, hyperbole in the papers, and xenophobic propaganda from the Brexit game. Don’t just change the rules, Mr Corbyn, play a different game.
Talk our language
Remember when we were young and having 50p to get some sweets from the shop meant such joy because we had so much choice. We knew we could get 2 or 3 chocolate bars — maybe even more fingers of Fudge or Chomps — or we could get 50 penny sweets. Our excitement was palpable. But only because we understood that money. If you gave us £100 our minds would have been blown. That was simply too much and we’d have no real idea how to spend it. Our little view — purely innocent as it was — meant that big numbers would not be generous, they would be unwise. We genuinely didn’t understand costs of our school uniform, or the weekly family shop. In much the same way, super-massive sums of money like £20bn mean absolutely nothing to people who don’t deal in the multi millions every day. So don’t throw these numbers around just to sound impressive, because we can’t contextualise them.
We understand £30 taken off ESA claimants each week.
We understand £10 a day taken off in sanctions.
We understand schools losing teachers and TAs due to funding cuts.
Show Humility, and Praise Those You Agree With
Go on, be brave and truly break rules (change the game). Shake hands with others from other parties who share your views. There must be a few ideas proposed by the Lib Dems that you agree with — TELL US WHAT THEY ARE! Even if that Farron guy is unable to be as hunble. There must be policies and ideas from the Green Party you agree with and endorse — TELL US WHAT THEY ARE!
It is very possible that in order to oust the Tories you might need to make a coalition. Please be prepared to do this, and make sure we can believe that you will be prepared by showing strength in solidarity where you agree with people. For example: you might find someone who shares your anti-Trident stance, but for different reasons. Join with them and add strength: know that in a commons vote you would have allies and can stand together in a unity that the Tories will never get from anyone.
Finally: Promote and Support Tactical Voting
Most importantly, we need to make sure that everyone knows what their vote really stands for. I have written in another blog on this issue: Elections: Whose Voice is Really Heard? Without being too impolite about the electorate, I genuinely think the TV Debates have skewed people’s understanding of the voting system by turning it into a personality contest. Some people genuinely don’t like the gargoyle caricature Corbyn that the media (especially papers and BBC) have been spouting. They won’t vote Lib Dem because the media did the same to them, and have tried to muddy certain people as homophobic (cynically playing on the public anger at the Chechnya situation). And then they think there is no point voting for anyone else.
Or worse…they vote for bigots and racists.
So THIS is how people should vote:
- If they are Labour supporters anyway, they should vote for the candidate in their constituency;
- If they don’t wish to support Labour, and have strong views for another party, they should vote for that party;
- If they don’t know, they should read all the manifestos, they should find out about the candidates, and vote for whichever candidate they think stands a chance at preventing a Tory from taking a seat;
- If they support the Tories — they should hang their heads in shame, and crawl back under their highly varnished, diamond encrusted rock.
You might not like the idea of tactical voting, but it is time we are honest about whether Labour can achieve a majority. By all means, go for a majority, but if it starts to seem out of reach, just make sure the Tories cannot get one. Be prepared to entertain the idea of a coalition. Do it for us, not for your party.
Beggars Can be Choosers if the Tories are the Losers
So, Mr Corbyn, this is your chance to show the people that they DO have a choice, and they can make a difference. We might have to achieve it by forcing a hung parliament and forming a coalition. If so, then so bit it. But we need you to ensure that happens. We need you to ensure that if no-one wins a majority of seats, you can make a majority by coalition because you have allied with parties beforehand. (Seriously, imagine getting Mhairi Black on your cabinet! Go on — break the rules. Do it. Give her a call, get a photo shoot of you shaking her hand!).
Leave the Tories out to dry, just like they are doing to so many innocent, suffering, and suicidal people. No other party leader has stirred up so much following as you (as you well know, having been backed in a vote, and breaking records on getting people to join your party). Use that momentum to engage with the young and get them to vote not for today, but for tomorrow.
Remember that you do have the mandate of your party:
And seriously, genuinely, honestly…shake the hands of the other parties and show the people that you stand for them all, no matter which way they vote. Show them it is okay to vote for the other parties, too.
Make this win about the people, and not about your party.
(A new Labour voter)