Let Loose the Manifesto for the Many
But where is the Tome from the Tyrants?
Manifestos usually make me groan with a sense of dull inevitability. False promises that will be broken; snide backbiting at opposing parties; and desperate attempts to score the winning soundbites.
I am going through some troubled times, desperately trying to reconcile my turn towards Labour as if I’d suddenly developed a taste for Marmite. Honestly, I’d always thought the latter was more likely. But now I find myself smearing the screen with figurative shit every time I said that smug Tory entitlement drooling their self-worth.
I’ve always objected to people roughly my age spouting mindless anti-Tory vitriol based on the Thatcher years because all they were ever doing is parroting what their parents generation said. They never lived consciously through Thatcher’s years, and the ignorance with which they went on about the mine closures, the poll tax and the “Milk-Snatcher” just bored me to death.
However, this time round: get the steel toe-caps out and kick ass, is what I think. They must be totally aware of what they are doing to the weakest and poorest of our society. They must be aware that we know full well they serve only the top 10% of the country. So the only conclusion can be that they simply don’t care. They are untouchable.
And they know it.
Our Weapon of Mass Destruction
Yes, I mean every bit of juicy irony in referring to Jeremy Corbyn in that way — not least because I totally, and unreservedly share his feelings about Trident. For me, that word springs three different thoughts:
- It was the name of the company that used to oversee work experience when I was at school;
- It’s the little red three-pronged pokey thing the devil carries around;
- It’s the astronomical was of money that has failed to achieve anything other than an infuriating non sequitur that its lack of use is its success.
Personally, I prefer to judge a man by what he does and not by what he says he would never do.
The mass destruction that Corbyn is threatening is the whole establishment of politics as it currently stands. Politicians or a privileged few (and most, but not all cases.) I can totally accept the House of Lords being an unelected bunch of old toffs, if I am totally honest, because they are not the sovereign power of parliament. It is the Commons that acts as our elected beholder of democracy.
Or it should be.
In reality, we have a system that is failing to work. The “first past the post system” has worked in favour of the privileged few for too long, and it is galling to think of how so few votes from the people can place the power of the land into the hands of such a small number of people. And when those people are Tories, they prove time and time again that their own interests, and those of their rich friends, are put first. It has been the Lords doing most of the fighting for the many over the past year or so.
The Labour manifesto reads like and instruction manual for the destruction of that broken, false “deMOCKracy” that we currently share sufferance under. It is a genuine chance to smash up the privilege, to target the rich top 10% and serve the bottom 90%. It is indeed an opportunity to think and behave in a different way with a “Robin Hood” tax redistributing the wealth. Indeed, it is a romantic notion.
However, before we all start singing Bryan Adams songs, and moving into the woods to build frankly brilliant tree-houses we must ask the key question:
Can he really deliver?
A New Hope
The people are rising. They are the resistance. There are probably several who genuinely think they are Jedi Knights following Obiwan Kenobi himself as he battles against the evil Emperor. (I’m still struggling with the analogy to work out who gets to be Darth Vader…answers on a post card…). People climbing on buildings and scaling trees to listen to a man who has spent his entire life fighting for just causes. We might not believe in all the same things, but I do genuinely believe that Jeremy Corbyn is fighting For the Many, Not the Few. It is the first political soundbite I have ever truly believed in.
And yet the whole election balances on the shoulders of the young. This worries me greatly, because I know the generation all too well. They are the generation that were failed totally and completely by previous Labour governments, and by the current Tory tyranny. The current 18–24 year olds are the very same children I taught in my years in the teaching profession. A profession I let because I watched the education system collapse from the inside, dis-empowering the young, lying to them about their achievements, and leaving them hanging out to dry. Brought up to be the “generation of entitlement” who would so readily scream about their rights, but seldom admit to their responsibilities.
Now is their chance to fight back. Their chance to take back what should be theirs: the future. There is no excuse for apathy and no justification in choosing not to vote. No other party — for no other reason than basic mathematics — can get elected as the opposition other than Labour. But every vote against the Tories is a vote for change.
My vote will got to Labour with great ease because I have an excellent and principled local Labour MP (Steven McCabe). Others might wish to vote for their local Lib Dem or Green Party member. If that is the right person for them, then so be it. But whatever you do, don’t vote Tory.
Of course, there is a question hanging in the air: where is the Tory manifesto? Is its late arrival another sign of their arrogance? Or are they merely hoping to grab an extra couple of days to steal some more of Labour’s ideas and make them more “Strong and Stable.” Personally, I join others is questioning the integrity of the leading party that does not put forward its manifesto first.
Stand and Deliver
Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have stood up and waved a manifesto that could change the face of politics for a very long time. 2016 showed what happens when complacency commands attention, and propaganda commands the narrative. We cannot afford to let that happen any longer.
Many people will be picking the manifestos to pieces and analysing them to the finest detail but I won’t do that. I’ve read Labour’s manifesto and I can hear Jeremy Corbyn’s voice through it all. And that is the Jeremy Corbyn who won the Ghandi award, not the ridiculous propaganda “terrorist sympathiser” bullshit version the media (and shamefully, the BBC) has tried to sell to us. The Jeremy Corbyn who stands by his principles, stands up for the weak, and stands out for his differences rather than blurring into the background of political self-servitude.
I want to see disabled and sick people given back their dignity. I want to see the NHS saved from privatisation. I want to see the Education system given back to teachers. I want to see the people given back justice by being able to get legal aid. I want to see so many of the promises that the Labour manifesto promises, it scares me to think that one should always question something that seems too good to be true.
And that is where delivery matters more. Jeremy Corbyn must be ready to deliver that manifesto and prove that he is not just the same old blocked up vacuum, stuffed with aged dust of a broken old system. We know he is not alone, and we hear the voices all the time. The fantastic Mhairi Black MP speaks with a wisdom well beyond her years, in a language and with a voice grounded firmly in her youth. Owen Jones provides political comment in the same manner. Jonathan Pie fires political satire off with worrying accuracy, and he is doing it at exactly the right time. It’s these voices we should be listening to, heeding, and supporting.
It’s these voices that deserve the delivery of those promises.
For the Many; For the Future
All too often we hear politicians harp back to the past failings of previous governments. The Tories still do it, despite having had seven years to be sorting out all those alleged previous issues. Too many politicians seek the chance of being remembered for their supremacy — they all want to be remembered for their soundbites. It’s sickening to hear. It’s like listening to football commentators desperately to coin the next 1966 timeless soundbite (They think it’s all over: it is now!). You can bet the hours went into getting the alliterative “Strong and Stable” that Theresa May appears to be trying to etch into history.
For the Man, Not the Few — that is more than just a soundbite because it couldn’t be more relevant and more needed than ever before. It is right. It is how we should be. It is impossible to defy without being utterly narcissistic.
Do not worry about history remembering you for your success; worry about the future forgetting you for your failures.