They Say You Get More Right Wing As You Get Older…

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That’s what they say, right? “They” say that. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting it, as much as it pains me to say so. When Labour lost the election this May I heard people saying “well, they’re too left wing!” and I wanted to cry. When Jeremy Corbyn was announced as running for the Labour leadership he was bandied about as “The Left Winger Jeremy Corbyn” – now, to me, that’s bizarre! Shouldn’t ALL Labour leadership candidates be left wing?! Isn’t that what Labour should be?

This morning on Victoria Derbyshire Live someone stood up and said “I’m a life-long Labour man and I voted for Labour in 2010 but in last time I voted UKIP because they were the only ones speaking to me…” and this isn’t something new. I’ve heard this over and over. What I’d say to that man and to others who say similar things is this: You’re not a Labour supporter, then! Bite the bullet and accept the fact that you’ve drifted to the right and are no longer the kind of person Labour should be speaking to! Don’t kid yourself, if you think immigrants need sorting out, that welfare is for scroungers and that unless you work you’re worthless, that you’re a Labour man! You’re not.

There’s no shame (well…) in admitting that you’re suddenly more in line with the Tories than with Labour. If that’s the way things turned out then that’s that. There’s little you can do to change it. I’d respect people more if they went from Labour to other parties rather than asking Labour to re-brand and realign in a more centrist (though, what people mean is right wing – the centre is FAR to the left of Labour right now) mould. Labour was created to represent the people of the working class, the vulnerable and the poor, the everyday bloke in the street.

I am voting for Jeremy Corbyn because I think the people who once voted Labour to champion fairness, socialism, kindness and dignity are now off voting for smaller, non-impacting left wing parties or, indeed, not voting at all. They say that the parties, including Labour, are “all the same” now. They all support austerity. Labour have even come out today in support of the Tories’ child allowance and tax credits changes. It makes me ashamed to be a member! But I am one. And I’ll remain one. Because I’m hoping to make changes from within the Party.

Corbyn promises a real left wing leader. Someone who, I think, will be able to attract those who couldn’t bring themselves to back a pro-austerity, Tory-lite party last May. I think he’d attract more people than he’d lose. People want a real left wing alternative to the Tories, not just the same thing in a cheaper suit. And those who don’t want that aren’t Labour supporters, simple as that. If you no longer feel you can vote Labour because they’re too left wing then it’s time to look toward the right and accept that you are no longer a socialist. You’ve become more right wing as you got older. Or, worse still, you’re a young person who’s listening and buying in to this awful, ideological attack on the most vulnerable in society.

This country is currently one riding a wave of “I’m alright, Jack!” mentality and it makes me so sad. What’s needed is a credible, honest, dignified, vocal and – most importantly – left wing opposition that, in time, will prove to an electorate that they are a viable alternative to a cruel, vindictive band of Tory crooks. Until that happens you can expect more and more hurt, more and more harm, almost unopposed by the one party SET UP to defend those who are being hit hardest.

The country is in a mess. We need direction. And a new one is essential. Look Left and be proud to do so. There’s no shame in admitting you no longer support Labour, but there’s also no shame in demanding your party back. Labour is ours, all of ours! And we will get it back.

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One comment

  1. Well said. As someone who has distinctly drifted TO the left the older that I’ve gotten, then this is really interesting. Over the years I have voted four different ways in general elections, starting out Blue in ’92 & ’97, switching to Green or Yellow as protest against establishment between ’01 & ’10, and finally not only voting for but joining Labour in ’15. I find, purely in an anecdotal way, that the “accepted” rightwards drift is generally a result of people becoming less interested in politics: they get married, get a job, get a mortgage, have kids and don’t have time or inclination to roll up sleeves and talk or think about politics, (please excuse the sweeping generalisation). For these kinds of people, a Conservative worldview is an easy option: “Trouble in society is someone else’s fault, not mine. Let’s not nanny them but instead encourage them all to be a bit more like me. And while we’re here, lower taxes would be lovely, thanks very much”. To make real change in the country, just making Labour electable by making them Tory-lite is not the right approach. What needs to happen is an education of the population about the reality of life in 21st century Britain, about how an anti-austerity view is perfectly viable from an economic perspective, and about how the society that Thatcher told us was dead, is in fact alive and probably the answer to many of our woes. For what it’s worth, my “education” in this regard has come about through social media. It’s you and people like you (Francis Wheen, Owen Jones, et al) who have shared opinion, and blogged and tweeted about injustices in a coherent and sensible fashion who have cemented my journey from an uninterested young voter who defaulted to Tory, through my years as a disenfranchised protest voter, to finally discover the truth of being a leftie. That’s how the left will win: Tell the truth, shine a light on injustice, provide an answer…. and many more people like me will switch from Blue to Red.

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