As with everyone, I’m beyond bored of the coverage of the Labour leader election and associated meltdowns by people on all sides of the debate. The double standard of claiming how much I hate the coverage by participating in the debate isn’t lost on me.
I’m not a member of the Labour party or even remotely fond of any of their recent policies so I haven’t weighed in on any discussions about leadership before the election on Saturday. I assumed Jeremy Corbyn would win – not with the majority he did though. I was completely off in terms of percentages. To be perfectly blunt, I’d thought we’d still be arguing who won in ten years with visions of that Florida vote wafting through my brain.
I thought Corbyn would win, after much more mud-slinging and tantrums by people refusing to work with other people (memories of teacher training in primary school abound here), because Labour LOST the last election due to their failures to even try to oppose Tory austerity measures. They peddled the lie – one that actual economists state is guaranteed to destroy the economy – that the UK can’t afford to support it’s most vulnerable people because austerity was needed to pay off our debt.
What I find most annoying is the polarity of views on Corbyn: he’s either the anti-christ or the resurrection. There is no in between.
I find Corbyn’s choices for shadow cabinet depressing. I don’t care if Corbyn believes there is no such thing as the top 4 jobs in cabinet. Everyone else does and the failure to appoint even one woman to these jobs is telling. (and don’t even start with the ‘best person for the job’ crap. Systemic sexism and racism actually exist). The fact that there were no women speakers when the results were announced doesn’t inspire faith that Labour will put women’s rights at the centre of his policies. Hell, I’m still struggling to understand how Diane Abbott was not chosen as the candidate for London mayor – that would have been so revolutionary politics.
We live in a country where women and children are being forced into poverty by government polices which disproportionately affect them. There have been no discussions about our ability to afford to bomb civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq whilst being unable to afford to keep children out of poverty. Labour may have created tax credits but these are a panacea. If we forced businesses like Tescos and Amazon to pay living wages and their tax bill, children wouldn’t be living in poverty. If we didn’t have to bail out banks, we’d be able to afford major investment in education. Very little was made of policies like child maintenance which punish women and children. There is no point in voting Labour if their policies are no different that the Tories.
Equally, though, I don’t buy the theory that Corbyn is unelectable as a prime minister because of his socialist background. Scotland voted out Labour BECAUSE of their support for austerity. Why isn’t it possible for England and Wales to vote for Labour if they campaign to end austerity measures? Why wouldn’t Scotland vote back in Labour MPs?
Right-wing, ultra-conservative, racist, homophobic Alberta – known as the Texas of the North – has elected a NDP government. It’s the first time in 44 years that Alberta hasn’t voted conservative. Not only did they not vote in the Tories, they voted in a left-of-centre pro-union party whose platform involved massive investment in education and other ‘social’ issues. If Alberta, who are as right-wing as UKIP, can vote in the NDP, I don’t see why the UK couldn’t vote in a Labour party which returned to its socialist principles.
Jeremy Corbyn may turn out to be the same old brocialist who doesn’t get that women are human too (see the socialist parties). He could also be the leader who sweeps Labour back into power in 2020 on a socialist platform. He could be both.
If Alberta can vote for a quasi-socialist party, I don’t see why middle England can’t.
Personally, my vote will be for the party and candidates who recognise that ending violence against women and girls involves massive investment in specialist women’s organisations. VAWG currently costs the economy billions. Investment now to support women and to hold men accountable for their actions will save billions in the future. If you don’t care about women, care about your taxes.
I’m not very hopeful about ending VAWG because no political party seems to be bothered enough to take a real stance on the issue. Labour is in a position to fundamentally change this. Question is: will Corbyn stand up for women? Or will he replicate the same patriarchal theories of every other political party? Will Labour stand up to austerity?