Written by Angie McEvoy

In The News

Why I’m voting for Owen Smith

Jeremy Corbyn may have been a kick up the bum for Labour, but that doesn’t make Angie McEvoy want him to remain as leader. Here’s why.

Owen Smith visiting a food bank in Wales in 2013. Photo by Wykehamistwikipedian, via Wikimedia Commons.

Owen Smith visiting a food bank in Wales in 2013. Photo by Wykehamistwikipedian, via Wikimedia Commons.

Who fancies equal pay? Who wants to see women in low-paid jobs given better pay and conditions? Who wants to be able to say what they want online without fear of intimidation or abuse?

I’d like all of the above and more. I want a Labour Government elected to govern at the next General Election and I’m supporting Owen Smith to be the leader who can bring us that election victory.

Jeremy Corbyn has been a kick up the bum, albeit a gentler, kinder sort of kick up the bum, for a sleepy Labour Party still trying to learn lessons from our last two election defeats. However, a welcome kick up the bum and effective leadership are two different things and Jeremy has failed to unite and inspire a party in retreat.

His supporters will dispute the facts, but out of 74 different polls undertaken since Corbyn became leader, the Labour Party has had a lead in just four. The most recent showed the party 16 points behind the Tories.

Their performance during the local elections was so bad even Corbyn’s assessment was that the best he could say was that “we hung on”. When challenged over these dismal results, Corbyn dismisses the polls with an unintentional impression of Lauren, Catherine Tate’s schoolgirl – “am I bovvered?”

He might not be bothered but thousands of Labour voters and members are. To be clear, I’m not just supporting Owen Smith because he isn’t Corbyn. I’m supporting him because I think he has the vision, the passion and the leadership skills our party so desperately needs,

When not doing his Catherine Tate impression Corbyn slips into a wicked Baldrick from Blackadder, assuring us that the absence of policy announcements over the past nine months has all been part of his ‘cunning plan’. Smith has announced more detailed, substantial policy in three weeks than Corbyn has in the past nine months.

Smith wants an updated, relevant Equal Pay Act. It’s been 45 years since the original equal pay act and women are still being paid less than their male colleagues. He supports an equal pay act that will abolish, once and for all, the discrimination women face when returning to work after having children. Surely, in 2016, employers should be able to deal with the fact that women have careers and families?

Smith also wants to introduce Wage Councils that strengthen pay and conditions, specifically for hotel, shop and care workers – low paid, part-time work predominantly undertaken by women.

A lot of these women are immigrant workers fearful for their futures if they expose the truth about the exploitation and bullying they face in the workplace. A Labour Party led by Smith will give a voice to and fight for these women.

“The Labour Party was created for people whose lives are so weighed down with just surviving that they struggle to find a reason to vote at all.”

He is also a passionate European. I was devastated by the EU Referendum result and I fear the Tories will use Brexit as an excuse to bargain away workers’ rights.

I want a leader who doesn’t throw the towel in and call for the immediate triggering of Article 50 as Corbyn did. I want a leader who will stand their ground, passionately argue Britain’s case for Europe and not let the Tories sign away women’s working rights unopposed.

Smith unequivocally backs the Reclaim the Internet Campaign, which aims to stop the abuse and threats that seek to silence women online. This firm stand is a welcome contrast to the Vicky Pollard, “yeh, but no, but yeh, but” response from the Corbyn camp. Thanks for your support Owen; it’s good to finally be taken seriously, it’s good to have someone on our side.

Smith has said, “no one person in our Party is bigger than the movement that we serve.” And we must not forget that the Labour Party was formed in order to represent the working people in Parliament by seeking power to govern.

The Labour Party was created for all the people. It was created for the people who don’t attend rallies and marches, created not just for people for whom politics is a passion but also for people whose lives are so weighed down with just surviving that they struggle to find a reason to vote at all.

There are many, many people in this country who desperately need a Labour Government, It is those people we are letting down when we turn inwards and stay within our comfort zone.

We need a leader who can lead, a leader who can unite and a leader who can take us into Government. For me that leader is Owen Smith.

Meanwhile, Jen Offord’s standing by Jezza: read her argument here.

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Written by Angie McEvoy

Angie McEvoy is a lifelong Labour Party Member and works in the comedy Industry. Her hobbies include lying awake at night worrying about the Labour Party while needing a wee.