Written by Jen Offord

In The News

Why I’m voting Corbyn

The Labour leadership race has been flooded with panic merchants in the last week, but that won’t stop Jen Offord voting with her heart.

Jeremy Corbyn speakingWhy is it, that every time you think it’s safe, that he’s busy earning an implausible sum of money to bother people in other countries, that just when you think he can’t possibly believe anyone in this country still gives two shits about what he thinks, Tony Blair ‘weighs in on the debate’? This time he’s acting as if the populace cares who he thinks should be the next leader of the Labour Party. To be specific, he doesn’t think it should be ‘LABOUR PARTY STALWART’ Jeremy Corbyn.

Tony Blair, who of course didn’t just bring the party back from the brink of Neil Kinnock’s awks tumble in the Brighton surf to the joyous sounds of D:Ream’s chirpy synth keys back in 1997, but most notably brought it back to *whispers* the centre.

OK, look, I don’t have a problem with his basic principle that we can ALL MAKE A FUCK LOAD OF MONEY, so long as we have the same opportunities to do so and we look to increase opportunities for those who are less well positioned to make A FUCK LOAD OF MONEY. It seems eminently sensible to me and is in keeping with the inherently greedy nature of humanity.

“It’s remarkable that a left-wing man standing to lead a party that is supposed to represent the left should cause such a stir.”

But like everyone else my age, I was busy damning the man, shouting into my couscous (the precursor to quinoa) at Sussex University back in the early 2000s when Ton’ was fucking up the Middle East. I was never voting for those war mongers. I was never voting for them until I realised all those war mongers were going to get voted out, sooner or later; and that I had totally misunderstood the meaning of ‘Liberal’ in a political context. It didn’t mean ‘I’m down with the gays’ or ‘probably not racist’. It meant LIBERALISED ECONOMY; you know, where the market controls everything, like Tories in more tolerant lambs’ clothing, or at a Quaker Meeting House, if you prefer.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the No More War event in Parliament Square in 2014. Photo by Garry Knight, via Wiki Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the No More War event in Parliament Square in 2014. Photo by Garry Knight, via Wiki Commons.

So I ditched the Liberals – and I joined the Labour Party. Some of my pals were critical at the time, still a bit miffed about those pesky wars, branding them Tory-lite in their policies and bearing no real reflection of the left-wing principles they were supposed to stand for. But I am one of those twats Tony Blair was talking about: I joined the Labour Party because I felt they had to go back to the left, at this point, and I wanted to support that.

It was a huge disappointment that this did not follow their defeat in the 2010 election, to the extent that I almost didn’t bother voting in May’s general election. After all, no party represents my views, not even the one I am paying to apparently make no difference. And this is why, if I can get over the cluster fuck of slurs and personal attacks that have characterised this contest, I’ll be voting for Jeremy Corbyn as the next Leader of the Labour Party.

It’s remarkable that a left-wing man standing to lead a party that is supposed to represent the left should cause such a stir. Lest we forget, Jeremy Corbyn was the only member of the four leadership candidates to vote against the Government’s welfare bill. A bill which proposes to limit child tax credit to the first two children in a family, a policy so contrary to the principles on which the Labour party was founded and a policy so ill-conceived it warrants its own piece.

“What about the left-wing voters the Labour Party has lost through its gradual undermining of what it once stood for? What about the people who’ve never even voted because no one represents their views?”

OK, maybe a lot of people don’t want a left-wing government; maybe Tony Blair is correct, but I have several problems with this argument. The representation of left-wing politics has been so weak for the last decade and a half that I’m not sure any of us even know what a left-wing government would look like now. I’m not sure anyone knows what it is we’re supposedly against.

Secondly, what about the left-wing voters the Labour Party has lost through its gradual undermining of what it once stood for? What about the people who’ve never even voted because no one represents their views? What about the young people who would join the party?

Thirdly, and most importantly, what is the point of the Labour Party if Corbyn doesn’t win? An opposition party is supposed to provide a credible alternative to the Government. I saw no real, tangible alternative to the Government in the last five years and I see none going forward unless the ground shifts. Maybe the Labour will never win another election if they move toward the left, but they might make a much more valuable contribution by giving the largely disenfranchised left its voice back.

If ever there was a time that voice needed to be heard it is now, as the gulf widens between not only the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ but even the ‘haves’ and the ‘thought we hads’. We already have a Conservative party; even if you do support their policies, you don’t need another party offering you the same thing.

I don’t personally think it should be a choice between head and heart. I think it should be all heart, and you’re probably not voting for the right party if you don’t agree.

@inspireajen

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Written by Jen Offord

Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen