From where I am standing it looks like a no brainer. Labour to win. But I felt the same combination of fear, excitement, hope and despair just before Birmingham, my home city voted for Brexit. My social media networks are largely filled with friends and peers on the same page as me. I’ve been sharing a range of videos, articles and messages supporting the Labour campaign; more than likely preaching to the converted. It feels good to be a part of a group of people that genuinely want to see a better future for our society, that really benefits the nation.
Privatisation is killing us. Saving the NHS has been a massive part of campaigns and who would want to see this service slip away? Privatisation simply means lining a few pockets and making services inaccessible to people that simply cannot afford them. Already people in need are on dire waiting lists, in queues, not being seen to due to lack of beds and provision. We are harming our citizens, young and old. And as for education, if Labour scrap or reduce fees for students I will be happy. I would not be writing this article or having the opportunities I have had if it had not been for going to university for free. My parents simply did not have the income to pay fees, and why should I have to graduate with mountains of debt impossible to climb out of?
I am in my late-thirties, so still young enough to feel like a young person, but old enough to be a mother and be in the next category (sounds frightening). For many like me Labour appeals as the people’s party. At different ages we have different needs, and will vote depending on what we expect will be better for us as individuals and for our families. With Brexit it was clear that the older population voted to leave in higher numbers that younger people. We cannot afford to dismiss this when campaigning.
About a month ago I was chatting to two older ladies on a train on their way to a funeral. What began as a pleasant conversation turned into a debate about Brexit. When I talked about things getting tougher in this country for young people having to pay for education, the need for collaboration with Europe and difficulties with housing and employment, they were quick to refer back to times of war and rationing; they and their families had seen much tougher times. They didn’t mind people such as my parents coming to this country in the twentieth century from across the Commonwealth when there was work to be done here (and migrants faced racism, unequal workers rights and prejudice, not too dissimilar from what happens now to Eastern European people) but now they wanted their country back. They were not so concerned about the next generation and their grand children but worried about too many houses being built to house new arrivals. Many of the other older people on the train agreed with the ladies. I felt deflated.
At least this time round with the elections the two main parties are clearly distinct with very different policies, so it does not feel like voting for either will not make a difference to who wins and how life pans out. In the past this is what has put off voters, feeling powerless and losing faith in the system as a whole. There are obviously two key players head to head that will pull the majority of votes, and now more people are standing up as they are sick of the mess the tories have made in recent years as its affecting more and more lives here, regardless of whether or not people are interesting in foreign policies and politics. At least with Labour we can feel more confident that our needs as a nation will be more considered and valued. Many of us want the right wing tories to go.
Corbyn might not be the best or stereotypical image of a strong leader for many, and there are other parties making positive promises to improve social services and strengthen our economy. But the reality is its going to be red or blue. The media is mainly Tory so its no wonder we are seeing bad press on Labour, Corbyn and the strength of the reds. Do you really think May is best pals with everyone in her camp? The fact is Corbyn is coming from a good place, an excellent place, and has always been a man of the people. I’d rather have him to dinner than May anyday, although it would be interesting and useful to learn more about what drives evil and ugly hairdo’s.
It feels like we are living in really tough times, and the world is getting more scary. We have more access to news and now bad things are happening increasingly on our patch. This is making young people question politics, question their place in the world, question history and our education that has largely let us down on really understanding the world and our superior place in it. Its easy to turn a blind eye when things are going ok. Some of my friends told me politics was of no interest to them when I was reading International Relations for my MSc. Well, life is politics and unless you go off the radar and find a little patch of land to live in the middle of nowhere, your life is controlled by politics somehow my friend. Even on that little patch it is.
There has always been too much death, poverty and war happening somewhere in the world that we are not always informed about so well. Right now we are facing our own little tragedies such as recent events in London and Manchester. A change in government is just what we need, to energise the people and give us back some hope. To give us a reason to feel proud of our nation and feel united as a country of so many different communities and identities. We need to build ourselves back up again and empower our young people.
Do not waste your vote and vote for the many, not the few. I’m crossing everything for Labour and hoping to wake up on Friday morning to Jezza as our new leader.